Night of the Living Dead

Night of the Living Dead

Night of the Living Dead zombies

RIP George Romero. Our tribute episode to a man who changed the face of horror and exploitation film forever. And if you want to watch it yourself, Night of the Living Dead is in the public domain and is available for free from any number of sources. Here’s one:

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Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Episode 91, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw

Clip: They’re coming to get you, Barbara!

Todd: Hello, and welcome to another episode of 2 Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd

Craig: And I’m Craig.

Todd: Well, Craig, it has come to this. We have been doing this podcast for a little over almost 2 years now. Yeah. Yeah. And last week, we were hit with the news that George Romero has died.

Craig: Yeah, It’s sad.

Todd: And George Romero, is an icon. He I don’t know about you, but, Night of the Living Dead, his his first film, his most iconic film, was also happens to be one of the most memorable from my childhood.

Craig: It’s it’s funny because it’s so iconic, and I, of course, everybody’s heard of it, but I don’t think that I actually saw the original until I was an adult. It’s funny now that we’re going to be talking about it and we call ourselves kind of a review podcast and I, it almost feels like sacrilege to review this movie, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s, you know, what is there to say? What is there to say about this movie that hasn’t already been said. It’s a classic, but, we thought that it would be you know, we talked about doing this movie a lot of times, and it just seemed a fitting time.

Todd: Yeah. You like you said, there are just some movies that almost seem pointless for us to do because they’re too easy.

Craig: Right. But

Todd: Right. But maybe, you know, maybe this We have a lot of younger listeners, maybe people that, have heard of it, but don’t wanna watch a black and white movie, don’t think it’s gonna be scarier don’t think it’s gonna be worth their time. Maybe after they sit and listen to us talk about it and spoil it all, then yeah. They’ll sit down

Craig: and wanna give it another look. We’ll see. I’ll tell you.

Todd: The thing that really got me, about this film, and I watched it when I was young, It is probably the 1st movie that I ever saw that I could say was was bleak, that just absolutely ends poorly for everyone involved. Big spoiler alert. And we’ll we’ll talk about it more later, but, you know, that had a really profound impact on me as a kid. I just never I I honestly do not think that Before I saw this movie that I’d ever seen a movie that ended badly, ever really had a story that’s so tragic. Mhmm. I don’t know. You know, Romeo and Juliet or whatever. I don’t think I was reading Romeo and I’m sure I saw this movie before I I read Shakespeare.

Todd: But, yeah, this this movie just really opened my eyes to the fact that I the world isn’t always a safe, happy place, that things don’t always turn out for the best. And it really forced me to seek out more movies like this. And, honestly, maybe was responsible more than anything else for getting me into the horror genre in the 1st place.

Craig: Yeah. That’s, that’s interesting again, like I said, I don’t think I really thought until I was an adult. I mean, I had seen references to it. I had seen clips all over the place, But the movie came out in 1968, which was well before our time. You know, that was more our parents’ time. And, and when it came out, the MPAA hadn’t even been, created yet. I think it was created like maybe the next year or something like that, or maybe even the same year, but after the release of this movie. And so This movie was presented in the way that many horror movies were presented at the time.

Craig: You know, it was matinee fair. The target audience for that matinee fair was kids, you know, like adolescents and teenagers, and even young kids were going in and Seeing this movie, and I think, it it was pretty shocking for them because like you said, it is bleak and it, and it is, scary. And you know, it’s funny, I’m sure we’ll talk about the bazillions of of movies that were inspired by this or, or at least that this movie had some influence on, but up until this time, And people had never really seen a horror movie like this, where there was a lot of gore and, and violence, You know, up until now, it had been, you know, Bela Lugosi and and the classic Universal Monsters. And and and so this was stuff.

Todd: Right? Like Yeah. Sci fi, cheesy, low budget thrills.

Craig: Yeah. And fun stuff, but but very, very different from this, you know, this is bleak. It is dreary and it is violent and gory. And, it shocked a lot of people. And I think that that may be Part of the reason why it ended up doing so well, this is one of the most successful independent films of all time. I mean, they filmed it on a budget of I think $114,000 And worldwide it ended up grossing like 30 plus $1,000,000. And I think that it was more successful outside of America than it was in America, but

Todd: it was successful here too. And it

Craig: really ushered in a brand new, That’s cool. I mean, just from a Historical perspective, that’s such a cool thing. And for this to be, you know, George Romero had, had been working in the industry a little bit. He worked on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and he had done some other, you know, commercials and I think some public access stuff, but this was his first movie And they filmed it on such a low budget, and the impact that it made on cinematic history is just it’s it’s amazing.

Todd: And, you know, you mentioned the the worldwide gross and all that. It’s it’s well known now that George Romero and his original backers never saw much of any of that money.

Craig: Right.

Todd: It’s also kind of a big tragedy that, the the movie was originally called Night of the Flesh Eaters. And when he found distribution for it, the distributor decided they wanted changed the title to Night of the Living Dead. So when they got in the film footage and changed the title card of the movie, What they neglected to add to it or keep on it was the copyright notice. Yeah. And copyright law at that time was really stupid. It basically just said if you didn’t have a copyright notice on your on your work that you immediately forfeit copyright to

Todd: it.

Craig: Right. Public domain.

Todd: So the minute it was released, unfortunately, to the theaters, they lost copyright to it, and it was his distributor that got all the money. And that was something that really haunted him for quite a while, but I will tell you that It’s because of that, it maybe this movie wouldn’t have had the reach through the years that it’s had today if it were not for that. I mean, it’s hard to say because that is I guarantee you the reason why I saw it as a kid, you know, years later in the eighties, is because this movie was free for anybody to put on television, to put on cable. You could go to a dollar store and see VHS copies and and later DVDs, out the yin yang. Most of them rip or copies of copies, but copies nonetheless. This was a really easy horror movie to find. So Yeah. That’s how I

Craig: got my copy. I got a, you know, in a department store in one of those $1 bins. Yeah.

Todd: Exactly. You know, and there would be, like, parody shows on TV where they would take old public domain movies. You know, Mystery Science Theater obviously did did it a lot. But even before Mystery Science Theater, even Nickelodeon had a TV show called, Turkey TV, which I think was something they imported from Canada. It was, like, on Canadian TV, but Nickelodeon had had it in syndication. And And I remember seeing a parody of this where they had replaced the dialogue with funny dialogue, you know, and, of course, they could

Craig: they could they cut out

Todd: all the, you know, the the bad bits and just, and made it funny. And and so, yeah, this movie just maybe even more so became part of the pop culture landscape because it was so widely available to anybody. And with that killer title and the notoriety that that, you know, came after it, it just seemed to have lasted through all those years. And really honestly still holds up today. I really feel like

Craig: it’s I think so. Yeah. I think it totally holds up today. It’s a good movie, and you said, you know, we’ve got Some younger viewers who maybe are not super interested in old black and white movies. And frankly, I’m one of those assholes. I typically don’t seek out older films like this, but this is one It really stands up. I mean, it’s oh, gosh. You know, there there’s there’s some great acting.

