Hi guys. Today I decided to watch “Night Of The Living Dead (1968)” again. It’s funny, it seems that every time I re-watch this cult classic, I almost always walk away with a different perspective. Now, I won’t say that I’m a serious horror buff (on a scale of 1 to 10, I’m probably about a 7); but I will say that I am quite picky when it comes to horror movies; they must have good story lines; and I don’t like it when they’re too gory. Having said that, I probably haven’t seen as much horror movies as most horror fans may have. However, I think I’ve seen enough to say that this particular movie, of all classic horror movies gets me the most. The writers and producers were way ahead of their time. I think this is the only horror/zombie movie, where I’ve actually sat down and analyzed the most for some reason. 😀
First off, I don’t recall any major cult zombie classic (other than “Night Of The Living Dead), where there exist a strong male Black lead (in this time frame). There were an incredible amount of zombie horror movies where Black men 90% of the time were portrayed as “scardey cats,” and the “White Men Of Hollywood” would be the ones to save the day. I must say that Duane Jones really done a fine job in this movie. Come to think about it, not only was his acting superb, but it almost seemed like he’s done the bulk of the work in this movie too. Duane’s character reacted to the zombies in this movie, exactly how I feel my people would react if zombies were really real! So much so that I wonder if Duane had a huge say in his character’s script. I don’t know if my readers realize, this movie is extremely emotionally and psychologically charged. Just in case you’re one of the few people on this planet that hasn’t seen this movie, I’ll try not to give away too many spoilers (it will be kind of hard though).
Long story short, the movie starts off with actress Judith O’Dea and her brother driving to visit someone’s grave. They both get out the car, walk to the site and place the reef on the grave. The next thing you know, a zombie comes out and attacks the brother and kills him. Judith is scared out of her wits, and manages to get back in the car and drive off. However, she crashes in to a tree 😀 (crashing in trees, and running through the woods then falling seems to never get old with these horror movies). She finds a house to hide in, and that’s when she meets Duane. I wasn’t quite sure what was the chemistry between them (still not sure to be honest). I say this because she barely spoke in the movie (without close interaction with Duane, so I wasn’t sure if she didn’t like Black people or not; maybe it was because the writers wanted to show the emotion of a White woman for the first time interacting with a Black man that has taken full charge? (please keep my prior statement in the context of the movie/time frame and no where else please)).
Soon, Duane and Judith discovered that other survivors, such as Karl Hardman, that were hiding down stars in the basement with a sick child (who unfortunately changing in to a zombie (unbeknown to them). Karl was a real pain in the butt, almost to the point you wanna hate his character. He was sooooo irrational, and made no kind of sense. He was also a bit of a coward too, cause there was a scene were Duane almost got killed because of him. But then I had to realize, if I knew the area was surrounded with thousands of zombies just waiting to eat me alive, I’d act the same way he did. He was scared out of his wits! I gain, It was almost comical that Duane was the level headed Black guy in this zombie movie, cause you just didn’t see it even in this era.
Everyone found a TV that worked, and saw one the news that the zombies was pretty much created by radiation that came from out of space. I thought it was kind of funny, because you heard the law officials say, ” just shoot the zombies and then burn them,” as if to say this happens all the time! LOLOLOL! I’m not going to lie, you’re not going to like the ending. However, I think it’s interesting to watch both for nostalgic reasons, and because there aren’t that many zombie/horror movies that dive in to the emotional, psychological, and straight up fright in a closed environment. What if it were you? I would say the final huge difference between this movie and the zombie movies of today, a lot of zombie movies seem to be outdoors now; where as “Night Of The Living Dead” actors are locked and enclosed, which makes you think. You can watch this Public Domain movie for free on YouTube here. I don’t recommend that you purchase it from anywhere (even on On-Line streaming). Because first, it’s Public Domain and it’s free; and two because you’re not going to get HD quality.