Night of the Living Dead sets off with brother and sister, Johnny and Barbara, driving to a cemetery, which is a classic horror film setting, to visit their father’s grave. Once there, a man is slowly progressing towards them, and tries attacking Barbara. Begging for her brother’s help, Barbara seems helpless, only to have Johnny come running to the rescue, being the hero. Johnny’s efforts to save his sister all seem pointless though, because the zombie pushes Johnny into a gravestone, where his head smacks against it, killing him instantly. Barbara flees from the scene and eventually finds an abandoned farmhouse, so she seeks comfort in there from the crazed man outside. She seems to be alone and out of options until finally Ben (Duane Jones), an African American man, finds his way to the farmhouse, after his truck ran out of gas. From this moment, Ben becomes the reluctant leader, who is only worried about surviving. Barbara becomes helpless throughout the rest of the movie, so now Ben feels he has to not only l...
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...he lead role.
While the directing cast did not realize at the time how influential their low-budget horror film would be, it still has effects today. The zombie is still portrayed how Romero set it up, the so called mix between zombie, werewolf, and vampire. Although the racial issues and gender stereotypes seem to be subliminal, once analyzed, they are still relevant today. There will always be a racial issue in the world which is not where we should be. There will always be the ones that think they know best, like Harry Cooper in the movie. There will also always be the helpless woman that is portrayed by Barbara. Women have progressed so much since this film’s debut. Although there are still gender stereotypes today, they are not as big as they once were at the time of this film. Although this film sparked plenty of emotion, it was very influential for its time.
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