Craig: There’s some not so great acting, but even the not so great acting still fits well within the context of this film. And especially considering that this is a man’s first movie, it’s really strong. Like it’s good storytelling. It’s well paced. It’s well shot. It’s good to look at. Like it looks good.

Todd: I don’t know. Probably Years. Yeah. Yeah. Many years. We were able to find a nice HD quality version on YouTube, and I’ll put a link to that on our website. But if you go back, you know, for for so many years, I grew up on watching these kind of terrible copies of it. And on one hand, the terrible copies of it do the movie a bit more justice because

Craig: Yeah.

Todd: The muddier it is at at in places, the better the makeup looks.

Craig: Agreed. Agreed. And just like some of the, the less quality copies, it, it almost makes it feel grittier. And the movie actually got some praise for that because this was, because of the time period when it was taking place, you know, the Vietnam War was very much in people’s minds and, people, you know, so much news footage had come out of there and it was all very raw and gritty. And this this movie got some praise for kind of, Whether it was intentional or unintentional kind of, emulating that feel, yeah. So some of the grittier copies, you know, this movie almost feels like it should be gritty based on the context. When you clean it up, it looks nice, you know? It’s nice to see people in clear focus, but you’re right. Some of the make up effects show, because they were doing this on a really low budget, So it’s a zombie movie and they thought well we don’t have a lot of money so let’s just kind of make the zombies pale faced with dark Circles around their eyes.

Craig: And you see that in some of the zombies. But as they went on they’re like, Well, let’s try some different stuff. And they started thing, like, morticians’ plastic and rubber and makeup to kind of give some more effects of decay and stuff. And you can, so you can see both. You can see the dark eyed pale zombies, but you also get some shots of the zombies who are in a further state of decay. And, and they all look good. But yeah, when you see it in a really clear, like 4 ks transfer or whatever, I mean, you can tell it’s makeup, but it still looks good regardless.

Todd: Yeah. And the one thing that is exposed in the four k transfer is the quality of the filming. The cinematography in this movie is is pretty good. The lighting is good. The scenes are lit in very dramatic ways. Until now, I hadn’t really Paid attention critically to the way that George Romero had framed up his shots and had lit his scenes and things, but I I have a Really high level of respect for him. I’ve always had a high level of respect for him. Sure.

Todd: But even more so to see that this has really showed a lot of this talent right out of the gate. Of course, like you said, he’d he’d worked in other things before, so, you know, nobody comes in with all these skills, right off the bat. But but when you’re going into a movie, we’ve seen tons of of low budget films that you have to Make apologies for those kinds of things. Great. And you don’t have to make any apologies about almost anything about this movie, really. The writing is good. The acting, as you said, is is good. The cinematography is good.

Todd: The lighting is good. He’s doing some really innovative for the time things with the camera. At times, it’s handheld. The shots too, I noticed there were moments where the shots were very askew, at moments of high tension. And that’s something that, you know, it just kind of escaped my notice before, but, you know, that is a kind of an advanced technique of really giving you a psychological feeling of unease just by the way that you frame the shot that a first time filmmaker wouldn’t necessarily think to do.

Craig: Oh absolutely, and, and I feel like this is just one of those examples where things just kind of fell into place, like every once in a while, You know, with with a movie or or whatever, anything, you know, all the right pieces fall into place and it just works so well despite the fact that maybe it shouldn’t have. The fact that this was this guy’s 1st movie, it was shot on a low budget, it was shot with mostly, you know, non mainstream actors. But it just you mentioned the writing. I agree with you, the writing seems really good. It’s good storytelling and characters are really good, but in researching this, I found out that a lot of the dialogue was improvised as they went along.

Todd: Really?

Craig: And, Yeah, and even the casting of the main character, the main character is, the hero really of the movie is named Ben. And he’s a man named Dwayne Jones. And this character was written as a dumb trucker. And when they did the auditions, Romero cast this guy, Duane Jones, and he was an African American man. And it was not written for an African American man, it was written for a white man, but Romero, and Romero, you know, faced lots of scrutiny at the time and really I think throughout his life People were saying, did you just cast this guy because he was a black guy? And, and he says, absolutely not. It was just that he came in and he did the best audition. Dwayne Jones was a trained stage actor, and he was also a professor of English. He was a highly educated man.

Craig: Like I said, it was written to kind of be this kind of dumb, guy, and he didn’t wanna Play it that way, and so he didn’t play it that way, and he rewrote and revised a lot of the dialogue to really be more reflective of himself as as an educated, strong, black man. And and in 1968, that was just just unheard of To have a strong black male protagonist, especially

Todd: in a movie where he’s the only black guy.

Craig: Yeah. He’s the hero, and he is. He plays it so strong. This guy comes in and immediately he’s Sourceful and smart and even keeled and level headed.

Clip: Don’t worry about him.

Clip: I can handle them. Probably be a lot more of them as soon as they find out about us. Truck is out of gas. This pump on his lock, is there a key?

Craig: And, I mean, you just root for him throughout because he’s such a badass.

Todd: You love him.

Todd: You do. You just love him from the beginning. Don’t you?

Craig: Yeah. Oh, absolutely.

Todd: Especially with with with what he’s contrasted with. And that’s why I think, again, this being a happy accident, man, it it really did fall into place like a perfect puzzle. We might as well go back, and just kind of jump into the plot real quick.

Craig: Yep. Yep. Go for it.

Todd: It starts out with a car driving down the road, Driving down the road going to put some flowers on, Johnny’s mother’s grave. And you at first in fact, I actually, To this day, I thought that they were boyfriend girlfriend. It wasn’t

Todd: until this viewing that I realized that they’re brother and sister.

Todd: It that just totally escaped me even though they referred to as brother and sister, like, several times in this movie. Right. Then anyway, so they’re gonna go put the flowers on this grave. It’s his it’s his mother’s grave. Right?

Craig: No. It’s it’s their dad.

Todd: Oh, it’s

Craig: their dad. Yeah. Because they have this whole shtick about how The the Johnny, the brother’s like,

Clip: You know, I don’t even remember what

Clip: the man looks like. Johnny, it takes you 5 minutes.

Clip: Yeah. 5 minutes to put the wreath on the grave and 6 hours to drive back and forth. Mother wants to remember, so we trot 200 miles into the country, and she stays at home.

Clip: Well, we’re here, John. Alright?

Craig: And he’s such a jackass. He’s like, I don’t even care. Like, like,

Todd: And she’s kind of an airhead.

