Tag Archives: George Romero

“They’re Coming to Get You Barbara”

Movie Night!

“Come on, Barb. Church was this morning, huh?”

Night of the Living Dead…the original…black and white…shot in Pittsburgh on a budget of thirteen bananas and a big rubber snake.

“They’re coming to get you, Barbara.”

It would have been the summer of ’68 or ’69. I would have been at the Family Drive-In or the Circle-25 Drive-In in East Lexington.

“Johnny, stop it!”

One of my friends (probably the one we hid in the trunk of the car to reduce our admission charge) came back from the refreshment stand and tapped on the window of our car just as the first real living dead guy in the movie attacked Barbara in the car. I left a brown spot on the seat of our car.

That’s my story and I’m not proud.

When and where did you first see the original film? It makes a difference.

The drive-in theater itself was part of the phenomenon. Sitting in our individual, isolated bubbles; too polite (or intimidated) to pay any attention to the other bubbles nearby (who knows what might happening in there). The other cars looked a bit like tombstones in the twilight. Some of the tombstones bounced a bit.

The businessman in me today wonders if Night of the Living Dead was a good bet for concession sales. The “dining” scenes in the flick certainly didn’t leave me longing for a corn dog or a hit of Smithfield BBQ.

But forget that. 50 years later this film is still scary and oddly plausible which compounds its scariness. I know there are people who prefer the sequel, Dawn of the Dead and I like it too, but Night beats Dawn for me and Day of the Dead is best not spoken of at all. Another variation of this cheap living dead film formula is Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things. It saddens me to admit the best thing about this film is the title.

Still, I’ve seen worse and lived (I think) to tell the tale.