Saturday, November 15, 2008

"Night of the Living Dead", 1968, dir. George A. Romero, starring Duane Jones

Ratings: (0-5 Severed Legs)

Overall- 4
It's hard to not give George Romero 5 stars, but he didn't have enough zombies, something he learned much better in his later attempts. There were too many scenes of hammering boards to windows or arguing about the basement. My basic feeling at the end of the movie was one of content. People were eaten for being stupid, humans turned on each other, all is well.

Plot- 4.5
Zombie outbreak due to an unkown virus, strictly affecting the brain, zombies eating flesh, the government getting involved, good shit. Using the farmhouse as the focal point was good to show localized terror, but I think it would have been better if the people in the basement weren't a bunch of retards.

Acting- 2.0
The only reason this got above a 0.5 were a few zombies that were realistic (going straight for the grab-n-bite, rather than choking and throwing judo chops. I could give a shit about the human actors, we are going for realism in the zombies, I expect nothing less (or nothing greater) than Gary Busey acting from the human actors. The zombies, well, they have to earn their pay.

Gore- 3.0
For its time, there was some good gore. I recognize that this movie was groundbreaking for the 60's. There were quite a few scenes of zombies eating the shit our of some human flesh. It actually looked like a bucket of chicken from Zippy's, and to tell you the truth, I got hungry. However, the little girl stabbed the mom in the face and then ate the dad. That is good shit. People getting blown up and burned and then eaten, also good shit. Zombies aren't pretty, and they didn't crack open any skulls for brains, which is a must for any zombie movie. Major point deduction, I stand by 3 severed legs.

Boobs- 1.0
There was a nice ass shot and partial cleavage. I could be nice and say that this is acceptable considering the time period, however, I expect more.

A beautiful drive into the country, to pay respects to a dead relative, ends terribly for the young couple (or brother and sister, not sure). Even though it is apparent that their visit is only for paying respects, the dialogue alludes to growing up and playing in the cemetary as kids. This is shown by the dude mocking the girl by pretending he is a zombie and chasing her around, which was pretty funny especially when he got his dick stomped in by the first zombie. The girl flees to a nearby farmhouse, after falling multiple times. After finding solace in her refuge (and a dead body with the face eaten off, nice!), Barack Obama shows up to save the day. He spends a majority of the movie nailing boards to the window, setting chairs on fire, dick-stomping zombie's heads with a tire iron (smart choice of weapon), and set the example of the worst shot with a rifle in the history of zombie movies. Eventually a family creeps out of the basement from hiding. I figured something was down there, from the multiple camera shots focusing on the door and the door handle. Unfortunately, it wasn't a zombie, just some putz, his family, and I think the young couple was their sex slaves, neighbors, but either case the young kid was annoying and I'm glad he and his girlfriend were blown up and then eaten. After the blond retard woman freaks out for most of the movie and is completely worthless, she is eaten by her brother, which made me happy. The zombies didn't play a large role until they figured out how to break into the house, this might have been a "strength in numbers" scenario. It was a shame that BO was killed at the end, he could have been a good zombie hunter because he pretty much wrecked shit through the whole movie.

Character Flaws:
Ben (the black guy)- He died because he couldn't comprehend that zombies don't speak through megaphones, shoot guns, or fly helicopters. He should have come out of the basement at least saying something, rather than being all sketched out. In the end, he was killed because he was black, fucking racist zombie hunters.

Retarded Blond (Barbra)- She sucked the whole movie, I was surprised she lasted so long. The kitchen knife would have done nothing if she was attacked. She had long hair (easy to grab) and wore a jacket, which was smart to slip out of if grabbed by zombies, however, she wasn't that smart.

Young Couple (Tom and Judy)- The guy was slobbing Mr. Cooper's knob, who was retarded and holed everyone up in the basement with no exit. Luckily, he sided with Ben and planned their escape. Unfortunately, he was burned alive with his girlfriend. I expected his death, and ensuing consumption by the zombies. He was too dependent on others, in the event of an emergency, he would have shit himself or thrown his girlfriend to the zombie.

The Coopers- I give props to the Mrs., she realized that her husband was an idiot for being in the basement, however, didn't do anything about it. Both were stupid enough to think that their daughter would be fine, as soon as the radio announcement came in about the zombie infections, they should have destroyed the brain. The mom ran from the zombie girl into the corner of the basement and then got stabbed (unrealistic, zombies just bit and claw) in the face. Mr. Cooper got shot, good riddens. I kind of like kid zombies, but what kind of parents let their kid get bit in the first place. Also, what kind of kid lets themselves get close to a zombie? That gene pool was better off erased.

