The Ninjabot

The Night Never Ends: Why Night Of The Living Dead Should RIP

Posted on June 2, 2014 at 12:00 pm by Jess Hicks

Night of the Living Dead, is the perfect example of a dead horse well beaten. Of course in this case the horse may very well reanimate and eat you, but still. I’ve been doing research on a book I hope to write on 80s horror movies, with a focus on the “Slasher” subgenre, and no matter what book I flip through or documentary I watch on horror movies I have to hear the exact same story of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead over and over and over until my eyes pop out of my skull and my ears bleed.

NOTLD zombies

We all know the story and if you don’t there are TWO documentaries on the zombie genre released this year that focus on it; Doc of the Dead and Birth of the Living Dead. Don’t misunderstand me, I am a huge advocate for the classics but even I know when it’s time to throw in the towel and move on. At least talk about the “Dead” series as a whole some of the time!

NOTLD (as it has been come to be known), has been hyped up to be “THE GREATEST ZOMBIE MOVIE EVER MADE” among fans and critics alike (an opinion I do not share but can respect) so much so that it has lost its sheen. Romero has attempted to humble himself on numerous occasions stating that he and his crew weren’t set out to make a social satire (yeah, okay) and quite frankly I’m tired of hearing about it!

But why am I so tired of it? I can hear the boos and hisses about how I don’t like the movie, which is not true! I do enjoy the movie, I watch it every October like a ritual but I don’t live and breathe it as if it’s the only film Romero has his name on. So again, why am I tired of hearing the same story over and over about NOTLD? Two reasons:

Creepshow

First, as an avid horror fan I feel I have a set of duties to fulfill, the first and most important being the ability to expose people to a wide variety of horror films. NOTLD is a public domain film that anyone with a computer and an ounce of horror interest can track down and find. We fans need to stop making documentaries/lists/etc about the same 10 horror movies, it’s redundant. And please, I’m not saying forgo the classic films, I’m not saying that at all. I’ll cram Nightmare on Elm Street down any one’s throat given the chance. I just think we gloss over a lot of great movies when people ask “What’s a good scary movie?” Which brings me to my second reason.

George Romero, while primarily a “Zombie” genre filmmaker, has indeed made other films that don’t feature re-animated corpses and some rather good ones at that. The two that spring to mind for me are Creepshow, one of my all-time favorite genre films, and Martin a criminally underrated vampire movie. And I’m going to stop you right there with your “But both of those movies feature re-animated corpses!!” You’re being nitpicky and you know it**.

Martin

Both of those films are fantastically mesmerizing and get almost zero mentioning when people talk about Romero, it’s absurd to me. They both show such great versatility from Romero that it is such a pitty to me that he will not be remembered for them. Perhaps if those movies had gotten more recognition we would have a different kind of vampire or maybe the anthology would have gone on longer as a valid sub-genre. Maybe Diary of the Dead wouldn’t exist!! (I can dream…)

My point is, Romero should be revered in the genre but not just for one type of film, or in this case one specific film. Yes, Dawn of the Dead also gets a ton of praise but the tale of that film doesn’t seep into every bit of horror trivia. So please, I beg of you if you are going to write a book/make a movie/draw a picture summing up the genre as a whole don’t forget that George A. Romero is more than the father of the zombie genre. Besides, we all know Lucio Fulci’s Zombie is better anyway. Comment below, let me know what you think!

You can follow Jess on Twitter @DangerJess_

**For those of you who want to pick: Martin is a vampire movie and no those are never considered “Zombies” no matter how undead they are. “Something to Tide You Over” and “Father’s Day” from Creepshow both feature debatable zombie like figures but they were written specifically for the film by Stephen King. 

 

    Sharing the Legacy on Flickr

    See all photos

    Tweets