Craig: She is an airhead. She’s like kind of this doe eyed, silly girl. And She kind of remains that way throughout which again I’m not gonna really offer any real criticism of this movie because I think that as it is, it’s just Fantastic. But if I were to offer any criticism at all, she is really, I guess you would call her the heroine of the movie, but she’s pretty lame.

Todd: Oh, yeah. Oh, she’s lame.

Craig: And As a character. Not not as a performance. I appreciate the performance. Just the characters. She’s weak. She’s a weak character.

Todd: Well, you know, She starts out as as the heroine, and I think he kinda subverts that about, oh, I don’t know, a third of the way through the movie when you realize that she’s not gonna be any help to anybody. That’s kind of a movie without a heroine in a way. It I feel like Ben is ends up being the guy.

Craig: Yeah. Oh, absolutely. No question.

Todd: Anyway, they get there. They lay the flowers on the grave, and they have a bit of, okay. So this part’s a little forced. Their dialogue, when they’re talking about when they went back there as kids, and who knows why they were playing in a graveyard as kids, especially presumably 3 hours drive away from their their home. I don’t know. They have some dialogue about how she was always scared and, Johnny would jump out from behind a tree and scare her, And she goes, oh, I’m don’t do that. It makes me frightened. And that leads to this line that comes in his taunting of her that is so iconic, which

Clip: to they’re coming to get you, Barbara.

Craig: Oh, god. I don’t care if it’s forced. I don’t care if it’s cheesy. I mean, that is just so iconic. We’ve seen it parody. I mean, we’ve we’ve reviewed movies where they’ve parodied it. And it’s just, that line, I just love it. I love it so much.

Craig: And and it’s because they see kind of this, like, Ambling, shuffling guy in the background, and he’s teasing her like, oh, look. There they are. They’re coming to get you, Barbara. And meanwhile, knowing the context of the movie, we know that this is a zombie that’s coming around. And it does attack her. It’s silly and it’s funny, but oh gosh, I love it so much. I was just, you know, watching this again, like I said, for the 1st time in years, I was just waiting. I’m like, say it.

Craig: Say it. You know, it’s like rock it’s like Rocky Horror Picture Show or something. You’re just waiting for the line. Come on. Come on. That’s right. It’s so good. I love it.

Todd: You know? And and again, talking about inspirations, you have to feel like the screenwriters of It Follows We’re watching this opening scene and going, this is I’ve got an idea for a movie because it is so casually presented, and this again is just the genius of how this is shot for such a low budget, cheap movie. He’s so casually presented in the background. Before they even point him out, you can kinda see him way off, you know, out of focus in the back just shuffling along just like another person in the cemetery walking along.

Craig: Right.

Todd: They make a little brief mention of him, and you kinda see him back there throughout the rest of the scene, but the focus is so much on on Johnny and Barbara that you almost forget about him, except for the fact that, you know, you’re watching a movie called Night of the Living Dead, and you think this Right. Have to be significant. Right? Barbara’s walks right up to him like she’s going to apologize, and he grabs her and starts to, you know, wrestle with her. It’s like he’s, I guess, gonna try to eat her. And Johnny throws her aside, and he wrestles with him. And Johnny gets knocked out on a tombstone, And the guy doesn’t start digging in to eat Johnny. He jumps up and seems to be more interested in Barbara, and so he ambles off against her. And here’s where we see The first of these things that George Romero, I think he he clearly had to make some choices here.

Todd: This isn’t the 1st zombie movie that’s come along. Right? We had Even back, like, you mentioned Bela Lugosi, we had White Zombie. Mhmm. You know, it was always set kind of in voodoo and Haitian. This was the difference that Romero brought to it as he kind of updated it to the modern day and gave you a different reason for the zombies, but he had to make some choices throughout this movie. How are they gonna act? How are they going to what are the rules as it were? What happens when you get bitten? Does anything happen when you get bitten? Who becomes a zombie? When do you become a zombie? All these questions get answered as the movie goes on, and those answers get doled out, little by little, which is another really cool aspect to the writing, I think. 2 things that surprised me, even old many years later. Is first of all, this guy, He’s ambling and shuffling a little bit, but then when he wants to, he can move.

Craig: Yeah. Yeah.

Todd: You know, he really kinda runs after her, honestly, and, chases her to the car. She gets in the car. She tries to to go, but she doesn’t have the keys because Johnny had the keys. And she just puts it in neutral, which is something, you know, you could do back then when we didn’t didn’t have automatics.

Craig: Right. And, this guy

Todd: is coming to her and trying to, you know, punch his way through the window and he can’t. So then he turns around and looks on the ground and grabs a brick and chucks the brick through the window. So not only do you get this zombie that isn’t always necessarily shambling along, but they have some level of intelligence.

Craig: Right. Well, and watching this, it just made me think that we have seen so many zombie movies in our lives, that we kind of have these expectations. You know, I I try to put myself back in the mindset of somebody who had never, Who’s not us, who hasn’t seen these millions of zombie movies, in fact, who maybe had never seen the zombie movie at all. And so they would have no idea What the rules were, or what the expectations were, or even what was going on. So everything, everything would be new and a surprise. You know, it would be a revelation to them when it’s revealed in the film that being bit by one of these creatures could infect you and and kill you and make you a zombie. I don’t know, like it’s just it’s it’s so wild to think This is where it all began. Because we’re so used to it.

Craig: We’re so submerged in it. It’s just cool to look back at this as kind of a a relic.

Todd: Yeah. It it really is. And it’s interesting to see how that got reinterpreted over the years. Right? Like, for the longest time even after this movie, You got the sense I mean, most zombie movies after that, that getting bitten got infected you. You know, there was that whole aspect of the they eat your brains, that became popular even though it’s it’s never a thing in this movie that zombies eat brains in particular. It’s just that they’re craving human flesh. It almost kinda takes a step back from this movie, the some of the subsequent movies in that the zombies aren’t portrayed as particularly intelligent. Right?

Craig: Right. Right. Oh, yeah.

Todd: And then later on, we get, you know, like, 28 Days Later where the, you know, the modern zombie can run. You know? It’s kinda, like, I don’t know. You know, we can we can we can list off hundreds of these movies. But, yeah, there are all these different little takes on it, but it’s funny to see the things that came from this movie And some of the things that were dropped, you know, that that came from this movie that were then later picked up or later played with. And I think He said, you know, a lot of his choices were sometimes matters of necessity. Just like Yeah. What could they afford to do? What could they not afford to do what, what was convenient, for them and rushing through this this movie as it’s written. And so, Again, it’s not like he sat necessarily sat down on at a paper on 1, you know, cold October afternoon and drew up everything.

