This, in my opinion, is the scariest film ever made. Apart from the fact that this version is my clear preference, the fact that I have stopped it 20 minutes in to 'start writing my review', should demonstrate just how bloody scary it is. A cat meowed outside and I almost called the police......I think you get just how freaked out I am right now.
So....you get the measure of the film from the very beginning, the music says it all. I'm a quivering mess under my blanket during the opening credits......I make that:
George A.Romero : 1, Me : 0
A car drives through the peaceful looking, deserted countryside and pulls up at a cemetery. The radio is switched off during a very important announcement....
Brother and sister, John and Barbara get out to put a decorative cross on the grave of a relative, while Barbara kneels down to pray, John reminds her of how he used to tease her at this cemetery when they were children. As a sunken eyed man approaches, John recites the ultimate line ever spoken in a zombie film.....
"They're coming for you Barbara; look, there comes one of them now"
A fight ensues between silly John and Zombie 1 and John is slammed into a nearby grave stone leaving Barbara to fend for herself.
Barbara runs.....and falls over.....but as this was made in 1968, I think we can say that this fall started the cliche - I'm sure someone will correct me...
With Z1 in tow, Barbara tries to drive off but is so distracted, she ploughs into a tree. After climbing out and dithering, she runs to a nearby farmhouse with Z1 behind her.....the music is scorching.
There are 4 things that are keeping me watching this right now :
1 : It's my favourite horror film ever
2 : It's George A.Romero for crying out loud
3 : I love zombies
4 : I'm looking down to write notes
More zombies surround the farmhouse, just when Barbara finds a sticky skeleton on the stairs she is shocked by the arrival of super rational Ben who tells her to help board up then doors and windows. There are 3 outside but Ben says he can take them; while he's outside, one advances on Barbara who is hyperventilating in a chair, Super Ben kills him and throws him out to the zombies who have gathered out front.
I much prefer the slower zombies, I went camping one weekend with friends on a farm near Telford, I walked in the dark to the toilet one night and couldn't help but think how much the hill looked like the hill that all the zombies run over in 28 Weeks Later, needless to say I held it in or woke someone up to come with me after that.....
Barbara is increasingly hysterical and ‘passes out’ shall we say! Ben boards up the house as the radio plays with reports of murders throughout the country.
When Barbara comes to, Ben has found a shotgun and goes up stairs to look around (and to move sticky face into a room) as he does so, two men appear from the basement revealing that there are more survivors downstairs. As arguments break out between the group over the safest place to be, reports stream in about radiation from Venus being the possible cause of the reanimated corpses of the recently deceased. After hearing of the local ‘rescue station’ Ben decides that an escape attempt is the best option but……wouldn’t you know it……his truck needs petrol.
As Ben and Tom and Judy (from the basement) attempt to get some more petrol, they accidentally spill some over the truck which goes up in flames with poor old Tom and Judy inside.
Oh my goodness, this bit is gross. Ben watches as the dead feast on the steaming, charred remains of his helpers. Even though this is in black and white….and I know those guts are sausages and whatnot…..it’s still gory as anything……I love it though!
George A.Romero : 2, Me : 0
As Ben runs back to the house, he realises he has been locked out, bit drastic if you ask me. He’s pretty irritated by this and kicks the door in. When darkness falls, the zombies decide that enough is enough, they start attacking the house……ooooh, zombies attacking the house is a creepy scary thing, I’m going to check that all our doors and windows are locked….
George A.Romero : 3, Me : 0
As a series of pretty unfortunate events unfold in the house – shootings, trowelling, zombies in the cellar; the zombie horde crowds into the house and Barbara sees her brother amongst them (I’d forgotten about that bit!) and Barbara, being overwhelmed and all Barbara-y doesn’t do much to help herself and gets carried off. Kind of a relief actually, there’s only so much Barbara I can take…
Ben, realising there is no way to stop them getting him, retreats to the cellar, shooting dead the two of the group who are all zombiefied down there. I’m not sure if I’d willingly go down there knowing there were two zombies in there, I guess he is Super Ben though; I’d like him around if ever this happens!
In the morning, a group of men come looking for survivors, as Ben comes out of the cellar, they mistake him for a zombie, shooting him dead.
Poor Ben, that’s a kick in the teeth….
I’ve had to stop this over and over again in order to calm down; it really is the scariest film ever. I think that as I’m now too scared to go to the toilet in my own house, I should add a few more for George A.Romero as part of the final score!
So to finish, George A.Romero : 100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000, Me : 0
I just hope that there isn’t some kind of zombie apocalypse going on right now, I totally have a zombie escape plan but I don’t think I’m in the right frame of mind to be able to carry it out tonight!
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Follow @GenLER1983 on Twitter
Image courtesy of scaryforkids.com