The Walking Dead. The Newsflesh Trilogy. World War Z. Pride Prejudice and Zombies. Resident Evil. Shaun of the Dead.
All those highwater marks (and quite a few low water marks, sensibly not mentioned, too) of the modern zombie genre would likely not exist, or at at least not in their current form, were it not for a mistake by the company that distribution George Romero’s iconic 1968 film Night of the Living Dead.
Widely recognised as the film that gave birth to modern zombie storytelling – previously zombies had been almost exclusive preserve of Haitian voodoo folkore with older movies drawing from that belief system – the film led to Romero, who died recently at the age of 77, being christened the father of zombie movies.
As Kaptain Kristian notes in his latest beautifully-produced, richly-informative video essay, Night of the Living Dead has been hugely influential in shaping how zombies are perceived by the public at large.
But its influence stems from one critically-important poor decision by the distribution company, an oversight which had huge ramifications for pretty much everyone involved and led to the huge zombie business that we know today.
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