Night of the Living Dead 1968
S P Oldham
Night of the Living dead 1968 – continuing my perusal of the films listed in a ScreenRant article ‘15 Black and White Horror Films That Are Still Scary as Hell’ – By Wednesday Lee Friday https://screenrant.com/scariest-black-and-white-horror-movies-ever-all-time/ This is only my personal, humble opinion and I am in no way declaring myself an expert in horror movies!
Night of the Living Dead is Number 3 on this list. For me, of all the titles listed here, this film is probably most deserving of the description ‘horror’ – not that I have watched all the others listed yet. Why? Because this one has an element of graphic horror to it, rather than mere scares. By today’s standards I am sure it is mild in the extreme. Nonetheless, whether you are a hardened horror movie fan (which, by the way, I am not) or if you prefer to be spooked than repulsed, this movie is a horror classic which seems to be positively revered by those in the know.
For my part I did find it intense, with a few jump scares. Don’t laugh, but when Barbra creeps into the room and the camera suddenly pans to the stuffed animal heads on the walls, accompanied by the blast of music, I jumped out of my skin! However, I am not sure that a modern film would devote such length of time when nothing much happens beyond fortifying the house and looking for useful items. It felt like a long time when watching. I don’t know whether I liked the radio commentary in the background or not, I am undecided. Was it a useful means of fleshing out the story and allowing the viewer to understand the much bigger picture? Was it filler to add to the lengthy ‘fortification’ scene? Or a little of both? Even after the occupants in the cellar are revealed to us, there is still a while before anything really happens, all the ‘horror’ seemingly confined to the beginning and the end of the film.
I found the zombies were all very stiff necked and robotic, but given that I write about zombies myself, I was interested to watch their movement and actions. I read somewhere that Romero wanted them stiff due to rigor mortis, so in the interests of artistic licence we can forgive that.
I liked Ben, played by Duane Jones, who I thought did a good job and was very watchable, as was Barbra, played by Judith O’Dea. There was a fair bit of flouncing and drama on her part, but that is par for the course for the era I think. I was less fond of some of the other characters, but I am sure that is as it was meant to be.
Anyway, I can at last say I have watched what is obviously a highly respected and revered film in the genre, created by one of its legends. On the whole I enjoyed it but, as with all my horror, I will stick to reading it in books rather than watching it on screen.
Apart from the rest of this list, of course…