Todd: Just like every work of art, you know, it’s kind of a work in progress in process that happens over time. So

Craig: Yeah. Well, and what the other thing is What’s interesting is that because no such thing as a zombie movie ex well, like you said, there had been like White Zombie and a couple other things, but, Romero’s idea of what zombies were were really kind of the historical idea of zombies, which are, people who live in people, who are somehow possessed or entranced by voodoo witch doctors, Like in the Caribbean and places like that. And and so that was kind of the concept of what a zombie was at the time. So Romero wasn’t setting out to make a zombie movie. Right. In fact, he was inspired by I am legend. The not any of the films or adaptations, but but the original, novel, I am legend. And and he wanted to do something like that.

Craig: He liked the idea of 1 man being The sole survivor of this epidemic that killed everybody else off, but then, you know, people were coming back, but they were monstrous or whatever. And he kinda wanted to pull it back a little bit Further, let’s not start where there’s only 1 man left. Let’s go back to when this outbreak happened and people were starting to die off. He was so inspired by the novel that I you know, I read that he said somewhere I couldn’t make them vampires Because that’s what they were in the novel, and I couldn’t copy it that directly. So I had to make it something else, And this is the something else that he came up with. And and they don’t even they don’t call them zombies

Todd: in the movies.

Todd: Absolutely not.

Craig: They refer to them as murderers and assassins and eventually ghouls, but the word zombie is never mentioned in this movie. It was only after this came out and and inspired so many other things that we started using that word to refer to these types of antagonists. And again, like, jeez, how cool is that to create something that has become such A huge part of our culture today. I mean, look. You know? The Walking Dead is one of the most popular Series on television. Romero himself was not a big fan of The Walking Dead, but regardless of the fact that he wasn’t a fan, clearly, You know, he inspired this huge huge subgenre of horror, and and I’ll apparently just continue to keep gushing thing about it.

Todd: This could be a very long episode. No.

Craig: No. No. I feel like that’s the thing. Like, I feel like we should get into the plot because it’s important. Really, what’s important about the plot is that Barbara, runs away, and and she ends up finding this farmhouse where she’s alone for a little while, but then eventually Ben, our our true hero, Shows up, and and she’s basically worthless. I mean, she’s she’s pretty much catatonic and just kinda walking around in a catatonic state. Annoyingly

Todd: so. Yeah.

Craig: Yeah. But he comes in, and he’s like, let’s board up the house. Let’s figure out what we’re gonna do. Like like, he is all action. Exact. And he is all action, and he does it, and he does it all by himself. Like, he is just he is He is the man, and he’s boarding up all the windows, and he’s boarding up all the the doors, and they’re fighting off zombies all the time, and like, again, He just knows what to do. He’s seen things.

Craig: The 1st time he saw zombies was, like, at this gas station, and he there was a fire, and he saw that they were afraid of fire. So he’s lighting things on fire and throwing them outside to to keep the zombies at bay. And it works. Like, This guy is just so practical and knows what he’s doing. Eventually these 2 other guys pop out out of the cellar. They had no idea they were down there. And as it turns out, they had been there for a while and they’ve been hiding out in the cellar because that’s the safest place. They’ve got these big boards they can board up the cellar door with.

Craig: Another one of my Favorite parts of the movie, one of my favorite lines of the movie is when these guys come out, Ben, the main guy is like, How

Clip: many guys been down there?

Craig: I could

Clip: use some help up here.

Clip: That’s the cellar. It’s the safest place. You mean you didn’t hear the ratchets you were making up here? How are we supposed to know what was going on? Us. Grabbing those things for all we do. That girl was screaming. Sure, you must know what a girl screaming sounds like. Those things don’t make any noise. Anybody would know somebody that needed help.

Clip: This Look, it’s kinda hard to hear what’s going on

Clip: from down there.

Clip: We thought we could hear screams

Todd: and that

Clip: well, we knew that could have meant those things were in the house afterward. And you wouldn’t come up

Clip: and help.

Clip: Well, if there were more, the racket sounded like the place was being ripped apart. How are we supposed to know what was going on?

Craig: The murder.

Clip: Place in village

Clip: You just got finished saying you couldn’t hear from down Now you say it sound like the place was being ripped apart. It would be nice if you get your story straight, man.

Todd: That’s so true. It’s like you were just listening the whole time?

Todd: What did you think was going on up here?

Craig: Oh, I just thought that was so funny. So the people who are down in the basement are Mr. And Mrs. Cooper, Harry and Helen Cooper, And they have a kid, and all we find out about the kid is that she’s hurt. We don’t really know what’s wrong with her at first. We find out later. And then there’s also this Teenage couple Tom and Judy down there. And so then everybody gets mixed up.

Craig: And then this is what becomes the Part of the movie, and this is really what Romero, I think, is most respected for, is that he sets up these horrific Scenarios. But what the movie is really about is about human interaction. You know, yes, They’re dealing with zombies trying to come in from the inside, but the way that the humans interact with one another Is potentially just as horrible and horrific, and I think that that is really what cemented Romero’s legacy, is that he was able to really tell human stories in these extreme circumstances, and he just does a really, really good job at it.

Todd: Yeah. You know, he starts out really playing to the survivalist fantasy. Right? That you all we’ve all kind of imagined, like, what are we gonna do if, like, some terrible thing happens? It’s up to us to, you know, defend our house. And so how Ben comes in here with a plan, and he’s he’s searching for tools, and he’s grabbing nails, and he’s, like, taking doors off of their hinges to use to board up the walls, and he’s making his how this house into a fortress, and he’s succeeding at it. You know? You’re thinking, yeah. This is the this is a guy I can get behind, and he’s played off against Barbara, who’s this blubbering idiot who’s telling stories that don’t even make sense, who you just hate because she’s absolutely useless, and this guy’s gonna end up protecting her. She doesn’t deserve to be protected, but, you know, you kinda feel like she doesn’t deserve to be protected.

Todd: Right.

Todd: So he’s got, like, this whole survivalist fantasy, you know, worked up in you and then introduces these despair characters, which then devolves into this Lord of the Flies type situation where Right. You know, part of our survivalist fantasy is this thought that we can all band together, You know? And we can beat this outside force or that even though we might have our differences when we’re faced with a common enemy, We see it in literature all the time, but, you know, Romero does it here too where he just breaks that down and, destroys it. You know, he set up this this this fantasy, and then he’s shown you, why it’s ultimately fantasy.

Craig: Right. Yeah. Oh, gosh. And and you mentioned Barbara tells that story. Play that clip because it’s so funny.

Clip: We came to put a wreath on my father’s grave, Johnny, And he said, can I have some candy, Barbara? We didn’t have any. And he said, oh, it’s late. Why did we start so late? And I said, Johnny, if you’d gotten up earlier, we wouldn’t be late. Johnny asked me if I were afraid, and I said, I’m not afraid, Johnny. And then this man started walking up the road. He came slowly, And Johnny kept teasing me and saying, he’s coming to get you, Barbara. And I laughed at him and said, Johnny, stop And then Johnny ran away. And I I went up to this man, and I was going to apologize.

