Friday, January 8, 2010

Capsule Review: Night Of The Living Dead (1968)

A low budget horror film starring a cast of nobodies and filmed in black and white hardly sounds like the recipe for one of the most influential films of all time, but limitations become strengths in the hands of young, eager filmmakers not handcuffed by the restrictions of mainstream hollywood. Night Of The Living Dead is more than just a lurid title - it represents a conscientious wave in horror, comparable to the cold war Sci-fi of the 50s - where threats can both stand on their own and represent any number of societal ills. Not strictly a political film, the choice to cast an african-American actor in the lead, as well as a shock ending with its own real life reflections at the time, add another layer to the central, terrifying concept of the dead returning to life. A television staple thanks to accidentally falling into the public domain, it's worth digging up some the astounding remastered version (as long as it's not the awful 30th Anniversary version). The remake (penned by George Romero) is worth seeking out as well.