In 1968 a young college drop-out named George A. Romero gathered an unlikely team - from Pittsburgh policeman, iron workers, housewives and a roller rink owner to create a low budget horror film that would revolutionise the industry, and spawn a new flesh-eating monster that endures to this day. That film was' Night of The Living Dead'. 'Birth of the Living Dead' is the story of how they managed to pull off the greatest guerrilla shoot of all time. The film includes exclusive new interviews with the godfather of zombie films himself, as well as brand new animations created by Gary Pullin. Put together with sixties archival footage, this film shows just how politically charged Night was, set against the backdrop of race riots and Vietnam the film challenged the establishment and had enormous fun doing it. With a range of candid interviews and fascinating insight, 'Birth of the Living Dead' is an absolute must have for any horror fan. Prepare to enter the original zombie universe and remember: "They're coming to get you, Barbara".
As a massive fan of cult horror film Night of the Living Dead there was no way I wasn’t going to enjoy this documentary but as a film studies academic there was a small chance I would know most of it already.
As there’s no narrative to clarify (if you haven’t seen Night of the Living Dead stop reading this right now and do that before you do anything else) I’ll cut straight to the chase; Birth of the Living Dead isn’t like most movie documentaries; this isn’t an interviews with cast members thing or a chance for celebrities to gush about how much they loved the original, instead it is a retrospective in which the film maker, the now seventy-something George A Romero, offers audiences an insight into not only his own directorial decisions but also an understanding of historical and social significance of the film.
There are some great stories and anecdotes shared here, as well as some very interesting revelations made, all of which is pulled together perfectly with a frank and almost friendly conversational tone. As an academic I was reminded of many a late night getting off on discussing films and taking pleasure in the sheer knowledge and insight of others, which made the tone of Birth of the Living Dead even more wonderfully nostalgic.
There was nothing here that blew my mind and maybe that’s because I am an academic, yet I’m not so sure this is the sort of piece that would appeal to your run-of-the-mill horror fan. All I can offer in conclusion is then my personal opinion, I thought this was great, entertaining and interesting although I hardly feel as though my DVD collection is incomplete without it.