#24: Night of the Living Dead 1968 Dir. George A. Romero
If you ever want to know where the zombie apocalypse came from, just ask George A. Romero, he invented it. Before Night of the Living Dead, zombies were only featured in voodoo related stories, and were far from the ravening hordes we know today. Night is the story about a group of people trapped inside an abandoned farm house, while zombies pound at the door. As they try to hold off the ever growing numbers of the undead, they also fight each other. With this film, Romero was laying the groundwork for several socially conscious horror films still to come. Night is not a story about zombies, so much as it is a story about the rifts in society. It is also notable for having a strong, black protagonist during a time when such casting would have been unthinkable. If you're a fan of zombie movies but have never seen this film, then you're not really a fan. Night of the Living Dead is a harsh and believable detour into a world overtaken by death and where human beings are still the villains.
NOTE: I had plans to mount a stage version when I was at university, and was fortunate enough to have my cast picked out. When I asked my friend Asedo Wilson if he would play the lead part of Ben, he enthusiastically accepted before saying: (SPOILERS AHEAD) ["Night of the Living Dead is proof that a brother can survive the zombie apocalypse, but can't survive hillbillys with guns."] Unfortunately the show never got past the planning stages.