When I was in school, a couple of my friends were into filmmaking and old school horror, and hence introduced me to the name George A. Romero – the ‘father’ of zombie movies. Sadly, he passed away only recently but he has a huge fan base, and for good reason; he created the idea of zombies we see in movies and tv series today and stood out as the guy who liked to show a lot of gore and blood.
‘The Dead’ series consists of six loosely connected movies about a zombie outbreak, each one focusing on different groups trying to survive, the first two being the only ones to make the list.
Night of the Living Dead ranks highest and is the first in the series, shot in black and white in 1968. This was my favourite of the two, it was very simple and yet it still draws you in. It follows a group of people trapped in a house as they struggle with what to do next, stay or run. There’s your usual damsel in distress, tough guy, hero type and a couple in love and things start getting pretty messy. It was one of the first movies in its time to be so graphical with murder and cannibalism and interestingly enough, the main character is African-American (not something you’d generally see in the 60’s), add that to the Quentin-Tarantino-like feel and you have me hooked!
Dawn of the Dead is the second in the series and, unfortunately for me, the only available version to watch was ‘extra long’, I really didn’t need to watch an extra hours worth of footage. It’s still a great movie, they really took it up a notch with the violence and you get to see some serious zombie flesh-eating in this one (I think they must have been excited about colour tv) but the extension was basically just drawing out the boring stuff like when they go shopping in the mall they’re locked up in for supplies.
I enjoyed my trip back to horror in the 60’s and 70’s – I hope you do to!