What is argued by many the most terrifying horror film ever made, occasionally dubbed the greatest film of all time by critics and a personal favorite of mine becomes an utter joke, courtesy of Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett of Mystery Science Theater 3000, working under the RiffTrax banner. The gags are timid and not nearly funny enough to hold interest, most of them being misfires with the occasional semi-laugh that rises out of the blue.
A group of strangers trapped in a farm house must fight flesh-eating zombies in hope that a rescue team will find them. Theory is that a satellite returning from Venus was contaminated with radiation that could have the capacity to mutate human beings into zombies. Anyone who dies during this crisis will return as a zombie, including those who get bitten by one.
Largely overacted when reciting dialog and curiously bewildered when silent, Judith O'Dea is lost in her role as Barbra. But this lackluster actress isn't enough to undo the scares that true horror master George A. Romero accomplishes in his directorial debut.
If you listen very carefully, the dialog creates not only an interesting film but also one that stands on its own as to what occurs during misguided fear. Rather than resorting to non-stop gore and jack-in-the-box scares, most of it relies on the viewer’s imagination and ability to picture the occurrences being explained.
Equally combining ambiance with gore, Night of the Living Dead is a groundbreaking horror film. It’s one of those rare films where you can actually feel the fear coating your inner thoughts, rather than being forced down your throat.
Although his latest work hasn’t been the best, George A. Romero has created a film that will be praised for years to come and deserves every blood-drenched bow as a courtesy from horror fans. If you haven’t seen Romero’s directorial debut Night of the Living Dead, you haven’t seen classic horror in its top form.