Craig: Why don’t you just keep calm?

Clip: And I looked up, and I said, good eve.

Clip: And he grabbed me. He grabbed me, and he ripped at me. He helped me, and he ripped at my clothes.

Craig: I think you should just calm down. Oh,

Clip: I screamed, Johnny. Johnny, help me. Oh, help me. And he wouldn’t let me go. You rip

Craig: It it’s so funny and and so Pathetic, but again, as I mentioned earlier, a lot of this was ad libbed and that was one, this was one of the parts that was ad libbed, you know, Romero just told her, You’ve gotta tell the story of what happened to you in the cemetery. And she she rolls it out in such, I mean, it seems stupid, but honestly, this woman was traumatized. She probably is in shock, and we’re Crapping on her as a character, which I think is fair because she is such a weak character, but she plays the actress, Judith O’Day plays it really well. I mean it’s really believable. Yeah, you don’t particularly like her as a character But she plays it in a really believable way, so I’ve got to at least give her credit for that. You do wanna slap her around, And at one point, Ben does. Yeah. She she slaps she’s hysterical, And she slaps him, I think, and he just punches her out.

Todd: This is for the best.

Craig: And it is. And again that’s another reason why I feel like he’s such a cool character because he’s so practical. Like, I’m just gonna have to take you out For a while. And he does. And he’s kind to her afterwards, once She’s calmed down, and he’s protective of her afterwards. And I feel like this guy, you know, again, being his freshman Take on this movie. He was just so brave in doing stuff like that. Having a black man punch a white woman In a 1968 film and then having that man be the hero of your film, I mean, what was he thinking?

Todd: You know?

Todd: Well, you know, he says he wasn’t even thinking. He said it wasn’t until later. Now I don’t know if I believe this. I I can’t really believe this, But he said it wasn’t until later that when people started talking about it that he realized the implications of the, you know, the race the casting of black man in this movie. Now I’m sorry, but the movie’s dripping with all kinds of, if that’s the case, Lots of very convenient subtext in a lot of different scenes. You know, even when I was a kid, I felt like the underlying tension perhaps between Harry, and Ben Yeah. Was was a racial thing. Now this time when I watched it again with that knowledge of, you know, George Romero saying it was an accident, I could see how It’s not really written that way, but just his presence in the movie and some of the looks that they give each other and the way he treats him, I think maybe Even as a kid, I was just so tuned into, the unfair way in which African Americans are treated in America that I just I I read that right into their relationship in the movie, and it works.

Craig: Yes. Works really well.

Todd: Which then again makes it all the more subverted that he’s the hero of the movie. Whether it’s a happy accident or not, you just have to evaluate works of art as they turn out, and it’s great in that aspect, it it really serves it really tells that message. It’s there. It’s there for sure.

Craig: Yeah. Oh, absolutely. And especially because the guy, that plays Harry. It it mean he’s just a jerk. You know, he’s played by a guy named Carl Hardman. And and he’s, You know, kinda your typical middle aged, entitled white guy who just thinks he’s right and Everybody should listen to him when he’s not, you know, he’s, he’s, he’s wrong and, and he’s illogical. He wants to lock them all up down in the basement. And Ben is like, no, that’s, you know, you’re trapping yourself down here.

Craig: Up here, we’ve got all kinds of options. We can run upstairs. We can run If we need to, but if you trap yourself down there in that basement, then then you’re just stuck. And and that becomes a big conflict. But really, the whole middle part of the movie is just them in the house, interacting with one another, and not knowing what’s going on, And they’re just getting little bits of information from the radio and from the television from time to time. And I thought that the segments where they’re listening to what’s going on on the radio and the TV were so effective because they are just getting little bits and pieces. At first, the radio people are like, We don’t really know what’s going on. You know, lock yourselves up in your houses.

Craig: It appears to be a mass murder by unknown assassins. We don’t know, lock yourself up in your houses. And then later

Clip: Civil defense officials in Cumberland have told newsmen that murder victims show evidence of having been partially devoured by their murderers.

Craig: And, you’ve gotta get to rescue stations. There are rescue stations set up in every city At hospitals and police stations and public buildings and whatnot, eventually it gets to This big explanation, which as I was watching this again this time, part of what I appreciated in the first half of the movie, I was like, Oh, they’re, they’re not gonna try to explain why this is happening. And, and I liked that. I thought, we don’t really need to know why this is happening, that’s not really important. But I forgot that they do eventually explain at least potentially why this is happening.

Clip: So far, All the betting on the answer to that question centers on the recent Explorer satellite shot to Venus. That satellite, you recall, started back to Earth But never got here. That’s the space vehicle which orbited Venus and then prop was purposely destroyed by NASA when scientists discovered it was carrying a mysterious high level radiation with it.

Craig: And they don’t ever confirm that that’s definitively why this is happening. But it’s suggested. And ultimately it doesn’t really matter, but I just found, you know, all of that reporting, on the radio and TV to really be an effective way to kind of inform the plot and inform the characters. I just really liked it.

Todd: I did too. And, you know, it was a little dated, but doesn’t really matter. But I found, like, the the the radio and the TV really puts you in that house with them. You know? I was kinda sitting there, on the edge of my seat waiting to hear the latest development or what little bits and bits of of explanation they could give us, which is exactly how those guys nows were. And, yeah, it was really well done too, I thought. Aside from the fact that you’d you’d wanna see bigger crowds and maybe more news people, you know, they they couldn’t do as much, with the budget that they had. It does seem to focus on that local area around which they are, which is fine because that’s how Generally, you would get your news. I don’t I guess they probably weren’t tuned into a major network.

Todd: It looks like it was more of a regional channel. I know. Then they had to Move the bunny ears.

Clip: Right.

Todd: Right. But,

Todd: you know, this was an interesting aspect of it as well, and I have to feel like there’s something. There’s a message here too. When I was watching, The Land of the Dead that came out, what, 2006 or 2007 Uh-huh. I went there with a bunch of college students, and we watched it. And I thought that movie was fun too. And Romero’s films always have something to say. You know, he took the genre, And he didn’t just create it, but he owned it. You know? He said, I’m gonna do stuff with it.

Todd: And he all every every one of his movies is is a little different in what it’s Trying to get across with the zombies. And it feels though that the the thread that goes throughout all of them is just the unmistakable, unshakable and unstoppable force of progress for good or for bad. What is humanity doing? We’re moving forward, And just like these zombies, and ultimately, whether it’s good or bad, there’s there’s very little or nothing that could be done to stop, You know, the overturning the constant overturning of the status quo. And I feel like even that theme is present, again, whether it was intentional or not in this first movie. Because when Barbara first gets into this house, even for 1968, this is an old house. It’s an old farmhouse, so it has stood at least for decades. It’s out in the middle of a field. You know, we’re in a very rural setting.

