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Night of the Living Dead is a 1968 American independent black-and-white zombie film directed by George A. Romero. It premiered on October 1, 1968, and was completed on a USD$114,000 budget. After decades of cinematic re-releases, it grossed some $12 million domestically and $30 million internationally. Night of the Living Dead was heavily criticized during its release because of its explicit content and similarities to the ongoing Vietnam war. However, it eventually received critical acclaim and was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry as a film deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant."
The film follows Ben (Duane Jones), Barbra (Judith O'Dea), and five others, who are trapped in a rural farmhouse in Pennsylvania and attempt to survive the night while the house is being attacked by mysteriously reanimated ghouls, otherwise known as zombies. Night of the Living Dead is the origin of six other Living Dead films directed by George A. Romero and became the inspiration for two remakes of the film, film of the same name directed by Tom Savini, and Night of the Living Dead 3D, which was directed by Jeff Broadstreet and contained a much different storyline.
Siblings Barbra (Judith O'Dea) and Johnny (Russell Streiner) drive to a rural Pennsylvania cemetery to visit their father's grave. Barbra is afraid at the cemetery; Johnny frightens her repeating, "They're coming to get you, Barbra!" A pale skinned man (Bill Hinzman) grabs Barbra. Johnny wrestles with the man but is killed when he falls and his head hits a tombstone. Barbra flees while being pursued by the man. She reaches an empty farmhouse. Ben (Duane Jones) arrives at the house and boards up the doors and windows. Barbra is catatonic, then frantically insists they must rescue Johnny, then collapses in shock.
Hiding in the cellar are Harry and Helen Cooper (Karl Hardman and Marilyn Eastman), their daughter Karen (Kyra Schon), and young couple Tom and Judy (Keith Wayne and Judith Ridley). Ben activates a radio while Barbra awakens. She is frightened by Tom and Harry emerging from the cellar. Harry and Ben argue. Ben thinks they should have left the cellar to help board the doors. Harry espouses hiding in the cellar but Ben deems it a "death trap" and remains upstairs. Tom agrees with Ben and asks Judy upstairs.
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