**½/**** Image C- Sound B Extras B
starring Tony Todd, Patricia Tallman, Tom Towles, McKee Anderson
screenplay by George A. Romero, based on the screenplay by John A. Russo and Romero
directed by Tom Savini
by Walter Chaw SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. George Romero's Night of the Living Dead is a watershed: a quintessential drive-in/B-movie that demonstrated without equivocation how horror/exploitation pictures are often "indicator species" in the cultural swamp--the ones that most quickly, most effectively locate the toxins in the ecosystem. Appearing in 1968, Night of the Living Dead addressed the rise of televangelism in its legion of communion-taking, slow-walking white people; predicted the generation gap (alongside Rosemary's Baby) and a spate of evil-children flicks that appeared in the early-'70s; and spoke to the Civil Rights war in its blithe casting of black actor Duane Jones and not-so-blithe murder of his character by a posse of hillbilly vigilantes in the final frames. There's something super-charged in the image of Jones holing up in a farmhouse with whiter-than-white, meeker-than-meek Barbra (Judith O'Dea), something explosive in the social microcosm represented by survivors trying, unsuccessfully, to work together to affect their escape from what's really just a metaphorical threat. The movie resonated then; it resonates still.