Evening of the Living Dead: 1

In Uncategorized on October 26, 2010 at 10:26 pm


Cemetery, Bloomington, Indiana.

After 13 years, I finally did it: In preparation for Halloween, I sat down and watched Night of the Living Dead.

October after October, I’ve missed my chance. Local theaters screen the movie. Friends loan me their DVD’s. But life gets busy and then, before I know it, Halloween is over and the movie remains unwatched.

Not this year. A few days ago my girlfriend and I drove to The Dreaming Ant in Bloomfield and picked up a copy. Neither Kylan nor I grew up in Pittsburgh, and Vermonters and Philadelphians aren’t nearly so attached to America’s original zombie movie. When we arrived home, we switched off all the lights and lit some candles. We were ready to seriously freak out.

Let’s just say that Night of the Living Dead isn’t exactly what we expected. I knew it was filmed in black-and-white, I knew that corpses rose from their graves, and I knew that most of those graves were located in the Pittsburgh area, in Evans City. Other than that, we knew nothing. Exploding truck? Catatonic blonde? Noble African-American hero? It was all news to us.

It’s tough to watch a Revered Classic. It’s like bumbling into a really meaningful conversation – you’ve missed a lot of the context, and you don’t fully appreciate what you’re hearing. It doesn’t help matters that Night of the Living Dead is a really awkward movie; the editing is choppy, the acting is weak, and all the violence seems to happen in slow motion.

I’m aware that this was a low-budget movie, filmed 42 years ago and produced without big-name actors or studio equipment. I know how important the film was – and is – to Pittsburgh. And I love that Pittsburgh has become the capital of zombiedom. Still, Kylan and I kept glancing at each other skeptically.


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