Monday, April 11, 2011

Night of the Living Dead

I absolutely loved Night of the Living Dead but there was one aspect that I found to be very strange. Why did Romero feel the need to include an explanation for the presence of the zombies? I actually think it would have been more terrifying if there wasn’t any explanation given at all. I thought that is where the movie was going based upon the quick opening and the location. The first zombie attack was so quick and almost random, despite how ridiculous parts of it were. However, the suddenness of the attack along with the lack of communication was what created more fear.

The setting at a remote farmhouse also made me believe in the beginning that there would not be an explanation for the presence of zombies. I was actually a lot more terrified when I thought they were going to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with no connection to the rest of the world. After they showed the news reports, I think the tension was greatly cut. It would have been more terrifying to constantly wonder throughout the movie whether or not the zombies were isolated in that area or even whether they were the only ones left alive. I love a good zombie movie and, for me, the best ones create a feeling of isolation that I don’t think Romero completely captured.


  1. Including an explanation for the presence of the zombies, to me, made the film seem more plausible that something like this could actually happen. I think he needed to explain the zombies and put them in a real world context, otherwise the whole film could have just been dismissed as ludicrous. I think hearing and seeing the news reports about the status and explanations of the zombies also heightened the main characters' anxiety as well as the viewers about how rampant and serious the problem was.

  2. I was just thinking about this the other day. I feel like sometimes we as viewers need to have a scientific or logic-based explanation in order for a storyline to be "plausible." However, I found it pretty ludicrous that radiation was making people crazy, slow-walking cannibals- real radiation really doesn't do that to people...

    Also, I thought the film perfectly demonstrated that 1950s/1960s mentality of "letting the authorities handle it." Kind of like in Invasion of the Alien Body Snatchers, we see the characters putting their faith and trust into the important white men with guns and ammunition..."the authorities." Let's call the National Guard if we have an alien/zombie situation!!! Perhaps I'm skeptical and jaded, but I find it ironic how the characters take everything they hear on TV and the radio at face value. As a family friend once said, "Well of course it's true, it's on the Internet." haha ;)

    I'm with you, Kathleen- a movie is 10 times scarier when there is no explanation or if the explanation is really "messed up." You can explain away any movie by saying that it's not possible/credible- but you would be forgoing the film experience by not "suspending your disbelief." Also- I was surprised by the amount of zombies that were in that deserted farm location- where did they all come from? It seems to me like we would've seen more zombies in the cities portrayed on television. (Where were all the zombies in Washington, D.C.?)