Dr. David Sidore
HUMN 1002 – Perspectives on Society in Film
Due October 6, 2008
Night of the Living Dead Review
Can a zombie movie in the late 1960s have shone light on racism? The movie “Night of Living Dead” written by John A. Russo and George A. Romero and directed by George A. Romero may have done just that. This movie released on October 1, 1968 may not have intended to do this but appears to have this affect on many viewers all the same. The main character and the only person to live through the zombie infested night was an African American male. There are many other non-zombie individuals throughout the film and all were white and died one right after another. The African American, with the choices he made, was the only person that lived. In the end, the non-zombie Caucasian man comes to the house and shoots the main African American character Ben without even checking to be sure if he was a zombie or not. I wonder how many white Americans in the late 1960s were more scared about the thought of being outsmarted by a black man than by being eaten by zombies.
I can only imagine being a racist in the year 1968 and going to see this movie. It must have been very upsetting. You have a film that appears to be predominantly Caucasian. The entire supporting cast is Caucasian and even the zombies appear to all be white. The one and only character in this movie that is African American is the lead role of Ben played by Duane Jones. According to www.imdb.com spoilers page, when asked the filmmakers stated that “’Duane Jones (I)' was simply the best actor for the part of Ben.” Whether the use of an African American was planned or happened, the impact was still made. You still have a movie in a time of extreme turbulence between the races, depicting an African American male as the brightest and most capable. Per an article written by Steven Russell of talkingpix.co.uk “Night of the Living Dead is a landmark film for the reason...