Wednesday, May 2, 2012
No doubt George Romero's Night of the Living Dead is a seminal (think of how many horror films have employed the "___ under siege" plot since) zombie movie, but viewers should be wary about turning to the 1968 classic as a model for what to do when the dead walk the earth. Generally speaking, the film's main characters have the right idea--barricading themselves inside a secluded farmhouse--but they court disaster with some of their specific actions. A QuickList of examples:
Ben sets a zombie corpse (and later a sofa chair) on fire on the lawn right in front of the farmhouse's doorstep--a great way to accidentally set your sanctuary ablaze.
"Let's get some more lights on in this place," Ben prompts Barbra. Apparently he is not concerned about advertising their presence to their predators.
For all his quick thinking, Ben fails to search the farmhouse for signs of occupancy. Good thing Harry Cooper was the only foul figure lurking in the cellar.
(Speaking of Harry: his daughter Karen is lying prostrate with a mysterious illness, and yet he looms over her face blowing a cloud of cigarette smoke. Yeah, that ought to make the poor girl more comfortable.)
Ben boards up the farmhouse's portals, but leaves gaps between the boards across an inexplicably open window large enough for the undead to reach through (and then walks carelessly past that insecure point).
To divert the fire-fearing ghouls, Harry tosses Molotov cocktails out a second-story window--onto the lawn right next to the truck Ben and Tom hope to speed off in.
Pressed for time, Ben decides to shoot the lock off the gas pump. Not your brightest idea there, sparky.
A fumbling Tom spills gasoline next to a torch, then drives off with Judy inside the burning truck. Keep playing with fire, and eventually you get barbecued and eaten.
The film concludes with perhaps the most important "don't" of all: when gun-toting good ol' boys out on a ghoul-shooting spree pass by your house, don't frame your black face in the window for them!
For more practical information on how to stay alive during an epidemic of animate, cannibalistic corpses, check out Max Brook's The Zombie Survival Guide and Matt Mogk's Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies.