Today in 1968, George Romero debuted his little black and white film about the ghouls. (His term.) This film, in which survivors take refuge in a tiny abandoned farmhouse against the dead who have risen to eat the living... was shot on location in and around his hometown of Pittsburgh. My dad's cousin is the one who eats a bug, just an FYI.
Now, Romero just liked making movies and stories, and intended zero politics.
Yet, it became twot hings
1. The standard for zombie horror for the rest of time
2. an incredibly powerful statement
See, the lead actor who played Ben, the smart-thinking resourceful guy who keeps his head?Was chosen because he did the best audition. Romero wasn't thinking about much else.
Duane Jones, aforesaid actor, was black.
The rest of the cast was white.
At the end of the zombie terror, Ben survives, and sees a posse coming, shooting leftover zombies.
He opens the door, expecting rescue.
he is shot dead in the head.
Romero then shows a meathook being used to drag Ben to the pile of bodies to be burned. The image ROmero intended was the Death of Logic and Reason, and probably how godda*n stupid rural folks could be (since this was filmed near my paternal family's ancestral stomping grounds, I can't argue).
What happened aws that it aird in 1968.... after the assassinations of Robert F Kennedy and Martin Lutehr King Junior.
So the film is a fizzle, right? Pfft. George Romero goes back to directing local commercials. Whatevs.
Then it hits a theater in NYC...
And becomes a huge hit.
All the pent-up grief and rage over Jim Crow, etc. etc., and MLKJr., etc... this film got a standing ovation and was in huge demand.
To this day, it remains 1. a classic of horror and 2. a classic of (unintentional) sociopolitical statements. and 3. the place we got the origin of the modern horror "zombie", though Romero used the word "ghoul".
The bittersweetness of the ending ----- is what makes the horror of the film so vivid. Ben survives the worst nightmare imaginable, only to be killed and dragged like a nothing. it is the death of *humane humanity*.
All that from my husband, who met Romero and talked to him, and from my family lore (only in my family are we proud to state "Yep, my dad's cousin ate the bug in that movie!"), and from popular sources.
The film that became something he never intended ----- A salute to George Romero today as we enter "Halloween month" at my house.
FYI, it's also probably the least gory zombie film of all time. Also means if you hear the words "They're coming to get you Barbra!" you should probably run.
HiI jsut wanted to say HAPPY SUNDAY and I hope everyone is doing well. Thinking about you. Whatever is going on. Wherever you are.Happy or sad Please remember thatYou aren't aloneWe are here Fighting back!!!Living!!!Propeling onward with youYes, you!!!
I don’t know where else to find help. Or even someone who understands.I’ve been through therapy for years. I’ve seen a lot of progress with that but everyday I still carry this burden in my mind. I feel like I have a whole mountain to climb before my day even begins. And some days are so stressful for me mentally that I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, hoping I meet the...