I few years ago, I watched the original Night of the Living Dead. I thought it was a pretty cool black and white film. It was so good, that the library of Congress deemed it worthy of preservation. It had a lot of sequels, written by the same director, George A. Romero. This film was not attached to any big company. It was an independent film of sorts. What is best about the movie are the gory special effects. For its time, the movie was really gory.
Like we all know, this movie starts with two siblings visiting the grave of the their father. Like most zombie movies, it is in the heat of summer. The brother pretends to get attacked by a living dead. Later, he does get attacked by a zombie. He tells his sister Barbra to run for it. Barbra arrives to a farmhouse and finds the owners dead. Later, on arrives the main male protagonist, Ben.
Ben represents the resourceful strongman. In a time of crisis, it is men like Ben, that take charge of the situation. Hiding in the cellar was a nuclear family of a mother, a father and their daughter. The father simply wanted to hide, and wait for help. The Cooper family represents southern conservative. In any case, Ben thought it was a death trap. Since he was a man of action, he refused to sit there and wait for help.
Later on, they were joined by a young couple. They helped Ben prepare the house for the coming zombie attack. The family man on the meantime, goes to hide in the cellar. He had a family and thus much to loose. Like the Conservatives of the time, the Cooper father had blind faith in the authorities. Ben, does not trust them. At the time, blacks knew never to rely on the white, racist authorities. His distrust of them is not unfounded, considering what happened in the end.
Barbra in the movie is the dramatic foil of Ben. She cannot accept the reality of the situation. For most of the movie, she remains in shock. When she saw her brother among the zombie army, she went out to embrace him and got eaten by the beast. She represented the weak, white women of the time. The type of woman who could do nothing without their men. The minute she was left alone, she broke down.
The young couple represents youth. Like young kids their age, they sided with Ben, the man of action. Since their young, they are more adaptable. They rose up to the challenge, early on. Well, whatever, I am certain that you will like this classic zombie movie. It is very gory and scary, even by today's standards. In any case, the Night of the Living Dead deserves 5 stars rating. What's best is that everyone dies in the end.