Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Night of the Living Dead Foreshadowed Our COVID-19 Lockdown

"A ragtag group of Pennsylvanians barricade themselves in an old farmhouse to remain safe from a bloodthirsty, flesh-eating breed of monsters who are ravaging the East Coast of the United States."

Yes, it's campy. But this low budget 1968 zombie film by George Romero has a surprisingly large and passionate fanbase. With a budget just over 100K, the film grossed 12 million dollars domestic and 18 million in international theaters.

It's the kind of late night horror fare that Ghoulardi would have loved to deliver on his Friday Night Shock Theater in Cleveland. Even if you can't take the zombies seriously, the film does have some seriously interesting features.

The storyline is basic. Johnny and Barbra do their annual visit to their father's grave to place flowers there when they are suddenly set upon by cannibalistic zombies. Johnny, who was making fun of his sister for being scared, ends up himself being killed. Barbra runs for her life.

Chase scenes are always dramatic but in this case the pursuit is relentless. She manages to find a farmhouse and manages to get inside. No one is home it seems. Then Ben shows up, looking to fill up his vehicle with gas. Aware that the house is being surrounded by zombies, he keeps them at bay with fire, and proceeds to board up the doors and windows.

Before social media, this was the best way to find out what was happening
in the outside world. Duane Jones as Ben.
Don't look now, but there goes the neighborhood.
The big reveal is that there are five people hiding in a "safe room" in the basement, a family of three and another couple They emerge and a series of conflicts begin as regards the best course of action against this deadly coronavirus, I mean, zombie infestation.

And there it is. A lockdown. A quarantine. And a lot of tension due to their various opinions on how to respond to the life and death situation.

Here are some excerpts from imdb.com

The Shining, The Exorcist and The Omen are all films that owe some of their stylistic approach to this film. This is the film that re-wrote the rules of the horror genre as it went along, whilst acting as both social critique and fond homage to 'The Birds' as well.

And...

This is "the" film that changed the way zombie films were created - more horrifying than ever before. Almost all zombie films that came after this one were patterned after this movie. "Night of the Living Dead" is the most iconic zombie film ever made.

Much of the world is in lockdown and quarantine and while it's true that DUIs are down, domestic violence is up. Way up. Just as Night of the Living Dead seems to have foretold.

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Here's another 60's throwback... or at least a parody of one. Revised for our contemporary Safe Zone focused modern times... Have a party.


You can catch it when you're at the grocery store
You can catch it off the handle on a door
You can catch it from a friend that's droppin' by
You can catch it like a baseball from the sky
I know that you feel so alone
But everybody Must Stay Home.

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The Message Here:
Still in lockdown? Make music. Don't have fights. 
We really don't want to see anyone getting killed.

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Related Link
(Note the nod to Love in the Time of Cholera)

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