Happy Halloween. When the trick-or-treating and masquerading is done you should find a moment to seek out a favorite bit of one-time Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood short segment director George Romero‘s original Night Of The Living Dead (1968), a work that during its initial release inspired a reworking of the MPAA’s ratings code (small children were actually allowed to see this film, regularly screened at matinee showings), was the highest-grossing film in Europe in 1969, and soon became such a part of American folklore that it was added to the National Film registry in 1999.
Here are some of my favorite lines and moments to cherish:
The GTO Convertible passing the buck-shotted Cemetery Entrance sign followed by the Flag.
Too-cool Johnny: “You think I want to blow Sunday on a scene like this?”
“They’re coming to get you, Bahbra!”
Lightning flash-capturing the face of the ‘Cemetery Ghoul’ (Bill Hinzman).
The blurred-music box moment.
Ben (Duane Jones) to Harry Cooper (Karl Hardman): “You can be the boss down in the cellar, but I’m the boss up here!”
Helen Cooper (Marilyn Eastman)’s reverb-ed screams during the trowel scene…
The final zombie bum-rush, followed by Ben’s taking care of business in the cellar, accompanied by a great electronic bass-pulse…
After annoying dignified Ben (and the rest of the audience) with mostly silence (apart from the croaky demand, “What’s Happening!”) and Helen keller gestures, Judith O’Dea‘s Barbara delivers an incredible monologue that may have provided one of the primary foundations for Sandra Bullock‘s acting career. Some highlights:
“I said ‘Good Evening’, and he grabbed me, and he ripped at me!”
“…and then Johnny came and he ran, and, he fought this man!”
My favorite lines come from the remote tv news interview with pork-pie hatted George Kosana as ‘Sheriff McClelland’ (Kosana was also the film’s production manager):
“Beat ’em and burn ’em, they go up pretty easy..”
Reporter: “Are they slow-moving, chief?”
“Yeah, they’re dead…they’re all messed up.”
Have a fun night. Sweet dreams.