Todd: The television that they have has to be hauled down from the upstairs. It’s not, like, you know, in a prominent place in the home. It it’s like a a really old person in 19 8 who maybe has a TV but doesn’t use it very often, there’s an old looking radio that he turns on. Again, for 1968, this radio is classic. It’s like a 1920, 1930 style radio, that they’re using. And so I feel like Even the fact that they’re boarded up in this house, it’s overtaken by the zombies, that this house just stands as a testament to the status quo, the

Todd: old conservative time that has been

Todd: passed by, you know, even at this time. Servitive time that has been passed by, you know, even at this time. And the fact that when they get there, this the owner of the house is dead. They don’t even get to meet her. Like, she’s one of the 1st casualties, and it happens off screen. But she’s been dead for a while, and she’s decayed. And, you know, it’s funny that she doesn’t come back to life. Yeah.

Todd: Yeah. That’s an interesting point of that movie that I’m not sure if that was just overlooked or if there’s a message I yeah.

Craig: I don’t know. It’s just kind Unanswered, I think. But, that the fact that it is set in this kind of, I don’t know if mundane is the right Word, but, you know, this this suburban, rural setting. Again, that was something that was was Kind of new and innovative. You know, I mentioned before, you know, all those, old horror movies, monster movies, They were set in exotic places, you know, Transylvania or, you know, all of these crazy weird places. And this was set at home, you know, like for, for the most, for, for most of America, this is Where you live, you know, this is small town, this is rural, and this could happen here. This, it it doesn’t have to be some exotic locale, Something horrific could happen here. And that was virtually unheard of at, at that time, which is, it just blows the mind.

Craig: Like, That’s so common now, you know, for, for you, for you to see things set in these normal places, but at the time that had not really happened in horror. And it’s good for you, George Romero.

Todd: You’ve done so much for us.

Todd: I would go out to lay some flowers on his grave, but I’m worried about that guy shuffled in the background. I

Craig: Yeah. I mean, ultimately, again, there’s so much, you know. We could talk so much about plot. There’s so much that goes on, but it’s really just a lot of human drama in this house. You know, the big things that happen are, there’s a gas pump outside, which, again, you young ones who listen, you you probably won’t Think about this, but that, you know, wasn’t uncommon, especially in rural areas. People, private people, sometimes had their own gas pumps or there would be a local gas pump at just some random farmhouse where people could go and get gas. So there was, There’s a gas pump there, and at first they can’t find the keys, but then it turns out the keys are in the basement. And then, Ben and Tom go on this mission to get gas and like, you think, You really think, because this is late in the movie, you’re like, oh, yeah.

Craig: They’re gonna get the gas and they’re gonna get out of here. But it just ends up being a total Blunder, you know, they go out there and they can’t get the key that was labeled gas doesn’t really unlock the pump, and so Ben has to And then when Tom pulls the gas out, and this is after he said multiple times how he knows his way around these things.

Clip: He

Todd: pull he pulls it out, and he just shoots gasoline all over the place. And he he shoots it all over the ground. It’s like it. It’s like that gasoline fight Zoolander. Yeah.

Craig: It totally is. And and so the the truck catches on fire, and the girl friend Judy had followed them out there, so she’s in the truck, and Tom and and and Judy get in the truck, and they try to drive away, but, and and they stop, and and Tom tries to get Judy out, but her shirt is stuck in the door. And they end up getting blown up in there. And you know, it’s sad that they die because you like them as characters. They’re very nice young people, good looking young people. You don’t want them to die but they do, and then there’s probably the most grotesque scene of the movie where the zombies are Eating their guts and just like eating their arms and stuff. And, I read that everything that they were eating was just Ham covered in chocolate sauce. And apparently, apparently that combination was So repulsive that they joked that they really didn’t even need to put any makeup on the extras because they all looked so sick just having to eat this stuff.

Craig: But it’s, you know, as as funny as that is, I mean, it’s a really pivotal point of the movie because that’s really been their Only hope for salvation has been this truck. And you and you really think that they’re they’re gonna get away. And then the truck blows up, and and that’s just it. There’s there’s really just no hope.

Todd: Yeah. And it’s it’s again, this is like the beginning of the bleakness for me. Like, a kid, I’m like, oh my gosh. Like, not only did their plan go awry, but it just kind of fizzled out in the dumbest way.

Clip: Yeah.

Todd: The here, people are supposed to know what they’re doing, who just screwed up. Just dumped a bunch of gas every oh, crap. It couldn’t get away. Like, it there’s nothing super dramatic about it.

Craig: Right.

Todd: It’s just, Wow. Now they’re dead, and now they get the added injustice of having their bodies picked apart any Mhmm. By these people, which is the 1st time that we see this. Right? This is the 1st time that

Todd: we

Todd: actually see, human flesh being devoured. And I think it was really smart pace this out a little later in the movie because this movie just builds. It does a really good job of that.

Craig: Yeah. Yeah. And and I think that the news reports do a lot to help That because we keep getting more and more information. Like at first it was just murderers, and then it’s these murderers that are eating their victims. And then we come to find out that if you are bitten by one of these things, Ghouls, as they call them. Then you’re infected, and you’ll eventually die and immediately become one of them. There’s a report on the news.

Clip: In the cold room at the university, we had a cadaver. Cadaver from, which all 4 limbs had been amputated. Sometime early this morning, It opened its eyes and began to move its trunk. It was dead, but it opened its eyes and tried to move.

Craig: I I feel like the guy on the news literally says, drag them out the street, doused them in gasoline, and set them on fire.

Todd: But he’s got a very he’s got a

Todd: very nice, like, 19 fifties style, of way of of of saying this. You know, back when people were a little more eloquent and sensitive in their speech?

Clip: The bereaved will have To forego the dubious comforts that a funeral service will give, they’re just dead flesh.

Todd: Oh, I

Todd: couldn’t be more direct

Craig: Right. And we get that, and we also eventually get the information that they’re really not difficult To kill, you just have to make sure that you destroy their brain. It’s the brain that has been reanimated. You have to destroy that. After the whole explosion outside, then The zombies become very aggressive and they’re getting in the house. And there’s lots of other things like when Ben comes back from this little expedition. Oh

Todd: my god.

Craig: Harry Harry is supposed to let him back in, but he doesn’t. You can see the internal conflict. Do I let this guy back in and risk letting the zombies get in? Or do I just lock myself my family up in the basement. And as much of a jerk as this guy is, I do feel like Romero and the actor did a good job of portraying that conflict. Like, it’s not just, oh, I’m a jerk so I don’t care. It’s weighing your options.

Todd: And it’s great because he could have been a cardboard cut out character. But because he’s played against these other characters in a very skillful way, he’s not. Like, even toward the, you know, the beginning of the movie when when he’s doing the arguing for Locking themselves in the cellar, and he finally stomps off to the cellar. We get a scene of him talking with his wife, and his wife is It almost seems like his wife barely puts up with him. Right?

