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Birth of the Living Dead – 7

Director – Rob Kuhns

Cast – George A. Romero, Mark Harris, Gale Anne Hurd, Chiz Schultz, Larry Fessenden, Jason Zinoman, Christopher Cruz, Elvis Mitchell, Samuel D. Pollard, S. William Hinzman

Release Year – 2014

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Following Doc of the Dead I checked out another documentary involving zombies, this one titled Birth of the Living Dead. Focused solely on Night of the Living Dead and not zombies in general, this is a concentrated experience that delves not only into the filming of George A. Romero’s classic but also its lasting impact on society. At a brisk 76 minutes director Rob Kuhns employs Romero, Larry Fessenden, and a slew of others to tell the tale surrounding the quintessential zombie film that “started it all”.

The film begins with Romero talking about his background and early days filming shorts and commercials for the Latent Image company. After a failed screenplay about set in medieval times he read Richard Matheson’s “I Am Legend”, an apocalyptic “vampire” story and the inspiration for what eventually became Night of the Living Dead was born. We see the immense collaboration that took place during filming, from cast and crew to the local townsfolk, everyone involved offered a selfless helping hand.

I really liked how Kuhn focused on the impact of the film as much as he did the production. In a sense Night of the Living Dead was an “eff you” to Hollywood and for a number of reasons – all delved into in the documentary. Romero and Fessenden contribute the most to the experience, with film historians and producers filling in with their take on the film’s accomplishments. Even if this is not your favorite zombie film, this effort is a worthy watch that will leave you appreciating Night and Romero for opening the door to what is the modern day zombie – a far cry from the somnambulist and voodoo slaves of the 1920s to 1940s.

Overall, Birth of the Dead is a must for those who enjoy the zombie sub-genre or want to learn more about what made it as iconic as it is today.

Rating: 7/10

…Additional Stills…

That infamous forehead….

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