"When there's no more room in Hell, the dead will walk the Earth."

Monday 1 October 2018

Night of the Living Dead at 50 (they're coming to get you, Barbara!)

Night of the Living Dead, the film by George A. Romero (1940-2017), had is world premiere 50 years ago today, on 1 October 1968 at the Fulton Theatre in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the city where it was also shot.

Most accounts suggest that the (invitation only) film premiere was an inauspicious occasion and the film was not a critical success upon release. The immediate reaction gave little indication as to the iconic status that the film would come to occupy: "a masterpiece that rewrote the rules of the horror genre," as the film's official website now proclaims.

An even bigger oversight (this time on the part of the film's producers) was the lack of a copyright notice – something required in the USA until 1989. The result of this mishap is that the film slipped into the public domain, where it remains to this day. According to Wikipedia, "the original film is available to view or download for free on various websites, such as the Internet Archive and YouTube. As of November 2017, it is the Internet Archive's most-downloaded film, with over 3 million downloads."

While it hardly seems fair to the creators, it would be a shame to let this occasion pass without watching the film in its entirety, just as it wowed cinema audiences 50 years ago today.

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