I remember the first time I saw Night of the Living Dead. It was way back in the seventies. Back before video games, before the internet and iTunes, and before Paris Hilton.
I love old movies, especially old black and white horror movies. So when I saw this old horror movie on TV that night, I stopped using the antique remote control to flip through the channels.
“Hmmm, NIGHT of the LIVING DEAD? Never heard of it. What is it…an old vampire movie?” That’s cool because I like vampire movies. “Yep, it must be a vampire move. The car is entering a graveyard.”
30 Minutes Later…
Oh my God! What the hell is this? I know for a fact that I have never watched this damned movie. How did I miss this one? And what the hell is up with those TV reporters? Don’t they know that reporting the phenomenon in that way will only serve to further panic people?
“As unbelievable as it sounds these seem to be the facts. The bodies of the recently dead are returning to life and attacking the living. It has been confirmed that in all cases, the reanimated bodies of the dead are attacking the living and eating their victims!”
SHIT! That’s not good to hear. Not at all!
But, I think it was the ending that sealed this movie’s fate as one of the all-time best, horror pictures. It certainly sealed my fate as a life-long fan of the man who created the genre.
Two days later, I was reminded of that movie when I was on my way to a party with some friends of mine. I was driving down a winding, country road. It was close to midnight when a lone figure emerged from the woods and staggered into the rutted, dirt road in front of me. The lurching man-made his way toward my moving vehicle in ungainly steps and fell face first into my windshield. His dirty hands groped the glass as he released a parched wail, his vacuous eyes fixed. He slid across to the side window as I drove past him, his hands still searching for a way inside the car as he fell behind.
The passengers in my car, (two girls and another guy) screamed out, not sure what was happening. For all they knew, I had just run over someone. Of course, I knew what was happening. The zombie apocalypse was upon us! I have to destroy the brain to kill the ghoul, and it must be done before he infects another!
I pulled over and stepped out of the car.
He moved in an unnatural way with one arm to his side like a broken wing. His head hung forward, as if it was too heavy to hold erect. But his eyes stared straight ahead and focused on me as I approached.
I said, “Hey buddy, are you okay? You didn’t hurt yourself, did you?”
The man fell forward into me, his breath reeking of booze.
“Nah man. I’m fine. I was just pissin’ in the woods when you drove up on me.”
I laughed and patted him on the back.
“You must have been at the party we are on our way to now.”
He said, “Yeah, it’s a good one.”
“Cool. Have a good night and be careful. Are you sure you’re okay?
“I’m cool, Dude,” he told me.
I thought about how much I hate to be called Dude, and said… “Okay, don’t get run over again,”
“Nah…I just live around the corner,” he said.
He continued on his way, and I didn’t even have to destroy his brain. It looked like he was doing a pretty good job of that on his own.
“Value those brain cells,” is what I thought I should’ve shouted out to him as he staggered down the road.
About a month later I saw the first trailer for a new movie…NIGHT’S sequel: DAWN of the DEAD.
It looked interesting.
I made a point to go see it.