Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thursday American Cinema Classic

Welcome to a new weekly feature here at Movies with Abe, Thursday American Cinema Classic. I’m taking a course called American Cinema Since 1960 where we’re charting the history and development of American Cinema from the 1960s to the present. We’ll be watching some pretty iconic films, some of which I haven’t seen before. Each week, I’ll be providing a short review of one contemporary classic from the annals of recent history.

Night of the Living Dead
Directed by George Romero
Released October 1, 1968

The horror genre is one I’m generally unfamiliar with since I’m not a fan of the supernatural and the frightening things that come about as a result of its involvement in a film. It’s therefore especially interesting to see one of the first and most influential major horror movies. I’m much more intrigued and willing to see this kind of movie, that doesn’t feature excessive jump scenes and unnecessarily gory-looking and fearsome undead villains. However corny it may seem now or may even have seemed then, the way this movie works and serves to create fear is extremely effective. These zombies start wandering and maiming humans while it’s still light out, fueling clueless main character Barbra’s fears about being in a cemetery. They’re unresponsive and don’t want anything other than to kill and eat humans. Inside the house in which Ben and Barbara end up boarded up, the only connection to sanity and the real world they have is the very sterile-seeming news broadcasts they watch on television. There are obvious undercurrents of meaning implied in the film related to the events of the time when the film was first released. It’s very layered, but it’s enjoyable even just on the surface level as a cheesy zombie movie that produces more laughs than scares. There’s even more to discuss about the film’s ending, but I’d like to avoid that here in order not to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t yet seen it. This is definitely a cult classic that’s worthy of watching if you’re a diehard zombie movie fan or even just a casual moviegoer without any particular inclination for seeing the undead rise. Check out the clip above of the film’s opening scene and enjoy.


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