Night of the Living Dead 18 (1968)
Dir: George A. Romero; Starring: Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne, Judith Ridley, Kyra Schon
I thought it wouldn’t be scary…I was wrong; oh my lord this is a chilling film. A genre making, imitation spawning classic, Night of the Living Dead manages to create stomach-churning tension throughout from a simple premise – radiation from a fallen satellite has caused the recently deceased to rise up and want to eat the living. Zombies roam through the countryside and seven people barricade themselves into a farmhouse and try and fight them off. The unrefined way in which it’s shot only adds to the spookiness. I can only imagine how terrifying it must have been back in the 60s.
If I was ever faced with flesh-munching ghouls I’d want Ben (Jones) on my side and I’d like to think I’d hold it together more than the pathetic Barbra (O’Dea), who does less than nothing to help the situation. The thing I liked best about this film was the unrelenting horror as the end drew nearer, particularly the trapped couple’s kid (the monster pictured above) brutally attacking her mother in the basement, which I had to watch from behind my hands, and the grim humour of the only survivor being taken out by a single bullet after fighting off the demons all night. I also enjoyed the way tensions were created within the group thrown together in the farmhouse; the bickering couple, the fight to be the alpha male, the desperation to make the right decisions.
The eerie music just finishes the whole thing off nicely – horror at its most ghoulish.