Night Of The Living Dead (1968)

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A young woman and her brother are attacked in a cemetery by a strange shambling figure, and she flees to a remote house where a motley crew of survivors are holing up against a horde of flesh eating zombies.

George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is the seminal zombie film that spawned an entire genre, and is an abject lesson that strong ideas can make a brilliant film without a big budget to back it up. Duane Jones is excellent as the pragmatic hero who keeps a cool head and sets about survival as a job of work, and Romero’s choice of a black actor to play the hero was inspired. It’s a story of the whole fabric of society unravelling; a black man taking centre stage and ordering middle class whites around, the system is shown to be ineffectual and run by bickering bureaucrats, one of our “heroes” is a coward despised even by his own wife, and the dysfunction of the family dynamic is to the point where family members butcher and chow down on one another! The stark black and white photography still looks good, as do the effects which actually hold up better than many later films and it has an edginess of style that has more in common with the likes of Psycho than a splatter flick.

Night Of The Living Dead is ruthlessly uncompromising through to the shocking conclusion and is easily one of the most influential horror films ever made.

8.5/10

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