Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Horror Movies: Night of the Living Dead

I used to love horror movies. At university, we would gather together late at night and watch the scariest movies we could find. I slept great. None of them really influenced me, none of them frightened me. Or . . . if they did, I guess I liked it.

And then a friend told me to go see The Night of the Living Dead. The Night of the Living Dead is a horror-genre cult movie, by George Romero. It was a low budget movie, filmed (if I remember correctly) in black and white. It wasn’t a smooth film, it had a lot of the same pseudo-authenticity of The Blair Witch Project, shot years later with hand held cameras.


It was a shocking movie. It crossed a lot of boundaries. While compared to the violence of Tarantino, it might appear mild, it was gruesome for its time. Woven through the movie were what we now call “issues.” Black/white issues, marital issues, death taboo issues, subtle incestuous references.

You may never have heard of it, but years after it was made, there were making sequels – Night of the Living Dead 2, Return of the Living Dead, etc. The movie has been re-done, I hear, I have never seen another.

Night of the Living Dead was too real for me. It’s related to Training Joke #2 which really isn’t very funny if you read it closely. it describes a world of “me first” when facing an enemy with whom you cannot reason. It’s supposed to illustrate the benefits of maintaining a low profile when living or working in a country where you may face hostility, but what makes it “funny” is the unexpected treacherousness of one friend to another.

And, as the bear in the training joke, the zombies were not malicious, they were just hungry. You can’t charm them out of their hunger, you can’t intimidate them. They have no compassion, no pity, no feelings whatsoever. Just hunger, a driving hunger, for flesh.

The zombies in Night of the Living Dead were occasionally known by the non-dead humans. Survival was based on recognizing that the zombie was no longer the person they had once known and loved – getting away, or killing the zombie, overcoming the emotions wrapped up in the person the zombie had been before death and re-activation.

One of the things I like about the movie is that they never really adequately explain how this all happened. There is speculation, and there is dealing with the immediate problem, but there is no real resolution as to cause. Just like real life, where we scramble to deal with things, but often, even years later, fail to understand what we were really dealing with.

And I have met a human zombie or two. No, they are not undead, but neither are they really living. About as close to emotion as they come is a curiousity about why feeling people feel as we do, and a mild niggling feeling that they might be missing something. If they are psychopathic, they can appear to be normal, but underneath is a great void. They know who they are. Sometimes, in an effort to feel, they inflict pain, the way a cat will toy with a mouse before killing and eating it. And, just as you can’t blame a cat for being a cat, I think these people are born that way, and can’t take responsibility for what they are – or are not. Scary people. Stay away, far far away.

January 13, 2007 - Posted by | Family Issues, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Random Musings, Relationships, Social Issues, Spiritual


  1. Human zombies–psychopaths or sociopaths just don’t see the world as others do, nor do they feel things. And there are probably more of them than we’d want to know.
    Anyway, my nephew had a DVD of a modern zombie movie. I think it was “Shaun of the Living Dead”. I personally don’t like horror, but it’s okay if it’s funny too, as this was.

    Comment by Riannan | January 13, 2007 | Reply

  2. R – last scary movie I saw was War of the Worlds. It was scarier in the theatre because of the volume. But I already knew the ending, so I could enjoy it.

    Comment by intlxpatr | January 13, 2007 | Reply

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