Night of the Living Dead (1968)
IMDB Rating 8.1/10 96 min - Rated 15 Horror | Thriller
Stars: Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Karl Hardman Director: George A. Romero
A small group of people are trapped in a house when the dead rise up and walk again, hungry for human flesh. Shot in grainy black-and-white on a miniscule budget, Night of the Living Dead surprised even its investors when it became the most successful independent film of its time, uniting audiences and (most) critics, leading one to famously dub it, `The best film ever made in Pittsburgh.' The first installment in director George A. Romero's 'Trilogy of the Dead', Night of the Living Dead, (Dawn of the Dead came next in 1978, followed by Day of the Dead in 1985), is his most successful social commentary, challenging some of the anachronistic beliefs still prevalent even in the late 1960s. One of the more obvious examples of this is the casting of African-American newcomer Duane Jones in the lead, particularly effective after a blonde actor is seemingly set up for the role and then killed early on. Jones is excellent, the dominant presence in every scene, he inevitably takes on the role of leader within the metaphorical society that develops inside the house. But it's not all politics, Romero is equally comfortable with the straight horror. Notable highlights include the half-eaten corpse that Barbara (O'Dea) stumbles upon when entering the house, its eye hanging out and face torn away. And the now famous scene of a sickly young girl suddenly recovering enough to lunge at her mother is one of horror cinema's great moments. Night of the Living Dead marked the debut for almost everyone involved, including Romero, but even without considering this fact it's still one of the genre's best examples.