The Film Archives | George A Romero – Night Of The Living Dead (1968) One of the Most Gruesomely Terrifying Movies Ever Made
Movie Poster Night of the Living Dead (1968) (gif Loupii | Deviant Art)
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Night Of The Living Dead (1968) One of the Most Gruesomely Terrifying Movies Ever Made
Published 18 dec. 2018
Night of the Living Dead is a 1968 American Independent Horror Film.
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Written, Directed, Photographed and Edited by George A Romero, Co Written by John Russo, and Starring Duane Jones and Judith O Dea, the Story follows Seven People who are Trapped in a Rural Farmhouse in Western Pennsylvania, which is Besieged by a Large and Growing Group of cannibalistic “Living Dead” Monsters, Undead Ghouls.
The Film was Completed on a $ 114,000 Budget and Shot outside Pittsburgh, where it had its Theatrical Premiere on October 1, 1968. The Film grossed $ 12 million Domestically and $ 18 million Internationally, earning over 250 times its Budget. Night of the Living Dead has been Regarded as a Cult Classic by Film Scholars and Critics, despite its being Heavily Criticized upon its Release for its Explicit Gore. It eventually Garnered Critical Acclaim and has been Selected by the Library of Congress for Preservation in the National Film Registry, as a Film deemed “Culturally, Historically, or Aesthetically Significant.”
Night of the Living Dead led to Five Subsequent Films between 1978 and 2010, also Directed by Romero, and Inspired Two Remakes; the Most Well Known Remake was Released in 1990, Directed by Tom Savini.
Romero Revolutionized the Horror Film Genre with Night of the Living Dead; according to Almar Haflidason of the BBC, the Film Represented “A New Dawn in Horror Film Making“.  The Film has also Effectively Redefined the Use of the Term “Zombie“. While the word “Zombie” itself is never used – the Word Used in the Film is Ghoul – Romero’s Film Introduced the Theme of Zombies as Reanimated, Flesh Eeating Cannibals.   Romero himself didn’t Initially Consider the Antagonists in the Film to be Zombies, later saying “I never thought of my Guys as Zombies, when I made the First Film (…) To me, Zombies were still Those Boys in the Caribbean doing the Wetwork for [Bela] Lugosi.”  The Film and its Successors spawned Countless Imitators in Cinema, Television, and Video Gaming, which borrowed Elements Invented by Romero.  Night of the Living Dead Ushered in the Splatter Film Subgenre. As one Film Historian points out, Horror prior to Romero’s Film had Mostly involved Rubber Masks and Costumes, Cardboard Sets, or Mysterious Figures lurking in the Shadows. They were set in Locations Far Removed from Rural and Suburban America.  Romero Revealed the Power behind Exploitation and setting Horror in Ordinary, Unexceptional Locations and offered A Template for Making an “Effective and Lucrative” Film on a “Minuscule Budget“.  Slasher Films of the 1970’s and 1980‘s such as John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978), Sean S Cunningham’s Friday the 13th (1980), and Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) “owe much to the original Night of the Living Dead“, According to Author Barry Keith Grant. 
Since its Release, some Critics and Film Historians have Interpreted Night of the Living Dead as a Subversive Film that Critiques 1960’s American Society, International Cold War Politics, and Domestic Racism. Elliot Stein of The Village Voice saw the Film as an Ardent Critique of American Involvement in the Vietnam War, Arguing that it “Was Not set in Transylvania, but Pennsylvania – This was Middle America at War, and the Zombie Carnage seemed a Grotesque Echo of the Conflict then Raging in Vietnam.”  Film Historian Sumiko Higashi concurs, arguing that Night of the Living Dead was a Film about the Horrors of the Vietnam Era. While she admits that “there are no Vietnamese in Night of the Living Dead, (…) they constitute an Absent Presence whose Significance can be understood if Narrative is Construed“. She points to Aspects of the Vietnam War Paralleled in the Film, like Grainy Black and White Newsreels, Search and Destroy Operations, Helicopters, and Graphic Carnage.  In the 2009 Documentary Film Nightmares in Red, White and Blue, the Zombies in the Film are Compared to the “Silent Majority” of the US in the Late 1960‘s. 
While George Romero Denied he Considered Race when Casting Duane Jones, Reviewer Mark Deming notes that “The Grim Fate of Duane Jones, the sole Heroic Figure and only African American, had added Resonance with the Assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X fresh in the Minds of Most Americans“.   Stein adds, “In this First Ever Subversive Horror Movie, the Resourceful Black Hero survives the Zombies only to be Surprised by a Redneck Posse“,  The Deaths of Ben, Barbra, and the Supporting Cast offered Audiences an Uncomfortable, Nihilistic Glimpse Unusual for the Genre.