Halloween has long since passed, granted. But given the overabundance of Christmas decorations even now arising all around us, a bracing splash of horror won’t go amiss. This goes double when the splash comes from George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, urtext of the modern zombie movie. It goes triple when you can watch it free online. (It’s been uploaded in high-definition video, no less, an absolute essential for lo-fi, low-budget gorefests.) Though only released in 1968, the movie appears on the internet legally due to its distributor not indicating their copyright on the film prints. They removed the original title cards, which displayed the considerably less catchy original title Night of the Flesh Eaters, but forgot to put the copyright statement back in with the new ones.
If Night of the Living Dead strikes you as somewhat déclassé for a site like Open Culture, ask yourself whether you’ve actually seen the movie. If you haven’t, then it seems you suffer from a vast gap — a vast, zombie filled gap — in your awareness of twentieth-century cinema culture. The film has even won institutional validation. Just read the titles of these real articles: “Rewriting the Dead: The Tension between Nostalgia and Perversion in George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead,” “Inner-City Exhibition and the Genre Film: Distributing Night of the Living Dead,” “Greek Gifts: Vision and Revision in Two Versions of Night of the Living Dead,” “A Modern Meditation on Death: Identifying Buddhist Teachings in George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.” If you’re looking for a PhD. thesis topic, you may have turned up too late to this particular movie. But it’ll certainly take your mind off gift shopping.