The indie that started it all

Judith O’Dea in Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Tyler Manning

In the spirit of Halloween, I would like to talk about one of the most influential horror films ever made: George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead.” The film is single-handedly responsible for creating modern pop culture’s biggest Hollywood monster: the zombie.

Despite these hurtles, “Night of the Living Dead” has ingrained itself in pop culture for its creation of zombies. When looking at the production of the film, there are factors that warrant concern for the film’s success. The production budget of the film was roughly $100,000, limiting what could be filmed, and this was the first full length feature the director had made. On the film’s release it faced criticism for its use of gore and its social commentary.

Overall, the film is incredibly focused and efficient. It holds up well as a creepy political commentary about racism and xenophobia. Much of the dialogue and imagery are still iconic to this day, such as the infamous line, “They’re coming to get you, Barbara,” and the chillingly slow walk of the zombies.

The film is smart and subversive even in today’s standards, and is lead by a single intentional vision. For a film produced in 1968, it is incredibly unique that our main protagonist is a black man and is not just cannon fodder that dies before all of the white characters. It has a strong ending that warrants discussion and is great to watch during Halloween.

The film is not flawless; however, that is partially due to its limited budget. Some effects are not as great as others and the acting can be lacking, but overall it achieves a good amount of chills and scares.

I highly recommend that everyone watches “Night of the Living Dead” this Halloween season. It is a great example of the power of indie filmmaking and the influence that film can have over pop culture. The film is concise, smart and incredibly effect.

Rating: 8/10