Night of the Living Dead (1968)

The poster for Night of the Living Dead (1968).

The poster for Night of the Living Dead (1968).

Pierce Turner

Welcome to Spinnaker’s History of Horror. Here we will be taking a look back at everything spooky in both film and video games and analyze how horror has evolved over the last century. Check back at every day for a new installment!

Right now it seems like the horror genre is overpopulated with zombies. The Walking Dead blew up, every other video game has zombies, and there’s a new cheap zombie film out every other month. But where did these flesh-eating undead come from? Well, unlike vampires and werewolves who originated in literature, zombies were invented in a film. That film is George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968).

The world’s very first zombie played byBill Hinzman.

Before Night of the Living Dead, zombies were thought more as slaves under the spell of hypnotism or voodoo. Romero’s classic was the first to introduce corpses rising from the dead and mindlessly seeking out living humans to eat. The introduction of such a terrifying creature changed horror forever.

The plot is simple. A group of strangers take refuge in an abandoned house when the dead start rising across the world and eating people alive. Sounds cliche, but remember this is the first of its kind. The survivors would be okay if they didn’t keep arguing and getting in each other’s way. It’s as much about the humans as it is about the zombies. They are as much fighting each other as they are the monsters. I won’t spoil the ending, but it’s one of the best in horror history.

For the time, NotLD was one of the goriest film around and the first to depict zombies eating human flesh. It’s no coincidence that a month after the film was

released the american rating system for films came into effect.

When there’s a sale on Publix subs.

The best part about this film is that it’s completely free use! The film resides entirely in public domain because of copyright problems and can be viewed pretty much anywhere. Just YouTube it and watch one of the best horror films of all time.

Check back tomorrow when we move into the ’70s…and into the ocean…