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George Romero‘s 1968 “Night of the Living Dead” is the grand daddy of all zombie movies. The movie has its flaws, but it was groundbreaking and is still used today as a reference by filmmakers.

The movie opens with Barbara and her brother Johnny driving to a secluded cemetery to visit their late parents’ graves. They immediately run into trouble as the dead has risen and Johnny is killed. Barbara escapes to a farm house to avoid being killed by the zombies. Another man, Ben, has fought off the living dead and also finds his way to the farm house. It turns out Barb and Ben aren’t the only ones in the house. A group of people have already been hiding in the cellar. When they emerge, tempers flare, thus symbolizing the first hint of social demise, which is a theme throughout Romero’s Dead Trilogy. So basically, it becomes unclear who are more dangerous, the dead or the alive.

“Night of the Living Dead” isn’t a perfect movie, but it’s a good movie. Shot in black and white, its use of shadows and suggestion make for wonderful visuals. Romero’s social commentary gets a bit heavy with race and ignorance, but the movie till makes the Top 10.  Easily.

“Night of the Living Dead” 1968

Memorable Quote: “Don’t you know what’s goin’ on out there? This is no Sunday School picnic!”

Did You Know? When the zombies are eating the bodies in the burnt-out truck they were actually eating roast ham covered in chocolate sauce. The filmmakers joked that it was so nausea inducing that it was almost a waste of time putting the makeup on the zombies, as they ended up looking pale and sick anyway.

See the rest of the 31 Great Horror Movies.

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