We arrive at day 4 of our horror film fest with the original....
Night of the Living Dead
There have been remakes, and a plethora of similar films that have followed, but the grand-daddy of zombie movies is without equal. Not even the current AMC television series The Walking Dead, with its often-rambling plot line, comes close. The 1968 classic seems a tad quaint by today's gory standards, but it still holds-up well.
Barbra (played with doe-eyed charm by Judith O'Dea) is visiting a cemetery with her brother, when a man shuffles into the frame. Barbra is kind of freaked-out by the odd man, and her brother turns her fear into a joke. Until the man kills him. And starts eating him. Barbra runs away in terror, finding a farmhouse and hiding there along with a father, mother and daughter, a young couple, and a man named Ben (played believably by Duane Jones). Here our protagonists make their stand.
The tension throughout Night of the Living Dead is palpable. This is no doubt helped by the direction of George Romero, the acting from most involved and, probably, the film's low-budget, as it adds a certain sense of gritty realism to the proceedings. It all works to make an effective, nerve-wracking time. I remember watching it as a teenager one night, the lights off, when suddenly there was a knock at the front door.
I screamed like a girl.