U.S., 1968, 96 min, DCP, Dir. George Romero, Not Rated, Wildwood Releases
"A must-see for film fans." - Wendy Ide, Times (UK)
"Beyond discussions of social commentary and cultural reflectivity, the timelessness of its allegories, and the stark suggestions made by the visual presentation, Night of the Living Dead is great entertainment." - Brian Eggert, Deep Focus Review
Cinematic zombies began as mindless shamblers who lost control of their agency, sparked by fears of “Black Magic” left over from the Haitian Revolution. Older films like White Zombie (1932) and King of the Zombies (1941) followed this model–and then came George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968). Romero’s “ghouls,” as he called them, are not the zombies of old–they move slowly, but they use weapons, congregate in swarms, and eat human flesh.
This film also showcases a Black man as the central protagonist, actor Duane Jones (who also starred in Ganja and Hess). By all accounts, this “colorblind casting” was only due to Jones’s talent as an actor, but the addition to race in a story about the downfall of society that appeared in the late 1960s was the perfect horror metaphor for rising fears during the civil rights, Vietnam and Black Power eras in the U.S. And it’s still as transgressive as ever. –Tananarive Due
This film screens as part of In Exhibition With: Tananarive Due
TANANARIVE DUE (tah-nah-nah-REEVE doo) is an award-winning author who teaches Black Horror and Afrofuturism at UCLA. She is an executive producer on Shudder's groundbreaking documentary Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror. She and her husband/collaborator Steven Barnes wrote "A Small Town" for Season 2 of Jordan Peele's "The Twilight Zone" (Paramount+) and two episodes of Shudder's Horror Noire anthology film. A leading voice in black speculative fiction for more than 20 years, Due has won an American Book Award, an NAACP Image Award, and a British Fantasy Award, and her writing has been included in best-of-the-year anthologies. Her books include Ghost Summer: Stories, My Soul to Keep, and The Good House. She and her late mother, civil rights activist Patricia Stephens Due, co-authored Freedom in the Family: a Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights. She is married to author Steven Barnes, with whom she collaborates on screenplays. They live with their son, Jason, and two cats.
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