In a tribute to utter pointlessness I present yet another review of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. I’ll get all those predictable words like seminal, legendary, and landmark out of the way now. No review of this film would be the same without them. Unfortunately I don’t believe that Romero’s film is seminal, legendary or a landmark, but that is probably besides the point. Three other adjectives do spring to mind though - amateurish, crude, and rudimentary. I’m not one to herd the sacred cows of the horror genre into the slaughterhouse just for the sake of it, but neither am I party to the sort of unthinking and mindless worship of a film on the say so of a bunch of ex hippy critics and academics who were around at the time of the films release. Histories are written retrospectively and its rarely mentioned for example that Night of the Living Dead was not a major success when it was first released. Instead the film languished for three or four years before it became a success on the Midnite Movie circuit. One version of history will have you believe that Romero’s film distilled all the anxieties of the day and was a white hot rebuke to mainstream American culture up there with Easy Rider (1969). The fact is all these qualities were drawn out of the film retrospectively. Therefore the much lauded allegorical dimension of the film was only appreciated when the time had passed. However Romero did have an effective metaphor for consumerism in his depiction of a zombie horde stripped of the mystique of voodoo.
© Shaun Anderson - 2010