Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Razorblade Smile Reviews: Night Of The Living Dead (1968)

It's another Wednesday. How about a nice warm helping of Zombies?


Or the mother and father and undead uncle or ancestor of EVERY modern horror flick ever made....

Night Of The Living Dead: Chet the Vampire reviews the greatest Zombie movie of all time.

Night Of The Living Dead

Info:

Director-- George A. Romero

Writers--- John A. Russo
George A. Romero


Starring--- Duane Jones
Judith O'Dea
Karl Hardman


Year: 1968

Company: Image Ten


The Basic Scoop, The Poop, The Lowdown:

In a sleepy Pennsylvania town, a radiological disaster sortof thingie event has caused the recently (and in some cases, extremely UN-recently ) deceased to pop up right out of the grave and seek to feed on the BRAAAAAINS, BRAAAAAINS of the living. A few of the survivors of the initial mayhem all shelter in place together on a farm outside of town. Lead by a cool-headed brutha named Ben they hope to ride out the ORIGINAL zombie apocalypse.

What's Pretty Good:

Ohhh duh. IT'S A CLASSIC!! Now...whaddyamean I have to continue onward and explain why? What is this, a movie review or something? Geeez, you've got all you need right there! lol

But in all seriousness, that word classic has a lot of meaning associated with it. When something is definitively defined as a "classic" (or at least, as it should be ) it means that the thing you're talking about is an original, it is something that sets a tone and a clear standard. It starts its own movement or genre, it's a pop-cultural keystone that almost everyone on the planet knows about or has heard of, something that is, then, now, and forever imitated by many, MANY others that try to capture its flavor. (And usually don't measure up.)

Living Dead IS every one of those things I just described. 1968 apparently was a very good year for kick-butt genre-bending or genre-transforming flicks. (Ex: The rise of Spaghetti westerns) I just only wish I had been old enough at the...err...*AHEM COUGH COUGH* I mean AROUND THEN ;) to experience them all.

Yeah well Living Dead pretty much INVENTED the modern zombie flick. Cut print, wrap, done. Romero is pretty much the freakin' Godfather of all zombies, real or imagined, for better or worse.

With all that said, the actual technical aspects of it.

The B/W is well-used. Even though this film was clearly low-budget, nothing goes to waste, not the shots, not the make-up, not even the acting. Maybe not everything in this movie is perfect to a high-mirror shine, but you can certainly tell Romero got the most out of what he had to work with. The lesser parts all came together to make a rock-solid whole.

Even though you KNOW the makeup is cheesy, and that the zombies are probably just extras and townies, or that the leads probably didn't have a whole lot of acting experience prior to making this, it still all works well. The flick has an excellent "student film" or "live news shot" quality to it. It creates an overall mood, a feeling of ever-growing dread, a sense of being closed in and inevitably assimilated into something horrible, long before Gene Rodenberry's writers ever invented The Borg

Actually, it kind of acts as a mirror on the absolute chaos that was all goin' down for real in 1968 like the whole country was cannibalizing itself and...well...you had to be ther..err...I mean...KNOW SOMEONE who lived back then. ;)

And of course, the ending has a nice twist. Cliched now yes, but an ending like that broke convention for the times.

What Kinda Sorta Really, Really Sucks:

The same thing that makes it great...it's a zombie film, make that, the ORIGINAL zombie film that started the trend. Not everyone who likes horror movies dig zombie flicks, and even those that do may not like this one. Why? (because you're an unedumacated boop of a whippersnapper who sucks? No err...I mean...) because if you're "a-zomba-tized or acclimatized to the sortof modern "Goreno" style of today, you might find this movie lacking, or even boring. There's not enough body parts, blood, or grossout special effects on that scale. So if you pay to watch movies soley for the whetted appetizer of seeing some poor innocent white girl Coed torn to bloody pulp pieces in a way and with a common household appliance (like say, a Salad Shooter or Pizaaz pizza maker) that you've never thought of before, you'll be disappointed.

Personally, I think we could all use a little mixer-upper. A golden oldie, less-is-more, kind of horror flick every now and then. But, I'm a Vampire, I'm not everybody.

Shocking huh?

Overall Film Grade: A+




Bottom line, this IS George A. Romero's master stroke of genius, what will be on his tombstone (before he destroys the damn thing when he gets up out of his grave ;) )

Ya'like Zombies and you want to know where it all began and you've somehow NEVER SEEN this one before? Then you owe it to yourself to give the original Living Dead a look.. I can't always say I dig zombies, or every zombie film ever made, or even every zombie movie Romero has ever made, but THIS film at least is the one zombie that will never die.

Get used to it...and let it in on your BRAAAAAAAAIN...sss!

---Chet

a cheeky vampire blogger named Chet who writes about pop culture, monster/horror/B-movies and other crap in generala cheeky vampire blogger named Chet who writes about pop culture, monster/horror/B-movies and other crap in general

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