RIP Director George Romero!
Really sad news to share – George A. Romero, Director of the seminal 1968 horror film “Night of the Living Dead” has died at 77 of lung cancer.
Romero broke all the rules of low-budget filmmaking when he created “Night Of The Living Dead” – a film that has inspired filmmakers and movie lovers for decades…
The Iconic “Night Of The Living Dead!”
Take a moment to bow down to the great Director George Romero, who ushered in a new era of horror – with a film that has become one of the most beloved horror films of all time!
“Night Of The Living Dead” has grown more famous over the years, but almost never got made at all! It is a testament to the tenacity and ingenuity of Romero that he managed to get this film made! It was completed on a $114,000 budget and premiered October 1, 1968.
Here is the classic trailer:
The plot is straightforward: A shocking phenomenon has occurred: throughout the country, the dead have suddenly come back to life. A small group barricade themselves in an old farmhouse in an attempt the remain safe from these “walking dead.”
“Night of the Living Dead” is a master class in low budget filming. The script is razor sharp, the characters become clearly defined over the course of the movie, and the gore – well, let’s just say it was heavily criticized when it came out, because it was presented in a “reality” style that was shocking for its time!
The film has grown in critical stature over the years, and was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry, as a film deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
The lead role of Ben was played by Duane Jones. He was an unknown stage actor. It was a major gamble for Romero to cast a Black Actor in the lead; in fact, one Reviewer said that the performance depicted Ben as a “comparatively calm and resourceful Negro”!
Here’s another interesting fact: the word “zombie” is never used in the film. According to IMDB, the most common euphemism used to describe the living dead is “those things,” or “ghouls.”
Can you imagine “The Walking Dead” existing if it wasn’t for this film?
According to the George A. Romero commentary track on one of the many special edition DVDs of the film, the original working print and working elements and materials for the film no longer exist – they were destroyed as a result of a flood that filled the basement where the materials were stored (which was the same basement used in the movie).
The sequels are also great in their own way, and Romero went on to make many other films as well – but this was a revelation in low-budget horror, and it will live forever as one of the greatest Halloween films ever released!
RIP George Romero!
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