TIL: Night of the Living Dead
Continuing on with the Halloween themes of the month I decided to learn a bit about the horror movie classic Night of the Living Dead
- Night of the Living Dead is often mistaken as the first zombie movie. That title belongs to White Zombie starring Bela Lugosi in 1932.
White Zombie is also the inspiration for the rock band of the same name.
- Due to a copyright mistake at the time of publication the movie is considered public domain. You can watch it right now without issue on Youtube which I have linked the movies just below. You could make your very own version of Night of the Living Dead if you wanted in your backyard.
Because of that copyright error Romero would have held the copyright until 2024 and we wouldn’t have other zombie based media like 28 Days Lateror even Michael Jackson’s Thriller video.
Duane Jones as “Ben” in Night of the Living Dead was the first time a black actor was cast as the lead in the horror genre of movies. Jones also rewrote his own dialogue for the movie for the script.
George Romero worked on an episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood when starting out. Romero wanted to use the actress that played “Lady Aberlin” in Night of the Living Dead but Fred said no.
Night of the Living Dead along with some other works of Romero were shot in and around Pittsburgh. This made Pittsburgh a hotspot of sorts for movies locations in the 1980s to the 1990s.
Mark Dodson voiced the sounds of the zombies in Night of the Living Dead. Dodson also voiced the Kowakian monkey-lizard “Salacious Crumb” which was in the Jabba the Hutt scenes in Return of the Jediand Mogwai and the Gremlins in the Gremlins movies.
George Romero and Night of the Living Dead might have been the inspiration for tons of the zombie stuff we’ve watched recently but Romero got his inspiration (possibly nearly stole) from Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend.
Night of the Living Dead opened before the soon to follow rating system by the Motion Picture Association of America. Anyone could see it, even children. Variety Magazine at the time proclaimed the movie “pornography of violence”.
In zombie filmmaking the rule is to generally avoid using the word “zombie”.
With a few exceptions that break the rule most films and shows use alternate terms like “biters” and other colorful terms.
What do you think of Night of the Living Dead? Does it hold up? Compared to today’s zombie and horror related media is it Meh or scarier?
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