Night of the Living Dead (film series)

 

Night of the Living Dead (film series)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
George A. Romero’s Dead series
Night of the Living Dead (1968) theatrical poster.jpg

The original poster for Night of the Living Dead
Directed by George A. Romero (1–6)
Cameron Romero (7)
Produced by Night of the Living Dead
Karl Hardman
Russell Streiner
Dawn of the Dead
Richard P. Rubinstein
Day of the Dead
Richard P. Rubinstein
Land of the Dead
Mark Canton
Bernie Goldmann
Peter Grunwald
Diary of the Dead
Peter Grunwald
Sam Englebardt
Artur Spigel
Ara Katz
Survival of the Dead
Paula Devonshire
Screenplay by George A. Romero (1-6) Cameron Romero (7)
Distributed by The Walter Reade Organization (1)
United Film Distribution Company (2-3)
Universal Pictures (4)
The Weinstein Company (5)
Magnet Releasing (6)
Release date
1968-present
Country United States
Language English

Night of the Living Dead is a series of seven zombie horror films written and directed by George A. Romero and Cameron Romero beginning with the 1968 film Night of the Living Dead written by Romero and John A. Russo. The loosely connected franchise predominantly centers on different groups of people attempting to survive during the outbreak and evolution of a zombie apocalypse. The latest installment of the series, Survival of the Dead, was released in 2009, with Origins, a prequel film written and directed by Cameron Romero in the works.[1]

History[edit]

After Night of the Living Dead’s initial success, the two creators split in disagreement regarding where the series should head,[2] and since the film was in the public domain,[3] each were able to do what they liked with the continuity of their projects. Romero went on to direct five additional Dead films, while Russo branched into literary territory, writing Return of the Living Dead, which was later loosely adapted into a film of the same name and have its own franchise, and Escape of the Living Dead.

Labeled “Trilogy of the Dead” until Land of the Dead,[4] each film is laden with social commentary on topics ranging from racism to consumerism. The films are not produced as direct follow-ups from one another and their only continuation is the theme of the epidemic of the living dead. This situation advances with each film, showing the world in a worsening state, but each film is independent of its predecessor. This is exemplified by the fact that each movie is set within the era it is filmed, with Land of the Dead being set in modern times with current (as of 2005) technology such as game consoles, flatscreen televisions, cell phones and other examples of modern tech. This would not have been possible if the original 1968 epidemic had progressed to the state that Dawn and Day had depicted, as no new technology would have been created. The fifth film does not continue the depiction of progress, but returns to the similar events depicted in the first film in the very beginning of a zombie outbreak. The films depict how different people react to the same phenomenon, ranging from citizens to police to army officials and to citizens again. Each takes place in a world worsened since its previous appearance, the number of zombies ever increasing and the living perpetually endangered, but with each entry being a standalone film that is not directly continuing global events from the previous.

Romero does not consider any of his Dead films sequels since none of the major characters or story continue from one film to the next.[citation needed] The two exceptions are Tom Savini’s character of Blades who becomes a zombie in Dawn of the Dead who would be seen again years later in Land of the Dead and the military officer (Alan van Sprang) who robs the main characters in Diary of the Dead goes on to become a protagonist in Survival of the Dead.

Films[edit]

Night of the Living Dead (1968)[edit]

The plot of the film follows Ben Huss (Duane Jones), Barbra (Judith O’Dea), and five others, who are trapped in a rural farmhouse in Pennsylvania and attempt to survive the night while the house is being attacked by mysteriously reanimated corpses, known as ghouls or zombies.

Dawn of the Dead (1978)[edit]

Following the scenario set up in Night of the Living Dead, the United States (and possibly the entire world) has been devastated by a phenomenon which reanimates recently deceased human beings as flesh-eating zombies. Despite efforts by the US Government and local civil authorities to control the situation, society has effectively collapsed and the remaining survivors seek refuge. Protagonists Roger (Scott Reiniger) and Peter (Ken Foree), two former SWAT members, join with Stephen (David Emge) and Francine (Gaylen Ross), a helicopter pilot and his girlfriend planning on leaving the city, and take refuge in an enclosed shopping-mall, only to be destroyed when a motorcycle gang allow the zombies into the building.

Day of the Dead (1985)[edit]

Some time after the events of Dawn of the Dead, zombies have overrun the world, and an underground army missile bunker near the Everglades holds part of a military-supported scientific team assigned to study the zombie phenomenon in the hopes of finding a way of stopping or reversing the process. Dwindling supplies, loss of communication with other survivor enclaves, and an apparent lack of progress in the experiments have already caused loss of cohesion among the scientists and soldiers. Dr. Logan (Richard Liberty), the lead scientist on the project, has been secretly using the recently deceased soldiers in his experiments, trying to prove his theory that the zombies can eventually be domesticated.

