Night of the Living Dead, Dir George Romero 1968
A young couple drives way out into the sticks to place flowers on the grave the girl's father. As she is praying, and he is complaining, they notice a man wandering between the headstones who doesn't appear to be playing with a full deck. The stranger grabs for the girl and ends up killing the young man as he tries to defend her. The girl drives away and ends up at an abandoned house with another young man who tells her of the nightmare he has already survived. As they board themselves into the home they are beset by, and see if you can follow me here, the reanimated corpses of the deceased that have spontaneously risen from their graves and are eating the flesh of the living.
I joke, but of courseNight of the Living Dead is about as seminal a horror film as you can find. Romero took a fledgling subgenre and turned it into basic horror cannon. I am always impressed with this film. It is an indie horror production that had to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of eighteen dollars to produce and yet it really is a landmark feat of filmmaking and must have scared the holy beJesus out of audiences just discovering zombie cinema (though if you watch the film, the word zombie is never used). I do ultimately find the film a bit dull, but I like the fact that you can see Romero being influenced by the sci-fi horror that had dominated the genre for so long; in its twilight by the time of NotLD's release. The music and the performances seem plucked from a giant bug movie. I do enjoy the ending and it's fun to work out how the events in this film set in motion Romero's ultimate zombie apocalypse saga.