Filmed in black and white with a cast of
nobodies and a budget just over $100,000, George Romero's NIGHT OF THE
LIVING DEAD is one of the most influential horror films of all
time. While Hitchcock's
On the plus side, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is also one of the eeriest and most intelligent horror films ever made, and still has the power to creep out and disturb. Unlike the pod people in INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, who only look human but are actually from outer space, the monsters in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD really are humans, albeit undead ones. They are your neighbors, your brothers and sisters, even your children, and they want to eat you. A group of disparate people hold up in an abandoned house, with hordes of the living dead outside, and as the night goes on, the situation becomes more and more hopeless. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is a relentlessly negative movie, with every course of action taken by the survivors resulting in more death and carnage. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is also one of the first films, if not the first, to star a black actor (Duane Jones, who is excellent) as the hero without ever once making the color of his skin an issue, although U.S. race relations is part of the film's subtext, especially in the bleak ending moments.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD may contain some mismatched day-for-night shots - inevitable in a low-budget horror film of the period - and one or two amateurish performances, but it is still a textbook example of how to shoot and edit a horror film for maximum effect. Followed by four sequels, a remake, a remake of a sequel, and countless of imitations, homages and parodies. BEWARE of the colorized version. Not only is the very idea of a colorized NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD completely abhorrent to most film fans, but this particular colorization job is one of the worst ever done, with the human tissue the zombies feast on rendered in the exact pink shade of baseball card bubble gum (Mmmm, I got a pancreas and a Willie Stargell!). ½ - JB
IN SPACE, NO ONE CAN HEAR CLASSIC MOVIE QUOTES
"They're coming to get you, Barbra."