Night of the Living Dead

9 September 2016

Elliot Stein of The Village Voice saw the film as an ardent critique of American involvement in Vietnam, arguing that it “was not set in Transylvania, but Pennsylvania — this was Middle America at war, and the zombie carnage seemed a grotesque echo of the conflict then raging inVietnam Pauline Kael, 5001 Nights at the Movies (Henry Holt and Company, 1991 Elliot Stein, “The Dead Zones: ‘George A. Romero’ at the American Museum of the Moving Image”, The Village Voice(New York), January 8–14, 2003 http://www. filmsite. org/posters/psyc2. jpghttp://www. filmsite. rg/reddot. gif Alfred Hitchcock’s powerful, complex psychological thriller, Psycho (1960) is the “mother” of all modern horror suspense films – it single-handedly ushered in an era of inferior screen ‘slashers’ with blood-letting and graphic, shocking killings The master of suspense skillfully manipulates and guides the audience into identifying with the main character, luckless victim Marion (a Phoenix real-estate secretary), and then with that character’s murderer – a crazy and timid taxidermist named Norman (a brilliant typecasting performance by Anthony Perkins).

Hitchcock’s techniques voyeuristically implicate the audience with the universal, dark evil forces and secrets present in the film. Psycho also broke all film conventions by displaying its leading female protagonist having a lunchtime affair in her sexy white undergarments in the first scene; also by photographing a toilet bowl – and flush – in a bathroom (a first in an American film), and killing off its major ‘star’ Janet Leigh a third of the way into the film .

Night of the Living Dead Essay Example

Film reviews, for instance, will sometimes take up political or sociological concerns in the course of issuing formal-aesthetic judgments. Night of the Living Deaddramatizes the bewildering and uncanny transformation of human beings into non-human forms. Indeed, like all metamorphosis narratives, the film carries uncomfortable messages about identity — about what it means to be a human being and about the terror of alienation.

The film’s power to unsettle its audience also derives from its focus on the taboo subject of cannibalism (which it depicts far more graphically than previous zombie films). In the eighteenth century, the English ironist Jonathan Swift (1996) wroteA Modest Proposal,a darkly satirical attack on the privations suffered by the Irish people at the hands of the English in which the author ironically proposed that infants be killed and eaten in order to solve the problem of poverty in Ireland.

Night of the Living Deadalso uses cannibalism as a metaphor for exploitative power relations. Thus, while it deals with a quite different set of social problems, Romero’s film can also be seen a sinister satire that exploits an outrageous premise in the interests of social and political critique. In his book Understanding Popular Culture, John Fiske writes: It is not violence per se that characterises popular culture, but only that violence whose structure makes it into a metaphor for the distribution of power in society. Fiske, 1989: 137) According to Fiske, then, violence is a metaphor for inequitable (and presumably unjust) power relations in society. It is important, however, to understand this point in historical context. Violence became more commonly depicted in films and on television in the late 1960s, during a socially turbulent period when social hierarchies were being challenged  Night of the Living Dead draws on Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), especially in its film craft: the use of shadow and camera angles. Night of the Living Dead (and, indeed, its worthy equels) reminds us of something that the recent outbreak of zombie films may have caused us to forget: the oppositional potential of popular culture. In this sense, the film is an undead classic that can still tell us something about who we are — and warn us about what we might turn into. Waller, Gregory A. (1986), The Living and the Undead (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press) Swift, Jonathan (1996), A Modest Proposal and other Satirical Works (New York: Dover) like most genre movies, reflect the values and ideology of the culture that produced them.

Don Siegel’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), for example, about an invasion of alien seed-pods that replace people with emotional replicas, is typically discussed in relation to American contemporary culture in the 1950s. Unlike earlier horror films, Invasion of the Body Snatchers imagines infection on an apocalyptic rather than personal scale, as in the vampire myth, a clear reflection of Cold War fears of nuclear destruction. But even as Americans felt threatened by possible nuclear war and Communist infiltration, the film also expresses a fear of creeping conformism at home.

Invasion makes the commonplace seem creepy, and in the climax a mob of plain-looking townsfolk pursue Miles and Becky out of town in a horrific evocation of the kind of witch-hunting mentality witnessed in the United States just a few years before the film’s releaseRead more: Critical debates – Horror Films – actor, children, cinema http://www. filmreference. com/encyclopedia/Criticism-Ideology/Horror-Films-CRITICAL-DEBATES. html#ixzz1qab4D5B2

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