Craig: And Oh my god. Another one of my favorite lines of the movie. She says something like

Clip: We may not enjoy living together, but dying together isn’t going to solve anything.

Craig: You know, you get this idea of of their relationship in a very brief period of time. These are people who are clearly not happy people.

Todd: Yeah. And she even brings up I mean, you could tell what the conflict is. Like, she he says something about how he’s right, and she says, oh, well, that’s what’s most important to you, isn’t it? Being right. Right? Yeah. Yeah. And and, again, it’s it’s a problem in their relationship. It’s it’s clearly a character flaw that he has. And so it’s you know, it adds some depth to his character.

Todd: At least, it gives some depth to his character that keeps him from being this cardboard cutout. And sure enough, when Ben kicks in the door anyway and comes in, Man, does he give a look to Harry, but he’s way more

Craig: Gives him a look. He beats the shit

Todd: out of him. He eventually does. But but

Todd: what I’m saying is, like, You know, I I he could have just had Harry, like, lock himself in the in the seller completely, but you see that little bit of guilt there. Right? The guilt.

Craig: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah.

Todd: And you’re right. He beats the crap out of him, and you were so happy that he does it too. You’re like, that’s right, man. Within an inch of his life.

Craig: But at the same time, I’m thinking you probably have better things to do.

Todd: He he ends up shooting him. Yeah. And This is another really shocking thing of this movie is that our hero, Ben, at some point realizes that Some of these people are goners, and it’s better for him to just hasten their end, than it is for him to try to save them. He’s decided Harry is no good and so he just shoots him with the rifle.

Craig: It’s because as he’s boarding up the doors, he drops the gun. And Harry takes it and is pointing it at him and is saying, I’m going down here with my family, screw you. And eventually Ben fights him and gets the gun back and just shoots him. And that is shocking because you don’t expect That kind of behavior from a hero, but realistically, in the heat of the moment, that was probably the right thing to do. Like, this guy, This guy does not have your interest in mind at all. If you’re interested in surviving, you got to look out for yourself.

Todd: I would call it, like, a real walking dead moment. It’s like where there are no good options, and so people end up doing something that is gonna be morally repugnant anyway, but at least it’s it’s The one that’s gonna save their skin. Right. Even still, even after being threatened, even after fighting him off, you don’t often see in a movie where the hero finally gets the gun And then just shoots the guy. Right.

Craig: Right.

Todd: And this leads up to the scenes because while they’re fighting, Barbara is be being besieged by zombies, and they’re reaching through the door. And there are just 3 moments from this movie just in quick succession that all happened at the end that just devastated me as a kid. Yeah. The first of them is the fact that Barbara gets pulled out by her own brother. Yep. He’s the dead guy who is responsible for pulling her out into the waiting zombies. It’s like, oh my gosh. Like, I’d even forgotten about this guy from the beginning, And she was so concerned about her brother.

Todd: And at one point early in the movie, she’s insisting he’s out there. He’s alive. We have to go get him. And there he is dead pulling her in, responsible for her demise. As a kid, that just crushed me.

Craig: It’s so shocking because this is the character that you’ve been with from the beginning, and you don’t Expect her to die. You know, it’s kind of the Marian Crane and Psycho thing. Like, she’s the main character, or at least From the beginning she’s the main character, and so you expect her to make it, and then to see her go, and yes, in such a tragic way to be pulled in, By the Brother, like you said, that she was so concerned about, it is shocking, and I’m not surprised that audiences were shocked by a lot of the things that happened in this movie.

Todd: Well, then, you know, it’s all kind of chaos. Ben isn’t there to help her. Harry stumbles downstairs with his fatal gunshot wound and just reaches out. It’s it’s Really sad, actually. His daughter is still laid out downstairs, knocked out from, you know, what we had learned a little earlier was an actual zombie bite Yeah. Dying, and he just reaches towards her as he falls down to the ground. The mother, How was she she made it up I guess she was upstairs at some point, or she came back down?

Craig: Yeah. She she had no. She had been up there, and she had been trying to keep the zombies out. It was actually, Barbara came out of her catatonic state to kinda try to help That’s right. The mom. But then when Barbara got taken. I feel like the mom ran to the basement and ran downstairs. And this was another thing that Absolutely shocked and appalled audiences and critics was that the daughter becomes Karen becomes, a zombie.

Craig: And when the mother, Helen, comes down, she sees Karen eating Harry, the dad. But it’s, you know, it’s a really interesting scene because while I’m sure she’s horrified, at the same time, This is her daughter, and she’s saying, Oh my baby, she doesn’t retaliate immediately, she doesn’t try to fight and there’s really kind of a graphic scene where The mom, kind of falls back and is is on the ground, and the and Karen gets, like, a a gardening trowel and just Stabs and stabs and stabs her, and you see the blood shooting all over the wall. And, Like, it goes on for a while. It’s it’s pretty gross and intense, and people were shocked and appalled by this child killing their mother.

Todd: When you break this down, it is it’s really upsetting. I mean, First of all, it is the most graphic scene by far in this entire movie. And even by today’s standards, it’s it’s a very graphic scene. Of course, the fact that the daughter is killing her mother. To me, especially as a child, you know, I was I was pretty brutalized by

Todd: this point by the story.

Clip: Sure.

Todd: You know, it just it just brings all these just sick feelings up from your stomach. But the fact that She’s not she didn’t descend on her and start biting into her neck. She looked at the wall, grabbed a gardening trowel and decided to stab her.

Craig: Mhmm.

Todd: Again, this is the way that Romero zombies are are working a little differently, You know, than what we think of automatically when we think of zombies. The one earlier can break up a brick. You know, they can overturn cars. They can knockout. Break

Craig: out your headlights.

Todd: Yeah. Exactly. But and she chooses to pick a gardening trowel up off of the wall and to stab her mother with. And doesn’t even eat her. You know? No. By the time, Ben retreats to the basement, it’s the only place he has left to go to. He boards up the door, comes down. He sees this terrible scene, and he ends up shooting the girl.

Todd: Yeah. So bold. And she

Craig: and shoots them all. Has to shoot them all because they are now zombies. And then this, you know, this is the end. He’s, The zombies have gotten in the house. He has boarded himself up in the cellar. And, you know, what’s gonna happen now? Well, Apparently, as we’ve seen on the news, in the last broadcast that we saw, we saw that law enforcement and the government and the army and all the Special forces have figured out that they’re real these things are really not hard to kill. You just gotta get them in the head. And so once they’ve done that, they’ve put together all of these posses and forces to go out and take them out, and it’s it’s being successful.

Craig: And so the very last scene is we see that this group, It looks like a local group, like, maybe led by some kinda local sheriff. Right.

