Τετάρτη, 14 Νοεμβρίου 2012

Night of the Living Dead (George Romero, 1968)


Night of the Living Dead - They keep coming back in blood thirtsy lust for human flesh










Night of the Living_Dead is one of the most significant independent horror films in history of horror cinema. The film was directed and co - written by George Romero. The initial budget of the film was only $ 114.000 and the film crossed about $ 12 million in United States and about $ 18 million in international market, it was a huge box office success.

Important Highlights / Innovations about the film “Night of the Living Dead




(1). The only professional actor in the film were Judith O Dea (Barba main female character) and Duane Jones (Ben the main male character)



Important : Duane Jones  is the first African American lead in a horror film and the first African - American lead in any feature not to have a Romantic Interest. I need to mentioned also that Duane Jones was the only actor who after “The Night” had a career in film industry, he performed roles in films like : Ganja and Hess (1972), Vampires (1986) and Fright Night (1989).

(2). The production of “Night of the Living Dead”

During the production of the film, the working title was “Monster Flick” and it was shot between June and December 1967. George Romero used a cost effective strategy by using a house that has been demolished and it had no basement. The basement scenes of the film “The Night” were shot in the editing studio and in combination with the amateur cast created a unique, strong and unforgettable cinema verite style.

(3). The payment of the Zombies was only $ 1 and a T- Shirt saying “I was a Zombie on Night of the Living Dead”.

(4). Cinematography innovation - “The Night” was shot on monochrome and George Romero achieved to present explicit gore in a Realistic style.

(5). Walter Reade Organization distributed the film - during the marketing campaign Walter Organization published posters announcing the following



“The Walter Reade Organization offers a $ 50 . 000  insurance policy against anyone dying of a heart attack while watching the film”.

(To be continued )

On the following video you can see the trailer of the film "Night of the Living Dead"



Night of the Living Dead is also known also with the titles “Night of Anubis / Night of the Flesheaters”.


As I have already mentioned the film was directed by George A. Romero, it was produced by Karl Hardman and Russell Streiner. Director of cinematography was George Romero the film was edited by George Romero and John A. Russo.  Special Make Up artist was Vincent J Guastini and make up artist was Karl Hardman and Special Effects director for the film was Tony Pantanello and Regis Survinski.

The Cast of “Night of the Living Dead"


The film was produced at a low budget approach and it was shot between June and December 1967. Only two actors had previous professional experience Judith O ‘ Dea and Duane Jones.

Duane Jones performs the main male character Ben, Judith O ‘ Dea plays the part of Barba the main female character. Also Marilyn Eastman performs the part of Helen Cooper, Keith Wayne plays the part of Tom, Judith Ridley performs the part of Judy, Russ Steiner performs the part of Johnny, Kyra Schon performs the part of Karen Cooper, Charles Craig performs the part of Newscaster, S William Heinzman plays the cemetery Ghoul,  George Kosana plays the part of Sheriff McCelland, Fank Doak plays the part of Scientist, Billy “Chilly Billy” Cardille plays the part of Field Reporter, Mark Ricci performs the part of Washington Scientist, Lee Hartman plays the part of News Reporter. Finally the unforgettable ghouls : A C McDonald, Samuel R Solito, Jack Givens, R J Ricci, Paula Richards, John Simpson, Herbert Summer, Richard Ricci, William Burchinal, Ross Harris, Al Croft, Jason Richards, Dave Jmaes, Sharon Carroll, William Mogush, Steve Hutsko, Joann Michaels, Phillip Smith, Ella Mae Smith and Randy Burr.

The Concept of the  film “Night of the Living Dead”


The main theme of the film is “raising the dead” a central horror theme for centuries. The first art project with them “raising the dead” is  “Frankestein Monster” novel of Mary Shelley the first film project with the same theme was the German silent (New expressionism) film “The Cabinet of Dr Caligari” (Robert Wiene, 1919).

Origins and inspiration for the film “The Night of the Living Dead


As I have mentioned on the Zombies as Cinema archetype article the zombie monsters debut was in cinema and not in literature as other cinema monsters. The first reference of zombies was on the folkloric book “Magic Island” based on the rich Haitian tradition of Zombie creatures. George Romero was influenced by the book “The Magic Island” and later from the first ever Zombie film “The White Zombie” (Voctor Helperin, 1932) the plot structure of the film is about a mad scientist and villain estate owner  who uses a secret drug to transform the habitats of the Island into a Zombie army to rule the Island.

It’s said that George Romero afyer the first read of the film “White Zombie” added another hypothesis on the Zombie Mythology “what if the zombies are uncontrolled”. Also films like “The Revolt of Zombies” (Halperin, 1936), “King of the Zombies” (Jean Yarbrough, 1941), , “I walked with a Zombie” (Jacques Tourneur, 1941) and “Plague of the Zombies” (John Cilling, 1966) influenced George Romero for the creation of the film “The night of the living dead”.

Also films outside the zombie sub genre influenced the cinematoigraphic techniques of George Romero and especially the look and feal of the film, among them are film like “Carnival of Souls” (1962, Herk Harvey), Repulsion (Roman Polansky, 1965). The concept of house siege was influenced from films like Invisible Invaders (Edward Chan, 1959), The last man on earth (Sidney Salkork, 1964). Also its believed that George Romero was influenced also by Universal Horror films like “Frankestein” (James Whale, 1931) and especially he uses almost the same camera angles as the classic Universal horror film.

Apart from films, there was a strong influence from comics and graphic novels and especially the comic book editions of EC Comics. The majority of EC Comics  published the decade of 50s with titles like “The Huant Fear”, “Tales from the Crypt”, “The Haunt of Fear” and they featured very frequently the living dead and most important of all in EC Comics the protagonists were from different ethical backgrounds. “The Night of the Living Dead” is the first horror film with an African American as the main male character.


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Elias Stoikos

Relative Article






Resources


Night of the Living Dead - Wikipedia

Night of the Living Dead - Internet Movies Data Base

Night of the Living Dead - Rotten Tomatoes

Home page of the Dead : George Romero

Night of the Living Dead - Roger Bert "The Sun"


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