Zombie defense moves:

Tire Iron- Formidable weapon, but too much energy expended on one zombie. Good for quick reaction, last resort weapon, but a claw hammer, lead pipe, or ax/hatchet would have done the trick. Blunt trauma just doesn't kill the brain as quickly and efficiently.

Knife- Worthless weapon. Most likely, you'd cut yourself and get infected by the virus.

Rifle- This is a good weapon, if proper training and accurate aim are factored in. If not, it just provides slowing power. This is better for large groups of people taking out zombies at far distances. Close distance, hand-to-hand, you need either a semi-auto pistol with a shitton of clips and ammo, or axes, claw hammers, samurai swords, etc.

Boards to windows- Good to slow zombies, however, too time consuming and energy expending. it would have saved more time to take out the staircase and hide upstairs. If there were more people helping, this would have been better and saved some time to shore up other defenses.

Truck- Good if you actually hit the fucking zombies, not steer around or get blown up in the process.

Personal comments:
This movie was a suitable start, figuring the zombie movie god, George Romero, filmed this. It really did set a precedence for approaching the subject of a zombie invasion. The zombies weren't 100% realistic because they don't run, they don't punch and choke, they just want to eat the brain and flesh. I'm not sure why the zombies weren't around in mass quantities in the morning, when the zombie posse came. Usually, they would stay at one place just to get a morsel of tasty flesh. In reality, I believe they would have broken into the basement. Or, hundreds or thousands would be around in the morning. I did see one zombie that looked like 3-Button, which made me happy.


Zombie Ree said...

Excellent synopsis. I think it's important to take away lessons from this film. We've already identified that taking out the stairs and holing up on the second floor may be a good idea, as zombies are very poor climbers. Here are some of my takeaways from the film.

- Women can't drive.
Barbara sits in the car and lets the zombie smack the window with a rock until it breaks. Only then does she pop the emergency brake and try to get away. And then she drives the thing right into a tree. Useless.

- Don't be afraid to bring out the pimp hand.
When the blonde gets hysterical and tries to break out of the house, Barrack Obama punches her out. This allows him to continue shoring up defenses unencumbered. He also punches out Mr. Cooper, and later shoots him.

- No fire unless it's really necessary.
Barrack Obama builds some fires, and they seems to drive the zombies away...temporarily. It may keep them from your door for a few moments, but in the end, they're still there. I think fire would also attract zombies from farther away, bolstering their numbers at your position. Molotov cocktails can work to burn the ghouls, but I think this should be a last ditch move. Something to do when you're already getting overrun.

- Head shots, head shots, head shots!
You'll waste valuable time and ammunition if you try to shoot the zombies anywhere but the head.

- Decapitate your dead immediately.
You don't want to risk one of your dead reanimating and then decimating your group from the inside. Once your comrades go, their heads do too.

- Don't stay in a vehicle that has caught on fire.
This should be self-explanatory.

Bud the CHUD said...

I love you, Pig. Excellent work and this is obviously a great one to start with and serve as the control movie.

That being said, there is no way this doesn't get 5 Severed Legs Overall. This is it. The best zombie movie ever made. Without this movie, we would not have been blessed with Return of the Living Dead 5: Rave to the Grave. Granted it's low budget, the acting is often sub-par, and the plot has some issues, but this was a ground breaking movie for 1968. And we must keep in mind that the world had not yet been introduced to the genius of Max Brooks. In fact, he would not be born for another four years. So while we're all intimately familiar with the basic tenets of zombie defense, Ben and company did not have the same information.

Therefore, I would definitely give 5/5 Overall.

Plot: 4.5

Acting: 2.0

Gore: 4.5 It's difficult in black and white, but I thought it was excellent. I especially like the sound effects of the zombies slurping up the Cooper barbeque. Fantastic. That's probably most of the same sounds you'd hear when I used to devour two or three pastrami sandwiches from the ABC store in the back seat of my car after a night out at the Red Lion.

Boobs: I think you're generous with the 1.0, even for the time period. As far as I'm concerned, the least the zombies could have done was rip Judy's clothes off. Even after the explosion.

Best lines:
"They're coming for you, Barbara."
"Poor baby, poor baby."