Retronauts Episode 567: Night of the Living Dead
This podcast's...all messed up.
55 years ago in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, an up-and-coming director in his late 20s premiered his very first feature-length motion picture. He co-wrote the script, cast local talent known mostly for stage and commercial work, and shot on location in a nearby cemetery using black & white film—all for about $125,000. What nobody knew, least of all young George A. Romero, is that his movie would change not just horror or cinema but pop culture forever.
Night of the Living Dead is a high-concept film that tells a simple tale about human beings coming back from the dead and devouring whatever (and whomever) they can find. These slow-moving corpses—called "ghouls"—would popularly become known as zombies, firmly replacing their previously existing cultural definition.
Of course, I (Diamond Feit) shouldn't have to tell you what a zombie is, because whether you enjoy horror fiction or not, the zombie now stands as a globally-familiar monster, one that video games in particular love to use by the truckload as enemies that don't quit. All that began right here in this independently financed production; one that slipped into the public domain by accident, ensuring anyone and everyone the right to exhibit, edit, or share it as they like. As proof, behold as I embed the entire movie below in this very blogpost!
Joining me on the podcast to talk about this landmark film and its legacy are returning guests James Eldred (host of his own movie podcast, Cinema Oblivia) and artist Bill Mudron. We will spoil the entire plot in our discussion so please, watch the movie first; it absolutely holds up to modern viewings, even after decades of imitators.
Description: Diamond Feit, Bill Mudron, and James Eldred are coming to get YOU with this podcast all about George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead and its legacy as patient zero for modern zombie fiction
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Artwork for this episode by Nick Wanserski and editing thanks go to Greg Leahy.