Night of the Living Dead

Night of the Living Dead (1968) came out of nowhere, or to be more precise, Pittsburgh, and turned into the most influential horror film since Psycho. George Romero's remarkably assured debut, made on a shoestring, about a group of people barricaded inside a farmhouse while an army of flesh-eating zombies roams the countryside, deflates all genre clichés. It traded the expressionistic sets of the traditional fright flick for a neorealistic style—Romero's use of natural locations and grainy black and white gave his gorefest the look and feel of a doc. And this was not Transylvania, but Pennsylvania—this was Middle America at war, and the zombie carnage seemed a grotesque echo of the conflict then raging in Vietnam. In this first-ever subversive horror movie, the resourceful black hero survives the zombies only to be killed by a redneck posse, and a young girl nibbles ravenously on her father's severed arm—disillusionment with government and patriarchal nuclear family is total. (R) ELLIOT STEIN

Sat., March 28, 11 p.m.; Fri., April 3, 11 p.m.; Sat., April 4, 11 p.m., 2009

 
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