The 1968 Exhibit: Night of the Living Dead, 1968


"The Nightmare that keeps on giving" 


On tonight's (Friday, 12/30) Turner Classic Movies lineup (1:30 am Central Time-- so it's actually on 12/31 at 1:30 am) is one of the GREAT movies from 1968:  George Romero's Night of the Living Dead.  The progenitor of an entire film library of zombie flicks (not to mention such great, if derivative, TV shows as The Walking Dead),  NOTLD is one of the six films from 1968 chosen for the prestigious National Film Registry of the Library of Congress-- awarded to films of "cultural, historic, or esthetic significance."  (The others:  Bullitt, The Producers, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Planet of the Apes, and Once Upon a Time in the West.)  


This blog has been to Living Dead land (i.e., Pittsburgh) before, of course-- but it's never a bad idea to pay another visit.  And you can see a clip from the movie in the 1968 Exhibit at the Minnesota History Center.  


To quote from the TCM website:  

"It's hard to convey just how appalled some people were when Night of the Living Dead started popping up on movie screens back in 1968.... Drive-ins and second-tier theaters were used to showing tacky movies, of course, many of which contained horrific creatures. But despite its obvious low budget, there's something very convincing about George Romero's nightmare vision of a small hamlet that's been overrun by flesh-eating zombies.

"Night of the Living Dead is one of the first horror films that refused to turn away from its own gruesomeness, and the terror it reveals can't be arrived at logically. The characters seem fated to simply live in a hell that they can't comprehend, until it breaks into their makeshift fortress and eats them alive. It's rather hard to believe, then, that this ultra-bleak vision was created by a gang of Pittsburgh-based filmmakers who normally churned out industrial films, sports coverage and local TV commercials.... 

 Night of the Living Dead remains unnerving because its black-and-white verite images look like they were recorded by accident. ... Much of Night of the Living Dead is hilarious. Let's face it, these zombies can be scared away by a burning La-Z-Boy recliner. But it can still give you a serious case of the creeps if you let it. Against all odds, a bunch of guys out in Pittsburgh, who apparently didn't know what they were doing, filmed your worst nightmare. And, as new generations of horror fans discover Night of the Living Dead, it's the nightmare that keeps on giving."

You can actually watch the whole movie online, for free, in High Definition-- but it might look a little better on your TV.