George A. Romero
John A. Russo
George A. Romero
Duane Jones – Bed
Judith O’Dea – Barbra
Karl Hardman – Harry
Marilyn Eastman – Helen
Keith Wayne – Tom
Judith Ridley – Judy
Kyra Schon – Karen Cooper
If you have been reading the reviews on this sight and have not managed to watch this movie I would say it is time you fix that. Not only is this one of the first zombie films but it is the birth of the modern zombie as a whole. Before this movie came out it was all Haitian voodoo and even when in production they were called Ghouls instead.
Now the film itself has very little as far as a storyline, instead the movie is character driven instead of story driven. A woman named Barbara is attacked by one of the creatures, loses her brother and ends up in a house with a small group of survivors. From there the movie revolves around the interactions of that group of people and the cast is very diverse even by today’s standards. Not one of the characters really fit the mold of the jock, the cheerleader etc. but a cast of people that feel like they could be found everywhere with one exception in film. Ben not only is black but one of the main characters of the film when at the time things like that simply didn’t happen.
The acting is very spot on in this movie which is another oddity. This is a very low budget film and they weren’t able to hire big name actors and they do a fantastic job. The cheesy lines that Barbara’s brother Johnny says could be made to look bad out of context but it’s the kind of thing that is sometimes said between siblings just to drive the other one nuts. With all the siblings I have I know this all too well… I have been known to use it on my wife as well.
The effects is something that I think people need to really take notes on. The use of lighting to cover up any kind of flaws or a lack of a budget was done in such a way that it was believable instead of clearly making the movie look cheap. When lighting outside the house was adequate it highlighted the beautiful makeup and effects, the one thing that made them so good looking was that some of them were real. The guts and organs that they were eating on I believe were real (I think I saw that in a documentary). This I’m sure could not happen today considering someone would flip out but it looked great for the film.
The deaths are the best part of this movie. They aren’t the goriest but it is how they are done in story is amazing. The deaths come from the actual characters flaws instead of the need to get a kill in every so often. This makes the film feel more real than a lot of the more recent zombie films.
Clearly I love this movie. I watch it every so often and have been for years now. I would recommend this to anyone because it really is an important film in cinema history.