Night of the Living Dead 40th Anniversary

By Marco Lanzagorta

28 October 2008

The race and patriarchal subtexts of Night of the Living Dead deeply resonated with the torrid social and cultural landscape of that bleak period in American history. As such, no discussion of Night of the Living Dead can be complete without considering these important issues. On our third day celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Night of the Living Dead, PopMatters offers six articles that discuss issues related to race conflict and phallic control.

28 Oct 2008 // 11:00 PM

Zombie Nation

As a concept, the dead returning to destroy the living is worse than Germany invading Poland, worse than Islamic fundamentalists destroying a New York landmark, worse than a tsunami killing tens of thousands of people.

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28 Oct 2008 // 11:00 PM

Zombies on Wardour Street

Although British audiences were becoming familiar with an evolution in horror, Night of the Living Dead still presented a startling leap into the unknown.

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28 Oct 2008 // 11:00 PM

Why Can’t We Just Eat Brains and be Happy?

Ben must die for the world to return to normal and the racial hierarchy is re-established. This is Romero’s most incisive critique: that even in the face of unimaginable horror, humanity reverts to its status quo.

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28 Oct 2008 // 11:00 PM

The Unhappy Undead

The Civil War is reenacted on a micro level in Night of the Living Dead. Your neighbors are the real monsters.

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28 Oct 2008 // 11:00 PM

Subverting the Subversion

The seemingly progressive casting of Night of the Living Dead actually reinforces the message from racist groups of the time: a well-spoken African American is the person responsible for the deaths of all of the white characters in the film.

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28 Oct 2008 // 11:00 PM

The Trouble with Harry

In Night of the Living Dead, the most unpleasant character just happens to also be the most insightful.

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