Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Year: 1968

Production: Image 10 Productions / Walter Reade-Continental

Director: George A. Romero

Starring: Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Karl Hardman, Keith Wayne

Screenwriter: John A. Russo

Based on a story by George A. Romero

96 minutes; B/W

This unrelenting and downbeat horror film, Romero's astonishing debut, tells of a horde of walking, cannibalistic corpses who lay siege to an isolated house. Their revival is explained by "space radiation" brought to Earth on an aborted rocket launch, but the absurdity of this barely detracts from the concentrated Gothic paranoia of the action, whose intensity won the film a cult following, especially from those who saw the savagery - and helplessness - of both ordinary people and zombies (whose bite infects the victim with zombiism) as symbolic of the horrors of the Vietnam War. Night of the Living Dead was independently financed and made during weekends by a small group based in Pittsburgh. The sequels, making up a Living Dead trilogy, are Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985).

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