Zombies have been in movies since the 1930’s but until this film came around, zombies were always tied to the realm of voodoo – being controlled by evil zombie priests whose bidding they do without question. They really didn’t eat anybody, they were more of a form of cheap labour for the bad guys.
In 1968 George Romero changed that with this film. It set the standard for zombie movies and has been imitated, remade and ripped-off ever since. Romero himself has watered down the genre with some lame crap in the last few years – Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead. The movie’s co-writer John Russo spun-off the franchise with the Return of the Living Dead franchise.
Russo also made his own additions to this film in 1999 with a really crappy Night of the Living Dead: 30th Anniversary Edition DVD where he shot new scenes with his buddies and stuck them into the film. He then had a new score composed by some guy in his basement with a synthesizer. Avoid seeing even a free version of that DVD.
After all the remakes, sequels, revisions, debates over fast zombies or slow zombies, this film still stands up extremely well. It’s a gory, suspenseful thrill ride that’s still fun to watch.