“They’re coming to get you, Barbara…”
It’s a classic, oft-quoted line, but one that gets me right in the mood for it’s source material. And the Z word is never used, they are in fact referred to as ghouls. This film can be seen as the transition point for zombies… from living dead servants in voodoo-type societies and films to flesh-eating ghouls from the grave.
It’s all here, the vacant gaze, the ambling shuffle, the Frankenstein arms.
And the beauty of it is, the film still works.
Shot in black and white, it has an almost documentary film style to it, and unless you’ve seen it before, you’d be hard pressed to tell which character the movie is about. Which is good, because it tells you that each and every one of them is up for grabs, that in the long run none of us would survive the zombie apocalypse. Somehow at some time, we’d slip up, no matter how prepared we are, and we’d pay the price for it.
There has been discussion through the years on the themes of the film, everything from the Vietnam conflict to racism in America.
I like to think of it as just a good zombie flick, and depending on the mood I’m in I can take away whatever theme I want.
This time, I just wanted to watch it like a kid would in ’68, watching the dead be brought to life and watching all of our would-be heroes, and their companions fall one by one.
The film, and the genre have oft been imitated. and Romero has gone back to the well countless times in his cycle of films, especially notable is the first sequel, Dawn of the Dead, a commentary on consumer society, but we’ll talk about that when we get to it, because it apparently made the list as well.
It’s also of note, that these zombies aren’t after brains, but are in fact just hungry for flesh, and there are a number of entertaining shots, when you see these creatures feasting.
Romero created a classic, and a whole sub-genre of horror that continues to enthrall and terrify us, but there’s nothing like going back to the original!