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Night Of The Living Dead  

USA 1968 Directed by George A. Romero. Starring: Duane Jones, Judith O´Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne, Judith Ridley.

"They´re coming to get you, Barbara". The old classic "Night of the Living Dead" is hardly able to scare as much today, as it did when it came out 68´. But this little low budget flick (Romero´s first) has meant a tremendous lot to the modern horror film. Were it not for "Night" had maybe not the so popular zombie genre been exist. Consequently is "Night of the Living Dead" ranked as a milestone, not only within its genre, but also in the whole history of film. It has also been a frequent element in the American homes when they celebrating Halloween. An endless number of movies has been inspired of its contents.

Some persons has found refuge in a desolated farm-house in the country, since they been attacked by stiff-legged people. The strange people becomes only more and more, and the leading characters has a proper job to barricade the house. It appears then that a satellite which circled round Venus brought along some kind of mysterious radiation. NASA shoot down the satellite when they discover it. But the radiation still reach the earth and makes all that recently died to come back to life again. It sounds pretty good to me, if it hadn´t been for that the radiation influenced the dead brains, so they got a ravenous appetite for human flesh.

No, it doesn´t make sense at all, but Romero treats the subject in all seriousness, and appears to make us to believe that this isn´t totally unthinkable. With his ability to mix horror with drama, is he quite unique in the horror genre. But in "Night of the Living Dead" is it cut in both ways. When the protagonists looks at a newscast zoom the camera in an old TV, and that must one watch in nearly ten minutes. Not particularly funny. Romero chose to make the film in black and white so the public wouldn´t be too shocked. It contained after all impertinent scenes with cannibalism. But if one compare with what´s been made later, is it nothing to get excited about.

Fortunately has "Night of the Living Dead" so many other qualities that makes it still worth seeing. The surprising ending is probably just as shocking today as it was at that time. Romero has the reputation of being critical of society. It is noticed here too, but is even more obvious in his absolutely terrific sequel "Dawn of the Dead". There he view the human being as a big egoist. If it happen a large disaster on earth, gives Romero not much hope to mankind.

Kent Palmgren

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