Night of the Living Dead
Night of the Living Dead is a 1968 American horror film, written and directed by George A. Romero. It was filmed in Pennsylvania on a very low budget of $100,000. It entered the public domain immediately upon its initial release because, in a post-production editing mistake, its original distributor the Walter Reade Organization forgot to include a copyright notice on prints of the film. Due to its public domain status, many video and DVD releases are currently available. It was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 1999.
Though the black-and-white film was made cheaply, it is widely regarded as one of the best horror films. It is also the start of the Living Dead series of zombie films.
A young couple, Johnny and Barbara, go to a cemetery to bring flowers to Barb's dead father's grave. After that, Johnny starts teasing Barb about dead rising from their graves, coming to get her. Then, Johnny points to a man lumbering around some grave stones, claiming that he is one of those "living dead." This becomes true, as the zombie suddenly kills Johnny, and the frightened Barb then gets away from the zombie in her car.
Barb then takes refuge in a secluded barnhouse, where she meets Ben, a resourceful drifter who advises that the cannibalistic zombies can only be killed by being shot in the head or bludgeoned on the head. Ben and Barbara watch emergency broadcasts about the zombie outbreak, and find a man and his wife hiding in the basement with their daughter who has been bitten by a zombie and is very sick, and a young couple. Ben does whatever he can to keep the zombies away, while the remaining people are panicked. However, the young girl soon becomes a zombie herself, and eats her parents. Ben then kills the zombie girl, and locks himself in the basement, because some zombies have broken into the house and have taken Barb.
Ben spends the whole night in the house, and wakes up to find that all the zombies are gone. He looks outside, and sees a posse of civilians and police officers who have been responsible for the zombie killings. Ben, being mistaken for a zombie, is shot in the head, and the ending credits play over a montage of his body being dragged out of the house and burned on a pyre with other zombie bodies.
A color sequel, Dawn of the Dead, also directed by Romero, was released in 1978. This was followed by Day of the Dead, and later by remakes of the first two films. However the Return of the Living Dead, released in 1985, and its sequels are not the work of George Romero, and he unsuccessfully sued the makers of this series for copyright infringement.