Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Night Fright Flix.

Chaos descends upon the world as the brains of the recently deceased become inexplicably reanimated, causing the dead to rise and feed on human flesh in this cult classic from George A. Romero. Speculation rests on a radiation-covered NASA satellite returning from Venus, but it only remains a speculation. Anyone who dies during the crisis of causes unrelated to brain trauma will return as a flesh-eating zombie, including anyone who has been bitten by a zombie. The only way to destroy the zombies is to destroy the brain. As the catastrophe unfolds, a young woman visiting her father's grave takes refuge in a nearby farmhouse, where she is met by a man who protects her and barricades them inside. They both later discover people hiding in the basement, and they each attempt to cope with the situation. Their only hope rests on getting some gasoline from a nearby pump into a truck that is running on empty, but this requires braving the hordes of ravenous walking corpses outside. When they finally put their plans into action, panic and personal tensions only add to the terror as they try to survive.

George Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is a low-budget, homegrown classic that had great difficulty finding a distributor at the time of its release in 1968, and has since become one of the most influential horror films of all time. (Aside from its visceral impact years before realistic gore became the fashion, the film is also important for its portrayal of a black man as the protagonist during a time when race was an extremely sensitive issue in the United States.) The plot is simple: seven people secluded in a Pennsylvania farmhouse face relentless attacks by reanimated corpses seeking to eat their flesh. The group, which includes a married couple and their daughter, a pair of young lovers, and an African-American man, try to keep their sanity as the living dead keep trying to enter the house. Radio news reports tell of the plague taking over the eastern United States, while the ever-decreasing band of survivors rapidly loses ground in the battle to both keep peace with one another and stay alive.
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