Friday, December 5, 2008

Race and Night of the Living Dead

I first watched Night of the Living Dead when I was eighteen. I grew up in a small town in Kansas. Sheltered, I guess you could say. The eighteen-year-old me didn't grasp the heavy race-relations overtones in the film.

I just watched it again at thirty-three. The thirty-three year old me wants to beat the eighteen year old for not understanding the depth and complexity of that movie.

Boy, have I changed. The whole movie can be read as a treatise on race in the 1960s. Notice the whole mob is white? Did you watch the credits and see those pictures of the "ghoul" lynch mob posing next to Ben's body? I'm not the first to point any of this out, and I won't be the last. How shocking was it for a crowd in the late 1960s to see a black man slap a white woman? Were those crowds paying attention?

Are we paying attention now? Horror is often considered the bastard cousin of the more legitimate speculative fiction. Horror is just for thrills, they say.

Watch Night of the Living Dead if you haven't already. Watch it again if you have seen it.


Nadia said...

I haven't noticed that yet. I believe I'll have to watch the movie again. Thanks for the info. By the way, about Night of the Living Dead, well, it is a movie I was looking forward to watching for a long time, but here in my country it used to be difficult to find old movies. Finally, I could watch it about 4 years ago, and it really gave me the creeps. Even though it is old, it really makes you have goosebumps. Hahaha!
See you!

Aaron Polson said...

Race relations were pretty tense in the U.S. back in the late 60s.