Dimensions of Night of the Living Dead Essay

Dimensions of Night of the Living Dead Essay

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First released in October 1968 and shot for an underwhelming $114,000, Night of the Living Dead was created by a team of movie business outsiders from Pittsburgh (IMDb.com). The Image Ten, as they were later known, led by George Romero, created a horror film unlike any that had come before. Although the horror film had been around for nearly as long as the cinema, Night of the Living Dead was revolutionary in its production, its subtext as understood in historical reference, and its lasting effects on the horror genre. The British Film Institute’s Benjamin Hervey provides an analysis of the film as understood by critical audiences of the day.
Although it may been seen partly as a historical accident forced by budgetary constraints, part of the mystique of the film is in how different it was to the horror audience of the day. Romero and the Image Ten team, working with black-and-white in a day in which most mainstream films were released in color, were able to use the black-and-white film to lend a certain documentary feel that evoked feelings of newsreels of the day, which were still shot in black-and-white (Hervey 26). This certain credibility evoked is one that is likely lost on contemporary audiences that grew up in a time in which the news and documentaries are delivered in color, but modern audiences should see parallels in the way The Blair Witch Project co-opted the use of VHS cameras to produce a low-cost horror film with a realistic feel to it.
In another budgetary adaptation, the film crew, lacking the funds for cranes and dollies to do moving and panning shots, quickly switched between multiple shots for dynamic dialog, giving a certain frenzied feel to the dialog interactions (Hervey 38). The style this lends to th...

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...a film that was revolutionary in its production, its subtext as understood in historical reference, and its lasting effects on the horror genre.

Works Cited

The Blair Witch Project. Dir. Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez. Perf. Heather Donahue, Mike Williams, and Josh Leonard. Haxan Films, 1999. Film.
"George A. Romero." IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2014.
Hervey, Benjamin A. Night of the Living Dead. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. Print.
Jennings, Dana. "They’re ... They’re Still Alive!" The New York Times. The New York Times, 26 Oct. 2013. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
Night of the Living Dead. Dir. George A. Romero. By George A. Romero, George A. Romero, and John Russo. Perf. Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Marilyn Eastman, and Karl Hardman. Continental Distributing, Inc., 1968. Streaming.
"Night of the Living Dead." IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2014.

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