The Night of the Living Dead wasn't the first zombie movie ever made, but George Romero's indie thriller definitely changed horror movies forever. Let's take a look as to why...
The movie starts out with Barbra and her brother Johnny driving out to visit their father's grave somewhere in the country. They don't particularly want to be there and Johnny's snide comments let you know that he's not long for this world. There's a lesson there: if you ever visit your father's grave, don't smoke and don't harass your little sister while doing it. It's just common sense.
Just as they're bickering, Barbra is attacked by this guy who's just a bit off. Johnny tries to protect his sister but the zombie kills him and goes after Barbra. Barbra makes a run for it and finds shelter in a nearby farm house.
It's actually a cozy place and the mutilated corpse upstairs adds a certain charm you don't get in the city. Well, it's not long before Barba is joined by Ben who came to the house after running out of gas. Ben relates his story of mass murder and the commotion has attracted the living dead to the house.
Ben urges Barbra to help him board up the house so they can fight the zombies off, but Barbra's just not equipped to deal with the fact that there are living corpses outside who want to have her for supper. But it turns out that there were people seeking refuge in the basement this whole time. Harry and Tom come up and try to talk Ben and Barbra into the basement. "It's the only safe place," Harry says, trying to urge them into the basement. Ben won't have it. Why would you want to seal yourself in the basement, there's no way out from there.
SO they bicker about what to do. Harry wants to hole up in the basement because his wife and daughter are down there and his daughter's not doing so well. Tom thinks that Ben's plan makes more sense because they have multiple escape routes and he figures that he and his girlfriend can leave if they have to. Barbra just whines a lot.
The local news advises them to stay where they are, so they barricade themselves in the house and try to wait it out. Meanwhile, the dead keep coming and coming. And coming. So what do you do? They wait and wait, watching the news which continues to report stories of mass homicide and reports of the dead coming back to life. So they decide to make a break for it. They find some keys and figure that they must unlock the gas pump outside. If they could just gas up the truck, they could hit the road and get out of there.
Ben, Tom and Tom's girlfriend manage to get the truck and dash for the gas pump. Unfortunately, they don't have the right keys and manage to start a fire at the pump that leads to Tom and his girlfriend getting burned alive in the truck. The zombies really go for the BBQ. Ben dashes back to the house and at this point it's looking pretty grim.
The situation gets worse when Harry's daughter dies and comes back as a zombie. She kills both of her parents and feasts on their organs. The zombies begin to infiltrate the house and get Barbra who becomes hysterical when her zombie brother gets into the house. It's down to Ben. He makes his way to the basement, kills the zombie daughter and hides out as the living dead have a house party upstairs.
It looks like Ben made it. He made it to morning. He slowly emerges to find a posse approaching. A redneck hunting party that's mowing down the zombies. Unfortunately, they're not too concerned with hunting safety and kill Ben when they spot him in the window. Yep, everyone dies.
The Night of the Living Dead ends on a sour note and it's not clear why the posse shot Ben. Did they really mistake him for a zombie. Was it because he was African American? After all, how hard could it be to ask "hey, are you a zombie?" before shooting? Why didn't Ben call out from the window? I guess the moral is that it's just a bad situation all around when the dead come back to life and go searching for human flesh to feast on.
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