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Night of the Living Dead
Die Nacht der Lebenden Toten

USA 1968
produced by
Karl Hardman, Russell Streiner for Image Ten
directed by George A. Romero
starring Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne, Judith Ridley, Kyra Schon, Charles Craig, Bill Heinzman, George Kosana, Frank Doak, Bill 'Chilly Billy' Cardille, A.C. McDonald, Samuel R. Solito, Mark Ricci, Len Hartman, Russel Streiner
written by George A. Romero, John A.Russo

Living Dead trilogy, George A. Romero's Living Dead-series

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Barbara (Judith O'Dea) & her brother Johnny (Russell Streiner) visit the grave of their father to leave some flowers ... when Barbara is attacked by a weird man (Bill Heinzman), & when Johnny comes to help her, the man kills him in cold blood. In shock, Barbara runs away, & takes refuge in a nearby farmhouse, where she finds a mutilated corpse ...

Soon a man, Ben (Duane Jones) arrives at the house too, claiming to be on the run from a horde of maniac killers, & he starts boarding up the house. Only when he's done some more people - Cooper (Karl Hardman), his wife Helen (Marilyn Eastman), their injured daughter Karen (Kyra Schon), young Tom (Keith Wayne) & his girlfriend Judy (Judith Ridley) - who have hidden in the cellar all the time, make themselves known ... & it's soon evident that Ben & Cooper will be fighting over leadership of the group, as Cooper wants to hide in the cellar (a deathtrap for Ben), Ben wants to stay above (too easily overrun for Cooper), which causes them to fight over pretty much everything, & neither of both is willing to give in ...

Meanwhile the TV informs about the situation: it seems not only the area they are in but the whole east of the USA is overrun by living dead people, who are not only lethal but also carnivorous ... but the army has instated rscue centers & urges all (still alive) citizens to go there.

With their house surrounded by zombies but a truck almost out of gas & a gaspump nearby, Ben devices a plan for all of them to leave the house, escape the zombies & make it to a rescue center, a plan that involves massive molotov cocktail throwing (zombies dislike fire) ... but it goes totally wrong when the truck catches fire & blows up, & Tom & Judy with it. Ben gets locked out of the house by Cooper, & when he finally makes his way back in, tensions are high ...

Ultimately John shoots Cooper when Cooper wants to get his hands on John's gun, Barbara spots her brother Johnny - now dead - among the zombies & is reunited with him (to her disadvatnage), & Helen Cooper is killed by her own daughter who has since died from her injuries & beome a zombie herself.

Only Ben survives, ironically down in the cellar (his death trap), but the next day, when the national guard arrives, they shoot him as a zombie.

 

Even if Night of the Living Dead is quite some decades old & was obviously made on the cheap, it's still the most impresive of the modern zombie movies (movies that don't feature the classic voodoo variety of walking dead but the zombies as lethal carnivorous creatures which are a menace to humankind as such), for quite a variety of reasons:

First & foremost does the film carry a feeling of claustrophobia that makes the terror as such believable, & which in later zombie films was never again achieved.

Second, the utter normality of the zombies, not disguised by much fancy make-up - like in later zombie movies -, makes them all the more creepy, that connected with the fact that it's these normal people eating other (normal) people.

& thirdly (which might be the most disturbing) it shows that we humans don't need zombies to kill us ... we can do that ourselves much better (as at least half of the principle players are not killed by zombies).

As a whole, Night of the Living Dead was successful enough to eventually spawn 2 direct sequels, Dawn of the Dead in 1978 & Day of the Dead in 1985 - both also directed by George A.Romero -, as well as a gazillion of rip-offs ranging from the good to the interesting to the totally ridiculous (both in a good & in a bad way).

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD