[Podcast] Night of the Living Dead (1968) – Episode 15 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“They’re coming to get you, Barbara,” Johnny teases his sister. Things didn’t turn out so well for Johnny or Barbra. The horror community lost a giant when George Romero died July 16, 2017. Join the Decades of Horror: The Classic Era crew – Erin Miskell, Chad Hunt, Joseph Perry, and Jeff Mohr – as we pay tribute to Mr. Romero by taking a shot at his masterpiece, Night of the Living Dead.

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 15 – Night of the Living Dead (1968)

George Romero is co-writer (with John Russo), director, cinematographer, and editor of Night of the Living Dead. Made in the Pittsburgh area for only $114,000 in 1968, the film grossed $30,000,000 and established the rules of zombie behavior for many, many films to follow.

The story follows seven people – Ben (Duane Jones), Barbra (Judith O’Dea), Tom (Keith Wayne), Judy (Judith Ridley), Harry Cooper (Karl Hardman), his wife Helen (Marilyn Eastman), and their daughter Karen (Kyra Schon) – trapped in an isolated farmhouse, besieged by a growing legion of the living dead. Key supporting roles in Night of the Living Dead include Russell Streiner as Johnny, George Kosana as Sheriff McClelland, Bill Cardille as the field News Reporter, and S. William Hinzman (Bill Heinzman) as the first ghoul.

Your intrepid Grue Crew also ventures into a discussion of the cultural, sociological, and historical events coinciding with the making and release of the film and the effects they have on them as they rewatch Night of the Living Dead. A resounding cheer is heard for the recent 4k restoration of the film currently receiving a limited theatrical run, and for the possibility of a new 4k Blu-ray release sometime soon.

Lastly, Jeff reads some listener feedback on Episode 14 – Bride of Frankenstein from Dave Johnston, and on Episode 11 – The Mummy from saltyessentials. Be sure to check out salty’s blog, Dead Man’s Brain.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is Jû jin yuki otoko (the original 1955 Japanese version, aka Half Human).

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era and what films you’d like to hear us cover! We want to hear from you! After all, without you, we’re just four nutjobs talking about the films we love. Send us an email  (chadhunt@gruesomemagazine.com, erinmiskell@gruesomemagazine.com, jeffmohr@gruesomemagazine.com, or josephperry@gruesomemagazine.com) or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, Stitcher, the Horror News Radio App, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you from each of us, “Thank you for listening!

Jeff Mohr

Jeff lives smack dab in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa and is a long time horror fan. His first remembered encounters with the genre were The Wizard of Oz, Tarzan gorilla chases, and watching the first broadcast of The Twilight Zone episode, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” While he now qualifies as an old fart, he strives to be an “Old Boy.” Paraphrasing Robert Bloch, he has the heart of a small boy. He keeps it in a jar on his desk. Jeff has written for Horrornews.net and SQ Horror Magazine and co-hosted the SQ Bloodlines podcast. He currently writes for Gruesome Magazine and is co-host of the Decades of Horror The Classic Era and 1970s podcasts.


  • bea

    Viewed a ‘colorized’ version of NOLD….good to see; but I saw this at the local drive-in with my then new husband; it was the creepiest – the dark outside atmosphere jut heightened the fear.

    • Thunderhead Jones

      I agree, Bea. And when those zombies starting coming out of those pitch black woods! Oh, my gosh, was that scary! Thank you so much for the feedback and thanks for listening. We sure appreciate it.

    • Jeff Mohr

      bea, you make a great point on the effect one’s “viewing environment” has on their experience, especially with horror films. Memories of many of my favorite horror films are intertwined with stories of the environment in which I watched them. Yours sounds particularly chill-inducing! The first time I saw Dracula (1931) was on a little b&w TV, alone in a “cabin in the woods,” on the shore of a Minnesota Lake when I was about 12. It still gives me goosebumps! THANK YOU for listening and THANK YOU for your feedback!

  • Man, what a great film! And I say that as one of the more lukewarm zombie fans out here. (Not really my thing, zombie movies. But this one and Shaun of the Dead are favorites.) Just a few quick thoughts on the film and podcast….

    You all were talking about the divisiveness out there around Judith O’Dea’s performance: was she was too spaced out, unresponsive, etc. I think it’s easy to forget how hard it is to ACT like you’re in shock when you’re not. In my mind, we’re seeing O’Dea deliver a well thought out performance of someone who’s endured horrifying events and is coping (not by choice) by withdrawing from reality. It’s easy to forget the actress was NOT in the
    situation we’re seeing onscreen (again, a tribute to her and the rest of the creative team).

    She was actually in the midst of a movie set, surrounded by cast and crew, with all the noise and lights and hubbub that entails, and NOTHING we see onscreen was actually happening. Heck, she wasn’t even likely to have been filming her scenes in the same order we see them in the finished product. With all that in mind, it’s amazing to be able to
    convincingly portray the shock that she does, and the same goes for every other character we see onscreen. The folks in front of the camera here are the antithesis of one dimensional acting: everybody’s always “on” regardless of who’s in focus in a particular scene. SO well done.

    And that ending! Every time I see it I feel so angry, shocked, sickened and defeated. After having just gone through what Ben had, who would think to call out
    “Hey, I’m alive over here, don’t shoot!” or wave a white flag or whatever before stumbling gratefully outside? With all the horror this movie delivers, the most horrific experience in the film for me is that after all the horrific, unnatural experiences, Ben’s death comes from the natural, from normalcy, the establishment, the “good guys.”

    And who can blame the authorities? They were ALSO responding the way people who had been
    through a night of horror and were exhausted, would react. The anger I feel isn’t for them. I’m angry at the loss, at so much
    sacrifice only to end up on the burn pile.

    I enjoyed the discussion around casting and politics. I’d always assumed the casting of Duane Jones was
    deliberate and had some kind of social agenda behind it. I actually like the idea that something that could have been calculated wasn’t. I appreciate the… social unity it implies, for lack of a better term. Although I agree with what was said–even if the plan wasn’t to cast a black man, everyone involved at the
    time must have known that doing so changed the dynamic. There was too much social unrest for anyone involved to be blind to it.

    Great podcast as always, folks. Keep up the work.

    • Jeff Mohr

      Salty, as usual, you’re right on point about Judith O’Dea’s performance! I think we all agreed that it was an amazing performance. And the similarities between the final imagery we see in the film and and what went on in the deep south in the 1960s can’t be denied. As I mentioned, the the dogs snarling and lunging against their leashes could’ve come directly from a newsreel of the time. To the filmmakers’ credit, all connections are left to the viewer to make. The actions within the story are justified, yet that connection is made in my mind and makes me sick to my stomach. thanks again for your feedback, sir! We appreciate you listening and responding!