• Ellis Barthorpe

October Fright Nights: Night of the Living Dead

Ellis watches 'Night of the Living Dead' for the first time in Fright Night number 1

For October 2021, I am watching five classic Horror films I've never seen before. These Horrors are renowned as absolute classics, and I know that a lot of readers will be ashamed of me for never watching them before. But I've only found my love for the genre recently, avoiding it as I felt them predictable and unrealistic. But now I have more of an understanding of how fun a Horror movie can be, and am so excited to watch all five of these films for the first time. Please feel free to go on this journey with me, give them a watch for yourself, and then come back to read my thoughts on movie number 1: Night of the Living Dead.

Fright Night Film: Night of the Living Dead

Release Date: 1968

Directed by: George A. Romero

Starring: Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne

Successful Jump Scares: 0


CREEPINESS

Although creepy in places it's usually down to the use of music. Even a music box is the most typically creepy horror trope found in the film. The film also has that thing that some horrors have when you end up laughing at how melodramatically ridiculous the whole thing is.

STORY & PLAUSIBILITY

I said some of those typical Horror statements like "don't go down to the basement" and "you should probably blockade the windows" but this was perhaps one of the first to popularise those now often seen cliches. You can see just how influential this film has been on modern day zombie hits.

Barbra is a rather weak character and it's hard to root for her as she doesn't have as much likeability as Ben who we don't meet for about 20 minutes of the movie.

CINEMATOGRAPHY

The shots are basic and a little uninspired, but this is paying homage in itself to the Horror films that came 20-30 years earlier. It is however shot like a bad home movie, and sometimes that adds to the realism, but it's not enough of a stylistic choice throughout.

The makeup is great, not becoming too much too quickly.

MUSIC

Music is so important to a Horror film and here Marshall Booth and Gary Streiner create shrill and tense moments through their sound alone. It's in completely non-diegetic moments that the film is most effective.

PERFORMANCE

The performances are melodramatic but confident. You want that over-the-top nature when watching a Horror classic but sometimes it comes across as rather wooden. The Cooper couple add a new depth to the performances and all of the news report sections are some of the most genuinely realistic news segments in any film I've seen. The performances are great in places you wouldn't expect them to be, and weaker in the places you would.

Night of the Living Dead available now on BBC iPlayer

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