Land of the Dead (2005)[edit]

Main article: Land of the Dead

Years after the events of the previous film, many of the living have fled to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where a feudal-like government has taken hold. Paul Kaufman (Dennis Hopper) rules the city with overwhelming firepower. “Big Daddy” (Eugene Clark), an unusually intelligent zombie, directs his fellow zombies to use firearms against the human defenses, and later leads the zombies in an assault on the human city, with the result that the electric fence that kept the zombies out now keeps the humans trapped inside.

Diary of the Dead (2007)[edit]

Main article: Diary of the Dead

Taking place during the initial outbreak of the zombie pandemic, Diary of the Dead follows a band of students, making a horror film, who decide to record the events in documentary-style and are themselves chased down by zombies.

Survival of the Dead (2009)[edit]

Main article: Survival of the Dead

The film follows the actions of former Colonel and current Sergeant “Nicotine” Crockett (Alan van Sprang), who, after a failed raid, deserts his post with Kenny (Eric Woolfe), Francisco (Stefano Colacitti) and Tomboy (Athena Karkanis) and find the existence of an island run by two families.

Origins[edit]

A prequel story set at the height of the Cold War is in production, written and directed by G. Cameron Romero, George A. Romero’s son.[1]

Cast[edit]

List indicator(s)

  • A dark grey cell indicates that the character was not in the film or that the character’s presence in the film has yet to be announced.
  • A Y indicates a role as a younger version of the character.
  • An O indicates a role as an older version of the character.
  • A U indicates an uncredited role.
  • A C indicates a cameo role.
  • A V indicates a voice-only role.
  • An A indicates an appearance through archival footage or stills.
Character Film
Night of the
Living Dead

(1968)
Dawn of
the Dead

(1978)
Day of
the Dead

(1985)
Land of
the Dead

(2005)
Diary of
the Dead

(2008)
Survival of
the Dead

(2009)
Ben Duane Jones
Barbra Blair Judith O’Dea
Harry Cooper Karl Hardman
Helen Cooper Marilyn Eastman
Tom Keith Wayne
Judy Judith Ridley
Karen Cooper Kyra Schon
Living Newscaster
Undead Newscaster
Charles Craig Charles CraigVC
Cemetery Living Dead Bill Hinzman
Sheriff McClelland George Kosana
Johnny Blair Russell Streiner
Johnny Blair Russell Streiner
WIIC-TV, Channel 11 News Reporter Bill Cardille
“Chilly Billy Cardilly”
C
Stephen “Flyboy” Andrews David Emge
Peter Washington Ken Foree
Roger “Trooper” DeMarco Scott Reiniger
Francine Parker Gaylen Ross
Dr. James Foster Dave Crawford
Mr. Sidney Berman David Early
Dr. Millard Rausch, Scientist Richard France
TV Commentator Howard Smith
Mr. Dan Givens Daniel Dietrich
Police Commander Fred Baker
Wooley, Maniacal SWAT Cop Jim Baffico
Rod Tucker, Young SWAT Cop On Roof Rod Stoufer
Old Priest Jese del Gre
Head Officer at Police Dock Joe Pilato
Blades, Assistant Head Biker
Mechanic Zombie Shot Through Glass
Zombie Hit By Truck
Tom Savini
Sledge, Biker with Sledgehammer
Fountain Zombie
Sailor Zombie
Chestburst Zombie
Taso Stavrakis
Dr. Sarah Bowman Lori Cardille
Captain Henry Rhodes Joseph Pilato
John Terry Alexander
William “Bill” McDermott Jarlath Conroy
Pvt. Miguel Salazar Anthony Dileo Jr.
Dr. Matthew “Frankenstein” Logan Richard Liberty
Bub the Zombie (credited as “Howard Sherman”) Sherman Howard
Dr. Ted Fisher, Technician John Amplas
Pvt. Walter Steele, Rhodes’ 2nd In-Command Gary Howard Klar
Pvt. Robert Rickles, Steele’s Sidekick Ralph Marrero
Pvt. Miller, Rhodes’ Men Phillip G. Kellams
Pvt. Juan Torrez, Rhodes’ Men
Knock-On-Wood Zombie
Biker Zombie
Taso N. Stavrakis
Pvt. Johnson, Rhodes’ Men Gregory Nicotero
The Balladeer Sputzy SparacinoV
The 2nd Balladeer DelilahV
The Balladeers’ Lead Guitarist Buddy HallV
The Balladeers’ Bassist Tommy BellinV
The Balladeers’ Keyboardist Talmadge PearsallV
The Balladeers’ Co-Keyboardist Jim BlazerV
Riley Denbo Simon Baker
Cholo DeMora John Leguizamo
Paul Kaufman Dennis Hopper
Slack Asia Argento
Charlie Houk Robert Joy
Big Daddy Zombie Eugene Clark
Pretty Boy Joanne Boland
Foxy Tony Nappo
Number 9 Zombie Jennifer Baxter
Butcher Zombie Boyd Banks
Tambourine Man Zombie Jasmin Geljo
Mouse Maxwell McCabe-Lokos
Anchor Tony Munch
Mike Shawn Roberts
Pillsbury Pedro Miguel Arce
Manolete Sasha Roiz
Motown Krista Bridges
Mulligan Bruce McFee
Chihuahua Phil Fondacaro
Brubaker Alan van Sprang
Roach Earl Pastko
Styles Peter Outerbridge
Knipp Gene Mack
Brian Devon Bostick
Photo Booth Zombies
Newsreader
Simon Pegg Simon PeggVC
Edgar Wright
Blades the Machete Zombie Tom Savini
Bridgekeeper Zombie Gregory Nicotero
Tony Ravello Shawn Roberts Shawn RobertsA
Jason Creed Joshua Close Joshua CloseA
Debra Moynihan Michelle Morgan Michelle MorganA
Andrew Maxwell Scott Wentworth Scott WentworthA
Tracy Thurman Amy Lalonde Amy LaLondeA
Eliot Stone Joe Dinicol
Ridley Wilmott Philip Riccio
Biker George Buza
Mary Dexter Tatiana Maslany
Samuel R .D. Reid
Newscaster Tino Monte
Francine Shane Megan Park
Stranger Martin Roach
Colonel Alan van Sprang
Zombie Trooper Matt Birman
Bree Laura DeCarteret
Asian Woman Janet Lo
Zombie Rebuka Hoye
Brody Todd William Schroeder
Zombie Alexandria DeFabiis
Fred Nick Alachiotis
Chief of Police George A. Romero
Armorist Boyd Banks
Zombie Surgeon Gregory Nicotero
Gordo Thorsen Chris Violette
Newsreader Quentin Tarantino
Newsreader Wes Craven
Newsreader Guillermo del Toro
Newsreader Stephen King
Sarge “Nicotine” Crockett Alan van Sprang Alan van Sprang
Patrick O’Flynn Kenneth Welsh
Janet “Jane” O’Flynn Kathleen Munroe
Seamus Muldoon Richard Fitzpatrick
Tomboy Athena Karkanis
Francisco Stefano Di Matteo
Chuck Joris Jarsky
Kenny McDonald Eric Woolfe
James O’Flynn Julian Richings
Tawdry O’Flynn Wayne Robson
D.J. Joshua Peace
Talk Show Host George Stroumboulopoulos

