Essay on George Romero's Night of the Living Dead

Essay on George Romero's Night of the Living Dead

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George Romero's reinvention of the zombie in night of the Living Dead (1968) is clearly a critique of elements of the American society, and the film as a whole is easily twisted into a warped view on the 'American Dream'. Themes throughout Romero’s film, dealing with controversial topics during the time that the film was made, are still, to this day debated by critics and film historians. Themes of racism and war are defined within the movie, hidden underneath the idea of carnal, cannibalistic zombies and over the top heroes who, eventually, succumb to the reanimated; despite their every effort. These themes are colored over and painted to hide beneath subtle references to the typical American Dream during this time, and Romero does quite the good job at it too. This dream, whilst continuously changing in the everyday lives of modern Americans, can be loosely defined as a national ethos of the United States, or a set of ideals dealing with freedom and the opportunity for success - an upward social status that can be achieved through hard work and effort.

The American Dream is an ongoing set of ideals within the United States, and was especially prevalent during the 1960’s. James Truslow Adams, an American author and historian, defined the dream in 1931, stating "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability of achievement."1 The tensions during this time had everyone on edge, and Americans everywhere dealt with these accordingly. George Romero, sensing these tensions, saw an opening to get his voice heard by millions of people around the world, and more importantly, across the country. Romero revolutionized the horror film genre with his horror flick, Night of the Living...


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...eam, as Romero showcases the fact that the flaws shown within the characters end up turning their situation into something far worse than it had been in the beginning. It shows just how depraved, violent and absolutely terrifying humans can easily become when put into situations without consequences. Romero’s film is dredged in cynicism towards the modern American Dream, the way he deals with symbolism towards how “just” the American system is during battles and war, and how incredibly messed up our generalized view on racism and the ever ongoing struggle for certain ethnic groups to survive is. “The negativity of the characters extends, in fact, into every facet of their lives; indeed, the film implies the deepest denial of the goodness of effectiveness of every facet of human life in general. Every kind of human relationship is ridiculed or negated in the film.” 4

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Essay on George Romero's Night of the Living Dead

- George Romero's reinvention of the zombie in night of the Living Dead (1968) is clearly a critique of elements of the American society, and the film as a whole is easily twisted into a warped view on the 'American Dream'. Themes throughout Romero’s film, dealing with controversial topics during the time that the film was made, are still, to this day debated by critics and film historians. Themes of racism and war are defined within the movie, hidden underneath the idea of carnal, cannibalistic zombies and over the top heroes who, eventually, succumb to the reanimated; despite their every effort....   [tags: dream, themes, freedom, success]

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