One of the more well-known “zombie flicks”, Night of the Living Dead is a cult-classic in the zombie universe, sparking a series of movies, known as the Living Dead series.
Making a "zombie flick" is a fairly easy task. Take a small group of people, throw them into simulated desolation, and send mass(and by mass, we mean take a small amount of people and get footage of them in a series of different costumes and make-up jobs) amounts of people towards the "survivors". George Romero accomplished just this, and decided it was good enough to release...independently. Little did he know where this film would take him. Night of the Living Dead became a cult-classic, making Romero feel important and beckoning him to make more movies. There are reportedly six in "Romero's Living Dead" series, Night of... being the first.
There are two slightly different movies, the original in 1968 and the remake of it in 1990. It was originally meant to be an old, typically scary black-and-white zombie horror film. However, the Grandfather of the Zombie soon learned that not everyone liked his original. By soon, we mean that after two sequels and 22 freakin' years, some people were not very impressed. These "people" mainly being kids who couldn't appreciate a "classic movie", refused to watch the movie simply because it was black-and-white. Did George Romero decide to give-up? Hell no! He went on to write, direct, and produce the rest of the legacy. Tom Savini however, thought it would be an excellent idea to remake the movie. So he did (this time in color), with a slight variation of the storyline and his own brand of special effects. The movies are very similar, with only minor changes(color excluded).
Basically, either movie begins with semi-main character Barbara and her brother Johnny arriving at their parents' grave in a local cemetery. In an extremely non-foreshadowing dialogue, Johnny decides it would be a great idea to play on his sister's phobias.
"They're coming to get you, Barbara. They're coming to get YOU."
By referencing zombies of all things. What could possibly go wrong?
Yeah, that could go wrong. Johnny decides to come to his sister's aid now, after basically predicting the event. He gets into a bit of a scrap with the zombie, only to trip, and fall towards a gravestone, managing to break the fall with his face. And then gets ravaged by the zombie some more.
Good job, dumbass.
Barbara, being the genius that she is, decides to try and escape with the vehicle. Soon after(simultaneously shitting her pants and realizing that she doesn't have the key), she miraculously escapes, rolling twenty feet away, down a hill, and into a tree.
Is your entire family retarded?
Surprisingly, Barbara doesn't sit at the car, dumbfounded as to why she didn't make it through the trees. Typically, women are portrayed as helpless and/or borderline mentally retarded in zombie "flicks". This character is no different. However, she progresses towards an old farmhouse, which will be the setting of the rest of the movie.
Upon arriving at the farmhouse, Barbara(being the aspiring genius that she is) comes to the realization that there are quite a few more zombies like the one from the cemetery. Good job Barbara. Making the smartest choice of the movie yet, Barbara decides to look around for other people in the house. She stumbles upon a mutilated corpse, and instantly losing her shit, makes the decision that it would be safer outside.
Enter: Typical zombie movie hero. But Ben is more than just the hero. He also holds the "Lone Black Man" rank in zombie survival packs. Just look at how far these guys got:
Dawn of the Dead
What does Ben do? Does he watch his idiot brother die? Does he crash(note: roll) his car into a bunch of trees? Does he flee to a farmhouse, only to realize that zombies are, in fact, everywhere? Hell no. Instead, he decides to make a grand entrance by smashing through a few walking corpses, and then finishing them off with a tire iron. A damn tire iron! Not a gun, or even a bladed weapon. In the original, he proceeds to cripple one and then light it on fire. In the remake, he had already crippled one with the truck, and proceeded to stab his tire iron through it's head.
"I am tired of these motherfuckin' snakes..."
And then, after demonstrating a level of badassery unmatched by most, he runs into the house that Barbara supposedly "checked", and discovers a radio and a gun. Almost predictably, Barbara stays in one room, motionless and "catatonic".
The story takes a new twist when, after(Ben) fortifies the house, they discover that an entire family had been staying in the basement the whole time. Harry and Helen Cooper, along with their daughter(Karen in the 1968 version, Sarah in the remake), and the teenage couple Tom and Judy. Shenanigans do not ensue.
Their daughter, Karen/Sarah, had been bitten sometime before the film, and is infected with the zombie virus. However, Harry thinks it is best if the family barricades themselves in the basement(with their soon-to-be zombie daughter), as that would protect them. He seemingly forgets that Ben is the designated hero of the movie, and argues with him until Ben gives up, and Harry locks the family in anyway.
Ben tunes the radio to a news broadcasting station, and the broadcasters reveal that "some kind of disease or plague" is running amok. Ben, entirely unaffected by the message, later discovers a television with a slightly different message. This time, reporters have "discovered" that the "infected" are devouring human flesh, probably after Billy the Camera Guy ate the entire film crew. And, with a cock-stomping level of genius, the newscasters reveal that destruction of the brain is the only way to kill a zombie.
"Ben devises a plan to escape using his truck involving all of the men in the house." Did you catch that? All of the men. Most likely because all of the women in this movie are stupid*. Don't believe us? Well, after Ben and Tom take the truck out to the gas pump in the original, Judy decides to disobey orders that were undoubtedly given to her by running after the truck. Ben drops his torch, and Tom accidentally spills gasoline onto it. Could they have escaped? Yes. But they forgot Judy, who somehow got into the truck without them noticing, and gets her dumbass stuck. Tom goes back to help her, and they are both burnt to death in the explosion. Ben, the hero of our story, escapes.
Ben realizes that he cannot save the already charred corpses, and so he makes his way back to the house in the hopes of saving the rest of the group. Upon reaching the house, Ben finds himself locked out, and after nobody lets him in, he kicks the door down.. As it turns out, Harry thought it would be smart to lock the hero out of the house. So Ben beats his ass into the ground, and/or shoots him, depending on which movie you are watching.
In the original, Harry flees to the basement only to get eaten by his daughter and wife, and later gets executed by Ben. But in the remake, he survives by fleeing to the attic, and upon making an appearance in the morning, gets shot in the face by...Barbara?! Her level of awesome went from "retarded" to "tit-rocking good" in that instant.
Meanwhile, the daughter has reanimated, who proceeds to eat her mother. Aaah, finally. All of the chicks are dead, except...wait, what happened to Barbara? Well, in the original movie, Barbara gets her ass handed to her and we never have to hear from her again. That's what happens when you decide to go "catatonic" during a freaking zombie outbreak. Maybe next time, you...oh wait. In the remake however, she turns into a supreme badass in the course of the night, and simply walks past all of the zombies during the crisis. The remake is the only film that she survives in.
And what happened to Ben? Well, in the original, he decides to hide in the basement, despite giving Harry shit, and wait until morning. When morning does come around, and the posse of gunmen make their appearance, Ben moves in to check things out. And gets shot in the face. And then burnt in a pile of corpses. In the remake, he had been bitten earlier, and exits the basement as a zombie. And then gets shot in the face. And burnt in a pile of corpses.
"Being a hero sure has it's perks"
* We at Cracked are not sexist, and do not condone sexist opinions towards...other sexes. However, you cannot deny that the women in this movie are idiots.