Starring: Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne, Judith Ridley, Kyra Schon
A group of people hide from bloodthirsty zombies in a farmhouse.
George Romero has pretty much become synonymous with zombie pictures. There’s no doubt that he is the master of the genre, and the fact that it didn’t originate with him hardly matters. At some point, though (And feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), I think the collective viewership stopped recognizing the social commentary inherent in the genre and started just seeing gore. I know that was the case for me, at least, and I’m glad that I took the opportunity to look back at where Romero first started.
As far as zombie pictures are concerned, it really all started with Night of the Living Dead. I’ve seen a lot of films in the zombie/apocalyptic genre, and as of right now I’m prepared to say that there has probably never been a more socially-relevant one, either. If you think this is going to be just another zombie movie, you’re very much mistaken. Using stark black and white cinematography and the practically unheard-of choice of a black lead, this little horror movie that could made sharp and undeniable commentary on the state of American life in 1968. The end in particular is shocking to the point of being painful, and ensures that you don’t forget either the film or the subversive message it was carrying.