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Night of the Living Dead opened the door for many zombie films that we now see today; films trying so hard to become or even overcome in sheer brilliance, camera angles and horror production. The difference between this film and so many others is it's development in a time where a film like this has never been viewed. In the sixties, no one had imagined a corpse returning to life to consume the flesh of a human being. Yes, zombies were introduced in the thirties, but they weren't cast as being cannibilistic as Romero's; they were pretty much harmless and were restrained by whoever commanded them (voodoo).
The low-budget screening and harrowing storyline describes a group of people lead by a level-headed African-American man, trapped in a house while the undead slowly try to make their way inside for their flesh. The groups insistent battling amongst eachother is made readily available to us and shows how their arguements are the defining straw that severs their chances. Romero exposes that to us and brings forth a hero in Ben (Duane Jones) that keeps a calm hand among the fears that are obviously afoot in the group. Judith O'Dea provides backup as the catatonic Barbara who has given up long before she even reaches the house in which everyone is holed up in. After her brother Johnny (Russell Streiner) dies at the beginning of the film, she becomes useless and only a hazard to herself and the other occupants.
For Romero to cast a character in such a manner is maybe my only complaint because the other two females had their emotions in check. I've always had a problem with females in cinema that couldn't keep their wits in control when faced with a dilemma. I know most women in the sixties were described as mentally unbalanced when in a crisis, but Romero shouldn't have capitalized on the subject. Maybe having her character killed off in the beginning shortly after she reaches the house would have been more pleasing. The film also recieved flak for being racist on having a strong black man as the central figure in the film, then showing him being shot, killed and then dragged to a burning smokestack at the end. While I don't believe Romero was going for that particular accusation, the ending of the film is bold and unpredictable; allowing the viewer's hopes to be crushed if they believed any chance of survival was in the characters future. This kind of direction was impressive because it gave the audience fear that if something like this ever happened, there is no telling if you'll likely survive the ordeal.
Dario Argento's Suspiria delivers everything in suspense and horror. I found myself glued to the screen from the dramatic intro, which has the music itself telling the tale. I believe the music is where all the horror lies; it is beautifully captured, unlike many horror films today that seem to have that one overbearing note that doesn't need to be there.
"It's useless to try and explain it to you. You wouldn't understand. It all seemed so absurd. So fantastic. All I can do is get away from here, as soon as possible."
You just need to watch it. I found myself drawn to red even more; it's generously displayed and brought to you in the truest art form.