“Oh dear, I was afraid of this. Minion brought home more movies,” said Cow, sounding worried.
“So what? She’s been doing that stupid morality movie thing for weeks now.” Stegosaurus replied.
“Yes, but these are horror films!”
“Check your oxygen levels, Cow!” Stegosaurus scoffed. “Minion doesn’t watch porn!”
Cow squeezed her eyes shut and tried to think down to Stegosaurus’ level. “Not whores, you stupid toy. Horr-ers. Horr-ers.” He still looked blank. “Scary movies.”
“Oh no! It’s not October already, is it?”
Cow nodded, dejectedly. Last year, Minion spent the whole month laughing and throwing popcorn toward her computer monitor as she watched some of the worst films ever released on DVD. It looked like this year she chose the classics route…
Yep, here it is, October, and I nearly forgot about setting up some more shows to showcase the horror..the horror! that is Halloween month. I’ll be skipping Morality Mondays until November now since it could be argued I watch too many movies as it is. Tonight’s gem: George R. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead!
Since it’s far more likely people have actually seen this film, I won’t belabor the plot points too much. The film starts with a couple of siblings at a cemetery. Johnny is teasing Barbra about still being afraid of the graveyard when they’re attacked by an unnamed terror. Johnny dies but Babs manages to get to an apparently abandoned farmhouse. Much to her luck, it appears the undead menace has forgotten how doorknobs work. Not much to her luck, it’s not alone anymore. But soon, neither is she. A handsome stranger named Ben arrives to help her make the farmhouse secure so they can stay a while.
It’s a film that requires subtitles so you don’t miss a thing the radio announcer is saying. It’s the only way they have to show that a national emergency is going on, that it’s not just this small place in trouble. And the radio works well to explain a lot of things we don’t see, like how this all started and the fact that people are getting eaten by the things.
A couple other guys barge in — looks like they’d been lurking in the cellar, not realizing the noises they heard upstairs were real people. Cooper insists the cellar will be the best place to hold off the dead things. The first guy thinks old Cooper is cracked. The young man that was downstairs with his girlfriend and Cooper’s family agrees with the first guy about how useful windows will be to watch the villains and wait for rescue. Of course, that doesn’t pan out well at all…
For 1968 audiences, it was probably a stunner. It’s still pretty impressive now, too. Graphic, gory.. creepy, and even has naked people in it, lady boobs and all. [“So it is a porn!” “It isn’t!”] I like how every character has his or her own way of dealing with the crisis, too.
Babs, aside from early hysteria, has shut down and focuses all her attention on tiny things, like the pattern of lace on a seat cover. Cooper is somewhat in charge of his family until Mrs. Cooper browbeats him into going upstairs once they learn a television is working. Ben is the go-getter. Tom just follows whoever he thinks is Alpha male at the moment and Tom’s girlfriend, Judy, feels some sympathy for everyone in this predicament, but especially for the Coopers’ ill daughter downstairs.
It’s been a while since I saw this film last and I’d forgotten that they wind up blaming NASA for all their undead, ghoulish woes, on account of radiation on a satellite. The military claims that would have nothing to do with it. And how many satellites had been in orbit by then? There probably were some people worried about health threats from space.
I didn’t forget how the movies ends, though. So very depressing. Sure, the ragtag bag of heroes (usually the group a movie would follow from beginning to end) winds up saving the world, but their relentless assault on everything that moves means.. well, I don’t need to spoil that part.
I wonder how pissed off audience members were when they first saw that, though. I mean, cripes. What an ending.
So tomorrow night, another film will be featured – an Alfred Hitchcock one. Try and guess which one, if you want. You probably won’t guess right anyway…