Zombies have been one of the more popular monster types in films and television in recent decades following the popularity of George Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Joss Whedon's somewhat different take on the Zombie in his various projects is here examined in detail.
Amidst the deluge of shrieks, gasps, laughter and vomit, a certified independent horror movement was born. The rulebooks were burned and the inmates were running the show, opening the doors to a legion of filmmakers with a camera, some friends and zero budget.
On the last day of our week long celebration of Night of the Living Dead’s 40th anniversary, PopMatters offers six essays that delve on the subjective appreciation of Romero’s landmark film. In strong contrast to the previous installments of this collection, these articles offer a more personal perspective of the everlasting influence of Night of the Living Dead.
The real legacy of Night of the Living Dead is the way it became a quintessential icon that perfectly represents the patriarchal conflict for phallic control, as well as the confrontation between the primitive and the civilized.
To what do we owe ourselves? To what do we owe our future corpses? Will we go on living like we're already dead, like the past is inevitable, like we're doomed to repeat ourselves, doomed to recapitulate the terms of our decease?
The radio and television broadcasts of Night of the Living Dead depict a government unable to protect, alert, and prepare its citizenry for a national crisis, which reminds us of the mass bureaucratic bungling of the September 11th tragedies and the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
After a decade in which the dissemination of powerful images of human suffering—911, Abu Ghraib, Darfur, Iraq, New Orleans—have had little impact on changing the status quo, it’s hard to grudge Romero for his pessimism.
It has been argued that feminists cannot embrace the first film because of all the female characters’ passivity and stereotyped deference to the men. And gun-toting Ripley has become something of a feminist icon, so why not embrace Tallman’s red-haired spunky version?
We cannot say that the original Night of the Living Dead’s racial politics trump the gender politics of the remake, but rather, that the great power of tragedy can still grip us long after a movie’s more superficial aspects have been superseded.
On our fourth day of celebrating the 40th anniversary of Night of the Living Dead, PopMatters presents six articles that discuss the everlasting legacy of Romero’s zombie masterwork. As such, these contributions help us understand why Night of the Living Dead continues to be of relevance to modern audiences.
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.
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.