The most frightening movie ever made is now a novel! Newsweek calls NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD a, "True Horror Classic."
Why does NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD hit with such chilling impact? Is it because everyday people in a commonplace house are suddenly the victims of a monstrous invasion? Or is it because the ghouls who surround the house with grasping claws were once ordinary people, too?
Decide for yourself as you read, and the horror grips you. All the cannibalism, suspense and frenzy of the smash-hit are here in the novel. This is the ORIGINAL novel by John A. Russo based on the screenplay by John A. Russo and George A. Romero.
The novel for Night of the Living Dead continues to be a favorite among fans and collectors. Burning Bulb Publishing has recently re-issued this special edition of the famous novel.
If you are a fan of the film, let me encourage you to purchase an OFFICIAL DVD directly from me, John Russo. This version is filled with extras and when buying from me, I will sign it for you. Click here for more information.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
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The Movie (1968)
The following synopsis is provided by IMDb and contains spoilers.
Bickering siblings Johnny and Barbra are traveling by car to a rural cemetery, where they visit their father's grave. Johnny teases his sister's fear of the cemetery after dark, saying "They're coming to get you, Barbra!" They are approached by a pale-faced man who stumbles toward them and attacks Barbra. Johnny pulls the man off of Barbra and struggles with him, but is knocked unconscious and possibly dead after tripping and hitting his head violently on the edge of a gravestone. The man then pursues Barbra back to the car, but Barbra cannot start it because the keys are in Johnny's pocket. She takes the car out of gear and it begins to drift away on its own, but she accidentally steers it into a tree. She abandons the car and runs down a roadway to a nearby farmhouse, with the man still pursuing her. She discovers the house seemingly deserted, and the phone is out of order. Her attacker stumbles around the outside of the house looking for her, and is joined by several others. They all seem to be in a kind of trance, behaving in an animalistic way. Exploring the house further, Barbra makes a gruesome find at the top of the stairs: a human body that seems to have been partially devoured by something.
In a panic and attempting to flee the house, Barbra is intercepted by Ben, who arrives in a pickup truck and attacks the mysterious figures with a tire iron. Barbra is further driven into hysteria when she sees Ben violently smashing the skulls of the strange men who keep trying to get into the house. Ben urges her into action and the two of them begin boarding up the doors and windows from the inside with dismantled furniture and scraps of wood. They awkwardly trade their stories; Ben seems to be a drifter who was passing through the area when suddenly a wave of unexplained violence began unfolding. He tells Barbra about a scene of mayhem that he encountered at a diner, and Barbra tells him about the incident with Johnny in the cemetery. When Barbra becomes hysterical and wants to go out after Johnny, she strikes Ben and Ben hits her in the face. Barbra passes out in shock.
Ben goes upstairs and finds a rifle and a radio as Barbra lies incapacitated on a couch in the living room listening to the radio report. Emergency broadcasters tell stories of widespread violence and mayhem being committed by people who seem to be in a 'trance'. Suddenly, Barbra is startled when the cellar door opens and two men emerge from the basement. Ben is attracted by her screams and they confront the newcomers. An older middle-aged man introduces himself as Harry Cooper, and the younger man is named Tom. Harry says that he has his wife, Helen, and his daughter, Karen, are in the basement as well. Karen has been hurt and cannot be moved. Tom has a girlfriend named Judy, also in the cellar.
Immediately the group begins bickering. Ben is furious with Tom and Harry for not coming out earlier to help him barricade the house. Harry is an irrational and domineering man who insists that they all barricade themselves in the cellar and wait for help. Ben refuses, saying that if their attackers ever got into the cellar, it would be the end of all of them, as there is only one entrance -- if they stay upstairs they have a "fighting chance" to hold off their attackers outside. Harry angrily retreats to the cellar with Helen and Karen, and Judy comes upstairs to be with the rest of the group. When his wife, Helen, learns about the group and that they have a radio that keeps them informed, she insists that they go upstairs into the house to help out.
Radio reports explain that an epidemic of mass murder is sweeping across the eastern seaboard of the United States. Later, Ben discovers a television and the whole group watches the emergency broadcaster who reveals that the murderers are recently deceased human beings who have returned to life and who are consuming their victims' flesh. Experts including scientists and military generals are not sure of the cause of the reanimation, but one scientist is certain that it is the result of radiation emanating from a Venus space probe that exploded in the Earth's atmosphere. The report instructs that a gunshot or heavy blow to the head will stop the "ghouls" and that posses of armed men are patrolling the countryside to restore order.
