Night of the Living Dead is one of those classic movies, and one that any horror fan pretty much has to see. Considering I have a weakness for buying those bulk sets, like Midnight Horror with 8 films or 20 classic Zombie films, and this movie not being copyright protected, Night of the Living Dead is by far the movie I own the most. I think I have close to 10 copies of this film. But, is this movie that good? Is Night of the Living Dead work searching out? Lets find out.
A brother and sister drive into a cemetery to visit their father’s grave, the Sister, Barbara, is praying by the grave, but the brother, Johnny is tired of the drive and just wants to drop off the wreath and go. When Johnny sees a man across the cemetery, he picks on Barbara about it, and we get the famous “They’re coming to get you Barbara” line. The man staggers over to them and when Barbara gets nearer to him, he attacks her- Johnny tries to pull him off his sister, but falls and hits his head on a tombstone. Barbara jumps into the car, and locks the door, the Zombie tries the handles and turns and grabs a rock, smashing the window- THEN Barbara figures out how to start the car, and takes off, she gets about 50 feet down the hill, and being a female in the 60s, crashes it. There goes her safe driving check. She is finally able to come to a farmhouse, and finds a dead body upstairs. Then our hero shows up, Ben, and Barbara goes mute from shock. Ben goes around boarding up the house, and trying to figure out a way to get help. Soon enough some other survivors show up from the basement, and an argument ensues about either defending the house, or barricading themselves in the basement until help arrives, if it ever does.
To be honest, it starts off great, there is a good bit of terror and the thought of having dozens of creatures surrounding the house is scary, and I do enjoy the fighting between the characters, there is a good bit of infighting between hiding or fighting. Other than Barbara, the acting is pretty good. Barbara is pretty useless, both as an actress and a character. The movie does run a bit slow at times, and the ending does drag. The big problem I have is the logic of the Zombies changes, sometimes, like the first one actually stops and uses tools, something that’s actually advanced for a brain, and others are just doing Frankenstein impressions. I do have a bit of a problem with the ending but I’m going to give this one a 6. I’d go lower but I do feel this one is important for any horror fan to watch. Does it hold up? Yes. Is it great? No, not really. Watch the remake with Tony Todd and see what you think. Same script, better budget, and better actors and the movie is much less watchable- I might do that one next.
Spoilers ahoy, yes for a movie almost 50 years old.
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