'Night of the Living Dead' Still Terrifying Audiences

The simple horror of 'Night of the Living Dead' is the realization that society has gone dreadfully wrong, as frightening a concept now as it was in 1968.
A scene from the 1968 film, an instant hit and the first of three horror masterpieces by George Romero.
HOR_GEEK_LivingDead_01_PMAKMB Source: PictureLux/The Hollywood Archive/Alamy

Thunder rolls over the cemetery. As Johnny and his sister walk through a graveyard, he taunts her with the now-famous line: “They’re coming to get you, Barbra!” A strange man in a tattered suit is walking toward them. He comes awkwardly close, his expression vacant. Barbra bows her head and starts to walk away—and then he grabs her.

Who is this man? What is the nature of this attack? In 2018, the answers are obvious: He is the undead, and he craves the flesh of the living. But when premiered at the Fulton Theater in Pittsburgh on October 1, 1968, there was no precedent. Zombies, at least as we know them today, had yet to be invented.

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