“Night of the Living Dead”
Movie #4 of 31-Days of Horror.
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Barbara and her brother Johnnie go to visit their mother’s grave when they are attacked by a strange man. Johnnie is killed in the struggle and Barbara, panicked and without the key to the car, runs away. She finds shelter in a remote farmhouse, finding others who were also attacked. They’re trapped as the walking dead surround them and they must learn how to work together to escape… or not.
This is Tom Savini’s remake of George Romero’s classic that gave birth to the modern zombie genre, so of course the make up and effects are fantastic. The horror of the walking/shambling dead. They don’t get tired, they don’t feel pain, or anger, or frustration, or fear. They just slowly move onward and consume the living and no matter how many are destroyed, there are always more.
The story is updated just a little, giving Barbara (Patricia Tallman) more character development and making her a much stronger character, while keeping the core themes grim. What are the themes and moral messages in a zombie flick one might ask. Most people, at their core, can’t think or function beyond their own fears. Even the most seemingly reasonable among us get hung up on deeply ingrained prejudices and thought processes. But I digress. I quite enjoy this version, almost more than I enjoy Romero’s 1968 classic. Tony Todd (Ben) could make a documentary on drying paint sound intense, his performances are always a privilege to watch.
Everyone should watch this. Everyone should watch the original, too. And the sequels. There’s a reason an entire genre was born of these films.