Thursday, October 28, 2010

31 Nights of Horror - Night Twenty-Eight: Night of the Living Dead (1968)


I'm not going to spend too much time on this masterpiece of a film because as much as I love Night of the Living Dead and understand it to be a classic work of art and a pioneer in the horror form, I simply cannot stand director George A. Romero anymore and the recent choices he has made with his "artwork" are feeble senile attempts to recapture his golden years. The man has seriously lost it. And that's not blind hatred for the man...that's coming from a sincere lover of horror film who has always looked up to Romero as a cinematic god for his contributions to the genre until one day being severely hurt by the same man for the current steady stream of absolute trash that he's been calling films.

Anyway, Night of the Living Dead is his first zombie film in his legendary (now tarnished) series of "Dead" pictures. It is a perfect film in many ways...showcasing a genuine commentary on mankind and creating a stir at the time with the male "hero" of the film being a black man. You have to understand that the world was different in 1968 and things like that were unheard of....let alone the fact that we're watching a film about the dead coming back to life and eating the living.


While the notion of "zombies" was nothing new, it's the way that Romero presented it at the time that made the entire sub genre so unique and created a premise that has been duplicated countless times to the present day. Would there be a television series like The Walking Dead today if it had not been for George A. Romero? I'm sure in some way...there might be something resembling the idea. But, it probably wouldn't have the heart and humanity that Romero injected into the apocalyptic premise of the dead coming back to life and taking over the world.

Even basic horror themes like how selfish mankind can be when presented with a life or death situation of terror can be seen in mostly every great apocalyptic genre film to this day. I see NOTLD in films like the recent Contagion and even stuff like Stake Land all the time. While those films carry more original takes on the same kind of premise, echos of Romero are evident throughout the DNA.


I can seriously watch this film any freaking time it's on as it never gets old, despite its black and white presentation. It is truly a brilliant melding of art and horror presented in a scary cinematic experience. And tho there have been countless takes on the same premise, nothing comes close to Romero's original "Dead" film.

Night of the Living Dead is an honest American classic and it should be required viewing this Halloween season.


 

5 out of 5


 
Thanks for reading,





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