Night of the Living Dead 40th Anniversary

By Marco Lanzagorta

26 October 2008

Day 1 of PopMatters’ celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Night of the Living Dead begins with a brief introduction especially written by Romero for this collection. Following Romero’s lead, our first series of essays concentrate on the possible origins and inspirations that eventually led Romero to create such a masterwork of the horror genre. These essays put this landmark film into context, comparing its visual and narrative structure to other films of the era. This exploration proves valuable to understand why Night of the Living Dead became – and remains -- so popular since its original theatrical release.
“Home” Is Where the Zombies Are

The farmhouse in Night of the Living Dead shatters the illusion of our most trusted institution: the American home is as dangerous as the evil outside its walls.

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26 Oct 2008 // 11:00 PM

Camping Out at the Graveyard

When we relax and revel in the campy ghouls, our nerves are left fresh for the film’s terrifying bite; the last and sharpest of which comes at the searing downbeat ending.

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26 Oct 2008 // 11:00 PM

Cannibalizing Consumers

As long as consumerism dominates the marketplace, the cannibal zombie horde archetype created by Romero will always have a place in the popular imagination.

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26 Oct 2008 // 11:00 PM

Of Mice and Maggots (and Other Nasty Things)

Every film in the horror genre leading up to Night of the Living Dead offers some kind of release, a resolution to the terror. Romero's great innovation was to rip away this delight, this false hope, and replace it with an even deeper terror.

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26 Oct 2008 // 11:00 PM

A Controversy Is Born

Films that cause outrage frequently become the focus of cults and of spirited defences exactly because their capacity to outrage is seen as a challenge to mainstream tastes and sensibilities.

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26 Oct 2008 // 11:00 PM

The Zombies and I

The response to Night of the Living Dead made me realize that I could inject socio-political satire into the sort of "horror" fictions that I loved since I was a boy.

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