|OpenFlix > Night of the Living Dead|
NOTLD utilizes in some scenes, purportedly real animal intestines acquired from a local butcher shop. The effect is fantastic!
This DVD has no features aside from a basic scene selection, and is taken from a reasonable and viewable print, but for the price, you get to watch this entire classic from beginning to end for nearly the cost of a rental! How's that grab you?
I first saw "Night of the Living Dead" when I came home one afternoon and discovered that the Iowa City Public Library Channel on cable was showing the film. I have to admit, I was rather surprised that this cult classic horror film would be on at a time when kids could come home and discover it on television (one of the living dead is naked and they do like to eat human flesh), but Iowa is a state that thinks caucuses are a good way of selecting presidential nominees, so what can I say? But this is a horror movie that is even scary in the daytime with all the lights on.
"The Night of the Living Dead" is a horror classic, which is rather surprising when you take into account that director George A. Romero made the film in 1968 for $114,000 without a cast of first time actors (extras who playing the zombies were paid $1 and a t-shirt that said "I was a zombie on Night of the Living Dead"). Filmed in black and white with Romero as the cinematographer, this film has a technical proficiency that is missing from other low-budget classics like "Dementia 13" and "Carnival of Souls." You can take or leave the various sequels to this film, but this one has to be on everyone's Top 10 list when it comes to horror films.
The horror comes from the situation and the simple effectiveness of the slow moving, silent zombies in their growing numbers, their arms reaching out to find human flesh to eat. Barbara (Judith O'Dea) runs to an abandoned house, where she is joined by Ben (Duane Jones). After fending off the first attack of the living dead, they discover five more people hiding in the basement: Harry Cooper (Karl Hardman), his wife, Helen (Marilyn Eastman), and their daughter (Kyra Schon), along with a young couple, Tom (Keith Wayne) and Judy (Judith Ridley). Harry wants to hide out in the basement, but refuses to be trapped down there, and the two spend more time arguing about what to do than doing anything. They listen to the radio and watch the TV, learning that the dead are rising to eat the living, and try to figure out a way of getting out of the death trap in which they find themselves. Meanwhile, the little girl in the basement is getting weaker.
The only real weakness in the film is the attempt to explain why the dead are walking around as flesh-eating ghouls (which is, I believe, redundant), which has something to do with a satellite and scientific mumbo-jumbo that really does not mean anything to the people trying to survive against the growing horde of zombies. Fortunately, the "why" does not matter in this story; just the "how" in terms of taking these creatures down. Besides, if anything clinches this one it is the end of the film, both with its final twist, and the use of grainy still photographs to show the end of the tale. Few horror movies, whatever their budgets, have an ending this memorable.
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