Todd: And the militia that he could the the militia,

Craig: the militia of good old boys. Right, exactly. That they’ve pulled together and they’re just going out and they’re shooting these zombies in the head And they’ve made their way to the farmhouse and you see them just taking out the zombies left and right. Just, you know, just very Easily and casually shooting them in the head and taking them down. And then you see Ben in the basement, and, he hears this. It’s muffled because he’s down there, so it takes him a while to understand what’s going on. But eventually he hears it, and he goes upstairs, And he’s just, you know, he’s got his gun because he’s, of course, frightened, and he’s kinda looking out the window, and The sheriff just says, Oh, there’s another one. Take him out.

Craig: And the guy just shoots him in the head, and that’s it. Like, What a crazy shocking ending. And then they do this really cool thing as the credits roll where They show images of what’s happening but it’s like it’s really old school crime scene photos, like really gritty black and white crime scene photos. And you see that Ben’s body gets thrown onto a huge heap of bodies right next to the fur, very first zombie that we saw from the graveyard. And then they just get incinerated. I mean, it’s so bleak. This guy had been so resourceful and so strong in the face of this terrible event. And then just to see him so casually taken out with no remorse, with an oops, You know, with no, oh, darn it.

Craig: We got the wrong guy. Nope. They just thought they shot another zombie, and he just got burned with the rest of them. Man.

Todd: By the good old I mean,

Craig: Yeah. Even the good old white boys, I’m sure that didn’t, you know, that didn’t go unnoticed. I am sure.

Todd: Yeah. Plus the I thought those photos are very reminiscent of the, you know, photos of lynchings and things.

Craig: Yes. Very reminiscent.

Todd: The burning. Oh my gosh. Like, I’m sorry. But that’s where I look at it, and I go, there’s no way Romero didn’t know what he was doing here.

Craig: I know.

Todd: I feel the same way.

Craig: But it’s, it’s wild. I mean, yeah, it’s such a bleak and dreary ending, but oh man, I mean it really, It’s impactful. I mean, you feel it. It’s a gut punch at the end that that happens. And and we’ve already talked for way too long, So I’ll try to be brief in this, but seriously, we could list a bazillion movies that were clearly Directly inspired by this. You know, Romero himself directed 5 more of the Dead movies after this. Dawn of the Dead, Extinction of the dead, land of the dead, a millionth, a bazillion. Yeah.

Craig: And then because It’s not copyrighted. It’s been remade a bazillion times. It’s been remade. It’s been animated. It’s been done in comic book form. It’s been done on stage. It’s been done everywhere. It’s been done in different countries.

Craig: It’s been translated into, like, more than 25 different languages. Even movies that, you know, are not specifically about zombies like, The Evil Dead, Cabin in the woods, where you get these people put into remote places with this threat coming from the outside. Just really virtually probably about 50 to 75% of our modern horror has in some way being influenced by this movie. It’s so influential, and it’s so, I just, you know, if you’re listening to this and you haven’t Seen it. You have to watch it. Like, it’s a rule. Like It’s a requirement.

Todd: You don’t listen to this podcast any further. We will ban you.

Craig: You are required to watch this movie. I mean, it just laid the foundation for so many of the things that I love and treasure, and I can’t begin to express What respect I have for this man that we lost. He was an old man, and he had a very long, prolific, successful career. You know, Prolific, successful career. You know, he preferred to stay, more In the indie realm, his 1st studio movie, big studio movie, was a movie called Monkey Shines, which I remember from my childhood, and I remember really, really liking. In fact, I’d like for us to watch that at some point. But he did not have a good thing. And so he, he did, you know, he kind of went back.

Craig: And he did big budget movies beyond that because he was able to because of the respect that he deserved. But, just an artist, I I can’t imagine leaving that kind of legacy.

Todd: I, for 1, I feel really fortunate to have grown up kind of at that crossroads where I did. You know, like I said, this movie, I saw it as child, and so I didn’t get to see a lot of the movies that inspired it until after I saw this one. So in the many ways, I I was It’s I was really lucky seeing it as a child as weird as that sounds. But, you know, like, we talk about all these scenes and about how influential it is. It’s just hard probably for a person nowadays to put themselves in that same place where they hadn’t seen any of this before

Clip: Right.

Todd: Just to know how impactful it could be. However, if you wanna get a little bit of a contemporaneous, a contemporaneous account of This movie, go online and go to Roger Ebert’s site. Another guy, may he rest in peace, one of my favorite, film critics in the whole world, always, Almost always agree with everything he says. He has a review where he went to see Night of the Living Dead when it came out with an audience full of mostly kids and teenagers, And most of his observations are about how the audience reacts to the movie. And it’s really interesting to read because it perfectly mirrored how I, as a kid, reacted to the movie. So you should check that out as well. It’s really good. I agree with you.

Todd: I really like, Almost everything that Romero’s done, it’s not all perfect, but it all has heart. And you can tell this guy as we said before, when we reviewed Martin, he’s a real artist. He really is. And it was probably better for him to work mostly independently as long as he could make it work financially, and he had his tough times. But I think he He seemed to be pretty happy with where he ended up. We’ve gotten a good stable of really good, clever horror films. A man who, in many ways, elevated the whole genre. Absolute.

Todd: He gave it something to say. He showed that horror films could function, could be mainstream movies, and and could be smart, you know, and could be well made.

Clip: Yeah.

Craig: And have something to say. Yeah.

Todd: Yeah. And and they really rose above a lot of the junk, the opportunistic, exploitative junk at the time. You can have an exploitation movie, but you can also have good exploitation movies, and his here certainly were.

Craig: Oh, Absolutely. And before we sign out, I just wanna say that it’s it’s really been a sad couple of weeks. We also lost Martin Landau, Who was an amazing actor, not well known for, you know, horror by any means, but a couple days ago, we also lost John Heard, who everybody loves him from Home Alone, but, he was also in Chud, and and Sharknado. So, you know, he he did his his time in the horror industry too. You know, it’s it’s sad to lose these people that we’ve known for so long and that we’ve grown up with, but they leave behind something, of a legacy, and and and it’s nice to be able to remember them in that way. So George Romero and, Martin Landau and John Heard, we’re still celebrating you, wherever you may be. Thank you for everything that, you’ve given us.

Todd: And don’t come back and Yes.

Todd: Exactly. Well, thank you

Todd: for listening to another episode. If you enjoyed it, please share it with a friend. You can find us on Itunes, Google Play, or Stitcher, anywhere that your favorite podcasts are presented. You can also find us on Facebook Where we have a page there, you can like us there, share us there also, and join the conversation. Tell us what you think of this movie, and suggest movies you’d like us to do in the future. Until that time, I’m Todd, and I’m Craig with 2 Guys and a Chainsaw.

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