“Night of the Living Dead” brings zombies to the screen for the very first time

Hillary Hurst

For movie buffs, the month of October means one thing: 31 days of horror movies. With tons of horror flicks to choose from, The Daily Texan is going to be providing a daily horror recommendation. Whether you prefer ghosts, zombies or stark explorations of the human condition, we’ll be featuring horror films of all flavors. Check back every evening for the movie of the day. Today, we go back to the very first zombie film with “Night of the Living Dead.”

I don’t do scary movies. I am a sweaty, twitchy mess after every scary movie that I’ve seen. Or rather, every scary movie preview I’ve ever seen, since that’s all I can be convinced to sit through. 

So naturally, the mere utter of the 1968 cult classic, “Night of the Living Dead,” was enough to make me want to vomit. Bracing myself for the worst, I cautiously eased into this black and white zombie flick, convinced that this would ensure a solid week of nightmares. 

Good news! I will not be losing any sleep over this one. It was exactly what you would imagine a 60’s horror film to be like: Lots of overly dramatic music, unnecessarily lengthy scenes, terrible lighting and good old Barbara. Barbara, the cookie-cutter damsel in distress of the movie that stumbled from one disaster to another, and single-handedly made this horror film hilarious. 

With her Nancy Drew hair and cringe-inducing panic attacks, this movie should have been called “Night of Barbara Totally Losing Her Shit.” Useless Barbara was the epitome of the submissive female stereotype of the time, tripping, screaming and fainting her way through this painstaking struggle of a movie. I will give her some slack though: These zombies were pretty sophisticated. Unlike the modern day groaning zombies with their dull, feet-dragging movements, these guys were on their game. Agile and smart, the zombies used rocks to smash through windows and break down doors, and one even utilized a shovel to stab someone. So I give you that much, Barbara. 

But that did not stop me from laughing at her overly dramatized cowering and eventual fall into a terrified silence as the movie drew to a close. And then I grew less and less interested in the fate of these unfortunate people as I yearned for this movie to stop. But luckily it finally ended, and surprise, surprise, Barbara meets an appropriately brutal end.