Film Talk – Night of The Living Dead (1968)

The Zombie Genre

Unlike a lot of people I know, I haven’t been a fan of the zombie genre for that long. In fact, it was the Dawn of The Dead (2004) remake that first made me go ‘OK, this zombie stuff is pretty damn awesome.’

I remember being in college and a couple of guys talking about zombie films and George A. Romero in really glowing terms, and I vaguely recall watching bits and pieces of Night of The Living Dead as they waxed lyrical about it and the brilliance of everything zombie related in general. Back then though it just wasn’t for me.

Now though, a decade on from college and things have changed. I’ve been a huge fan of The Walking Dead from the start, have read and loved World War Z and enjoyed The Crazies (2010) remake too. With all of that being said, I thought it was time to go back to the start and see where it all began.

Indie Art House

On Amazon Prime, as well as horror, Night of The Living Dead is also described as indie art house and as you get sucked into the story the quality of the direction, the sharpness of the script and the exploration of themes, ideas and characters is easy to appreciate.

There is an urgency to everything that builds and builds. What really stands out is just how smart the film is. This is no dumb horror film that just ticks genre boxes – it is a vibrant piece of work that genuinely surprised me with its depth.

Alongside this, there was real satisfaction in watching this and truly appreciating how it really is the father of The Walking Dead. Everything I love about TWD was all on display: the issues of morality, how to reconcile differences in a group, the strain of making decisions when everything is falling apart, that real feeling that society is crumbling. It is all there, as well as a jet black ending that rivals any of the bleak moments on offer in TWD. The cast too were all brilliant with a superb performance from Duane Jones.

Classic films

So many times you go back and watch a classic film with every intention of having an open mind, knowing that there are going to be elements that jar with the way you are used to seeing things done these days. For me, when a film makes me forget that I began watching it with that mindset because I enjoyed it so much has to be considered a big success. Night of The Living Dead easily achieved that.

IMDB rating: 8 – Do I agree? A resounding yes.


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