Reception[edit]

Review aggregate results[edit]

Motion picture Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic BFCA
Night of the Living Dead 96% (52 reviews)[5] N/A N/A
Dawn of the Dead 92% (39 reviews)[6] N/A N/A
Day of the Dead 82% (34 reviews)[7] N/A N/A
Land of the Dead 74% (171 reviews)[8] 71 (30 reviews)[9] 63[10]
Diary of the Dead 62% (128 reviews)[11] 66 (29 reviews)[12] 70[13]
Survival of the Dead 30% (84 reviews)[14] 43 (22 reviews)[15] 61[16]
Average ratings 72% 60% 64%

Accolades[edit]

Awards
Motion Picture Organization/Guild Ceremony Category Name Outcome
Night of the Living Dead National Film Preservation Board (1999) National Film Registry Won[17]
Dawn of the Dead
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films 8th Saturn Awards Best Make-Up Tom Savini Nominated[citation needed]
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films 31st Saturn Awards Best DVD Classic Film Release Ultimate Edition Won[18]
International Press Academy 9th Annual Satellite Awards Best Overall DVD Anchor Bay Nominated[19]
Day of the Dead
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films 14th Saturn Awards Best Make-Up Tom Savini Won[20]
Sitges Film Festival (18 ed. 1985) Maria Best Actress Lori Cardille Won[21]
Land of the Dead
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films 32nd Saturn Awards Best Horror Film Nominated[citation needed]
Best Make-Up Howard Berger, Gregory Nicotero Nominated[citation needed]
Directors Guild of Canada (2006) DGC Craft Award Outstanding Achievement In Picture Editing – Feature Film Michael Doherty Nominated[22]
Outstanding Achievement In Production Design – Feature Film Arvinder Grewal Nominated[22]
Outstanding Achievement In Sound Editing – Feature Film Kevin Banks, Nelson Ferreira, Lee de Lang,
Craig Henighan, Jill Purdy, Nathan Robitaille
Nominated[22]
Empire Awards 11th Empire Awards Best Horror Nominated[23]
Teen Choice Awards (2005) Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer Movie Nominated[24]
Diary of the Dead Gérardmer Film Festival (2008) Critics Award George A. Romero Won[25]
Survival of the Dead Venice Film Festival 66th Venice International Film Festival Golden Lion George A. Romero Nominated[citation needed]

See also[edit]

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