Night of the Living Dead

Zombies, Hippies and Vietnam: Night of the Living Dead as a Political Film College

Often horror movies can tell more about a culture than the movies chosen as classics. The Friday the 13th series reflected the prudish “return to family values” of the 1980s where teenagers who engage in premarital sex are killed. The last decade has seen a glut of “torture porn” movies that overtly reflect the worries about the excesses on the war on terror. This method of reflecting on the culture is readily apparently in the release and success of Night of the Living Dead when it was released in October 1968. The late 1960s was a chaotic time in American life. Presidents Johnson’s Great Society and civil rights achievements were overshadowed by the continuing involvement in the Vietnam War. The paisley colored tie-dyed dreams of 1967 gave way to the cynicism of 1968. By October of 1968, Americans had lost their faith in the ability of the American troops in the wake of the Tet Offensive; Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King had been murdered and the Manson family had changed the image of hippies from harmless eccentrics to very dangerous outsiders. At any moment, nameless faceless hordes were liable to destroy you.

Night of the Living Dead begins with a scene between siblings in which the brother begins scaring his sister...

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