It’s time for another ‘Retro Review’ and this month’s film, chosen by Mark, was George A. Romero’s 1968 classic – Night of the Living Dead. If you are new to my ‘Retro Review’ series, here’s a little reminder of my self-imposed rules.
- Must be a first time viewing
- Must be more than 5 years since release date
- Must watch in full
Director: George A. Romero
Starring: Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman
Awards: No Oscar nominations for this film but it did receive the ‘Horror Host Hall of Fame’ plaque in 2011.
When the dead come back to life, six survivors find themselves seeking shelter in an abandoned farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania. With their lives at stake and the Dead at the door, teamwork is their key to survival, but their inability to unite ultimately leads to their downfall.
Typically, zombie films tend to go down the medical-advancement-gone-awry route when it comes to the initial outbreak but Night of the Living Dead, filmed in the midst of the Space Race, goes down a path that really plays on the fears of the time, using cosmic radiation as the catalyst for its epidemic.
The other thing that really stood out for me was the ending (spoilers coming). Any self-respecting movie-goer knows that there is always a happy ending, yes some people may die along the way but there is always a survivor. In this case, it was clearly going to be Ben (Duane Jones), the only one of the group who actually seemed to have his head screwed on straight. So when he gets shot in the head by the rescue team, I think it’s pretty safe to say, both Mark and I were more than a little shocked.
Some people fear vampires or werewolves, monsters and aliens, but for me, it’s zombies. I mean if you really think about it, a zombie apocalypse is the one most within the realms of possibility but that is probably a discussion for another day.
All that being said, there are actually quite a few zombie films that I really enjoy and this is one of them, although I’m not sure how quick I will be to re-watch this one. While I can see the influence it has had on the genre and can absolutely appreciate the effectiveness of the relatively simple concept and small budget, for me, it didn’t really leave a lasting impression on me like the previous two films in my ‘Retro Review’ feature.
Have you seen it? Let me know your thoughts.
If you liked this review, check out the instalment – Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic, Psycho.