The TV broadcast provides a constantly scrolling list of local towns that contain "rescue stations" to provide citizens with protection and necessities. Ben notices a nearby town called Willard and devises a plan to escape using his truck, but it needs refueling. While Harry throws Molotov cocktails out a second floor window at the walking dead outside the house, Ben exits the house armed with the rifle and a flaming torch. Tom and Judy offer assistance, but when they arrive at a fuel pump near the house, Tom carelessly splashes gasoline on the torch, starting a grass fire that quickly spreads to cover the truck. Judy's sleeve is caught on something inside the truck which explodes with Tom and Judy inside. Ben runs back to the house to find that Harry locked him out. He kicks the door open and forces his way inside, and after Harry helps him board up the front door again, he punches Harry repeatedly for his cowardice. As Cooper watches in horror, some of the living dead begin eating Tom and Judy's charred remains.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD®
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If you are a fan of the film, let me encourage you to purchase an OFFICIAL Millennium Edition DVD directly from me, John Russo. This version is filled with extras and when buying from me, I will sign it for you. Click here for more information.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
A little later, another broadcast comes on the television, showing a local news reporter (Bill Cardille) interviewing a local sheriff (George Kosana) about the search and rescue operations that are underway in the area. Another news report indicates that the levels of the "mysterious radiation" in the area have been increasing, suggesting that the phenomenon is going to become even more widespread than it already is, but also that the situation is going to be under control soon. At that moment, the house goes dark when the area loses power. Perhaps triggered by the darkness, the ghouls surrounding the house begin to attack, attempting to break through all of the boarded up the doors and windows of the house. Ben manages to hold them back, but drops his rifle. Harry seizes the fallen rifle and turns it on Ben. Cooper orders his wife to go down to the cellar. Ben manages to wrest the rifle away from Harry and then shoots him. Harry stumbles into the cellar and dies, approaching Karen's seemingly lifeless body.
Helen also attempts to hold off the zombies, whose great numbers are beginning to overwhelm the barricades over the windows and doors. Barbra suddenly throws herself into the battle, and Helen escapes back into the cellar, where she discovers that her daughter has been transformed into one of the living dead and is consuming part of Harry's corpse. Karen stabs her mother repeatedly with a cement trowel, killing her, before going upstairs.
Meanwhile, the undead finally break into the house and Barbra sees her brother Johnny among them. The resultant shock causes her to lower her defenses and she is carried away into the zombie horde. Ben retreats into the cellar, locking the door behind him (which, ironically, was Harry's plan all along). He shoots the reanimated Harry and Helen Cooper.
In the morning, a posse approaches the house and proceeds to kill the remaining zombies. Hearing the commotion, Ben cautiously goes up the cellar stairs into the living room, but is shot in the head by an overzealous posse member who mistakes him for a zombie. His body is carried from the house and burned with the zombie corpses.
The Movie (1990) Remake
The following synopsis is provided by IMDb and contains spoilers.
Johnny (Bill Moseley) and Barbara (Patricia Tallman) are visiting their mother's grave in a cemetery out in the middle of nowhere. During their visit, Barbara sees a man sobbing and mummering "I'm sorry," when out of nowhere, Barbara is attacked by a zombie. Her brother comes to defend her, but is killed. Barbara runs for help and finds a seemingly abandoned farmhouse. Then, Ben (Tony Todd) shows up to the house with a crow bar, saying there are these creatures everywhere. The two proceed to clear the house of zombies and begin barricading the doors and windows.
However, they discover that they aren't alone in the house. Married couple Harry and Helen Cooper (Tom Towles and McKee Anderson), their daughter Sarah (Heather Mazur) , and teenage couple Tom Landry and Judy Rose Larson (William Butler and Katie Finneran) are all survivors who had been hiding in the cellar. What follows are the attempts by the survivors to defend the house under siege from the undead. The group is left divided over what their next course of action should be. Harry believes everyone should retreat to the cellar and barricade the door to wait for the authorities. Ben thinks the cellar is a "death trap" and that they would be better served fortifying the house, which at least has alternate escape routes, and Barbara suggests that they should all leave the house on foot while they still can after she notices that the zombies are very slow and that they can just "walk right past them". An argument between Ben and Harry leaves the Coopers in the basement tending to their daughter, who was bitten by a zombie and is near death, and the remaining members of the group upstairs to continue their work reinforcing the doors and windows. However, the loud sound of hammers hitting the nails into the wood attracts more and more zombies to the house.
A plan is ultimately devised to escape using Ben's truck, which is out of fuel. Ben, who lived on the farm prior to the epidemic, states that there is a gas pump on the property but it is locked. A search of a corpse on the property produces a set of keys. Judy Rose, Tom, and Ben proceed up the hill toward the gas pump but their plan begins to unravel when Ben falls from the back of the truck and is left to defend himself against the undead. After discovering the key to the gas pump is not among the bunch they brought with them, Tom attempts to shoot the lock off. The falling gasoline is ignited, trailing after them in the truck. The resulting explosion kills both Tom and Judy.
Ben returns to the house to find things beginning to dissolve into chaos. Harry has wrestled Barbara's gun away from her and is now armed. Unbeknownst to the survivors upstairs, the Coopers' daughter Sarah has died from the bite on her arm and has become a zombie; she attacks and bites her distraught mother, who does not defend herself. When Sarah makes her way upstairs she triggers a shootout between her father, who is trying to protect her, and Ben and Barbara, who are trying to protect themselves. Both Ben and Harry are badly wounded. Harry retreats upstairs to the attic, while Ben makes his way to the cellar. Barbara leaves the house, now being overrun by the undead, to attempt to find help.
Barbara eventually joins a group of zombie hunting locals who are attempting to clear the area of the undead. Back at their base, the hunters are having cock fights with the zombies as well as hanging the undead on nooses and messing with them (similar to how the hunters used zombies as passtime target practice in the original Dawn of the Dead). She returns with them to the farmhouse the next day to find Ben has died of his wounds and reanimated. Harry emerges from the attic alive, Barbara kills him in either a fit of rage or just because of pure dislike for the guy and turns to leave the house, telling the vigilantes they have "another one for the fire."