It's amazing what a group of passionate people and a 35 mm camera can do.


Prior to 1967, the zombie in film was under the influence of a potion or a voodoo curse. It was a mindless creature that was generally a victim. Night of the Living Dead changed the zombie into a terrifying villain.

The story of making the film is fascinating.

At first, Romero was uncertain if they could even finish making the film. Lacking a budget, making the project became a collaborative effort unlike anyone in the industry had previously seen or done.

Everyone involved took on multiple tasks. Producer, actor, make-up artist, co-screen writer, and zombie were jobs among just Karl Hardman, Russell Steiner, and Marilyn Eastman.

Bill Hinzman and John Russo actually volunteered to be set on fire during the Molotov cocktail distraction scene. Ron Harris was an investor in the film, and also a meat packer. He brought in intestines, liver, and other animal parts to be consumed, making the cannibalism realistic.

Creativity as well as perseverance shined through working together in this manner. It allowed the story to organically unfold.

Cultural significance at the time was shown in the film as well.

The portrayal of the media was similar to the coverage of the Vietnam war. It showed what was going on but no explanation or solution to the problem. Even as the rescue squad moved in, the swarms of armed militia resembled a lynch mob. The police arriving with dogs were familiar to the civil rights movement.

The film went away from the classic hero structure and made the ending dreadful and honest. There was no escape.

Night of the Living Dead Created a cult following and paved the way for the modern zombie. Many films, television series, video games, and comics have all been inspired from George A. Romero’s vision of the ghoul.

It is amazing what a group of passionate people and a 35mm camera can do.


7 Comments on this post.

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  • Evan A. Baker
    9 December 2014 at 12:26 am - Reply

    Nice write-up about one of my absolute favorite movies!

    I re-read John Russo’s making-of book about once every five years. A great little reminder of what friends can accomplish when they work together.

    • Matthew Myers
      9 December 2014 at 3:14 am - Reply

      Thanks Evan! Yes, I like John’s books as well. I have not read them all but the four I have I loved.

  • Anne B
    9 December 2014 at 12:36 am - Reply

    This movie is scary as hell! One of my favorite horror movies ever. It’s crazy to think that multitasking friends & butcher shop leftovers can be so terrifying…

    • Matthew Myers
      9 December 2014 at 3:20 am - Reply

      I know! The music in this film has always terrified me as well.

  • Josh Millican
    9 December 2014 at 1:48 pm - Reply

    Great article! We there’s definitely a return to those collaborative days in the Indie scene. I enjoyed the trivia about Ron Harris.

  • Tim J
    11 December 2014 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Nice article! I pride myself on knowing a lot about zomhie lore, both during the periods before and after Romero. But I just learned a lot from this article that I didn’t know previously. I genuinley had no clue this movie was such a collaborative effort. I also agree with you about the music in this movie. What a score they pieced together. Thanks Matt!

    • Matthew Myers
      11 December 2014 at 7:00 pm - Reply

      Thank you Tim! I agree, the soundtrack is classically written and amazing. Other than Psycho which is all strings I can not think of one better.