- SKU: 6946442
- Release Date: 06/10/2003
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When unexpected radiation raises the dead, a microcosm of Average America has to battle flesh-eating zombies in George A. Romero's landmark cheapie horror film. Siblings Johnny (Russ Streiner) and Barbara (Judith O'Dea) whine and pout their way through a graveside visit in a small Pennsylvania town, but it all takes a turn for the worse when a zombie kills Johnny. Barbara flees to an isolated farmhouse where a group of people are already holed up. Bickering and panic ensue as the group tries to figure out how best to escape, while hoards of undead converge on the house; news reports reveal that fire wards them off, while a local sheriff-led posse discovers that if you "kill the brain, you kill the ghoul." After a night of immolation and parricide, one survivor is left in the house.... Romero's grainy black-and-white cinematography and casting of locals emphasize the terror lurking in ordinary life; as in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (1963), Romero's victims are not attacked because they did anything wrong, and the randomness makes the attacks all the more horrifying. Nothing holds the key to salvation, either, whether it's family, love, or law. Topping off the existential dread is Romero's then-extreme use of gore, as zombies nibble on limbs and viscera. Initially distributed by a Manhattan theater chain owner, Night, made for about 100,000 dollars, was dismissed as exploitation, but after a 1969 re-release, it began to attract favorable attention for scarily tapping into Vietnam-era uncertainty and nihilistic anxiety. By 1979, it had grossed over 12 million, inspired a cycle of apocalyptic splatter films like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), and set the standard for finding horror in the mundane. However cheesy the film may look, few horror movies reach a conclusion as desolately unsettling. ~ Lucia Bozzola, Rovi
Atom Age Vampire
A less-stylish variant on Franju's classic Les Yeux Sans Visage, this low-budget Italian production borrows heavily from that film's plot to tell the tale of a scientist who employs a radical new procedure to restore the beauty of a young hoochie-koochie dancer disfigured in a car accident. All goes well after the bandages come off... but after all, this is a horror film, and it's only a matter of time before the young lass begins transforming into a monster -- which, despite the title, is not really a vampire, but more like something resembling an overcooked pizza roll with eyes. In order to return her to normal, the loony doc sets out to "borrow" the faces of other young women without their permission. Released in its native country (where the dubbing might have been a bit less painful) as Seddock, L'Ereda de Satana or Seddock, Heir of Satan. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi
Carnival of Souls
A drag race turns to tragedy when one car, with three young women inside, topples over a bridge and into the muddy river below. The authorities drag the river, but the search is fruitless and the girls are presumed dead until a single survivor stumbles out of the water with no recollection of how she escaped. Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) decides to forget her strange experience and carry on with her plan to move to Utah to accept a job as a church organist. She rejects the notion that because her profession leads her to work in the church, she is obligated to worship as part of the congregation, and this cold approach to her work unnerves many around her. While driving to the new city, she experiences weird visions of a ghoulish man who stares at her through the windshield, and passes an abandonded carnival on a desolate stretch of highway outside of town to which she feels strangely drawn. Mary tries to live her life in private, ignoring invitations to worship by the minister of her church and the leering propositions of a neighbor in her rooming house. Soon the ghostly apparition from the highway is appearing more often, and she experiences eerie spells in which she becomes invisible to people on the street. A doctor tries to help, but he too is rejected, and eventually Mary realizes that the deserted carnival holds the secret to her destiny. ~ Fred Beldin, Rovi
Beast From Haunted Cave
Director Monte Hellman (who would later direct a young Jack Nicholson on two low-budget westerns) earned his low-budget wings on Filmgroup's bizarre fusion of hostage/crime thriller and big-rubber-monster flick -- a quirky juxtaposition employed to similar effect 35 years later in From Dusk Till Dawn. The story begins with a team of gold thieves hiding out in a ski resort cabin after a heist, taking two people hostage as they prepare to smuggle their loot across the Canadian border -- unaware of the giant, icky-looking spider-monster lurking in a nearby cave, which preys on anyone unlucky enough to stumble near its lair. The film's woodland exteriors add a richness lacking in the typical dusty desert settings of this film's genre contemporaries. The cobwebby monster is played by Chris Robinson, later the star of General Hospital. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi
Cast & Crew
- Judith O'Dea - Barbara
- Russ Streiner - Johnny
- Duane Jones - Ben
- Keith Wayne - Tom
- Judith Ridley - Judy