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apocalyptic horror

Posted on March 26, 2020

Night of the Living Dead in the Time of Confinement and the Coronavirus

Guest Post

George A. Romero’s classic zombie trilogy, Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978), and Day of the Dead (1985), is the ultimate example of the zombie as a social metaphor. Countless articles have been written about each film, especially the racial undertones of the first film. In the age of the Coronavirus and confinement, Night of the Living Dead suddenly warrants a re-watch. When survivors are trapped inside a farmhouse, the social equilibrium is reset–and the film mirrors some of the worst aspects of human nature during a societal breakdown and confinement. Even the (anti)hero, Ben (Duane Jones), commits heinous acts that he most likely would not have otherwise. Yet, the film also shows a few of humanity’s bright spots.

Though shot outside of Pittsburgh, Night of the Living Dead is a film that could take place anywhere, which, again, makes it all the more relevant during this global pandemic. As of the time of writing this, COVID-19 has impacted every state and nearly every country. Cities have been hit the worst, specifically New York City, but the virus knows no boundaries and has started to spread through rural pockets of the country, more evocative of Romero’s setting. The radio and television reports that speak of the growing outbreak in the film have an eerie parallel to our current moment, as each day brings more grim news. Read more

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