What Makes A Film A Cult Classic?

Night of the Living Dead Review | Amber Morant Fantasy Author

These blog posts have been filled with announcements of the shame of not seeing/reading half of these movies and books. The latest one? Night of the Living Dead. Yep, the 1960s edition. I think the only living dead film I’ve ever watched was one where they were all trapped inside of a mall. I don’t even know if it was a living dead film and I don’t think I ever watched it all the way through. Then there is Shaun of the Dead, but does that really count?

I ended up watching this late at night with my husband (who hates horror movies mind you) because I wanted a little spook in my week. That spook never came with this film. I’m sure back when it came out, this was terrifying to watch, but for me, it was more like a comedy.

Once we did finish the movie, my husband couldn’t even understand why it was so well-liked as a film. My reasoning? If you can feel like you’re part of Mystery Science Theater 3000 while watching it, then it’s most likely a cult classic.

What really got both of us was the characters. We both expected a lot more racism to come out of the film, especially with a black main character featured. However, there wasn’t a lot of over-the-top racism shown at all. Not even when he slapped the woman (which honestly should have probably happened a lot earlier in the film but this guy was patient with her) did we get her being offended at him doing it. Loving vs Virginia was still fresh in many people’s minds by two years at this point, so wouldn’t you expect to see the same reflect in the films? I guess not.

Then my husband and I started making bets. Note, he is black so even he gets frustrated with this. We were sure the black character would die early in the film somehow. No, we watched everyone else die and we were shocked by the end thinking he somehow survived and welcomed that breath of fresh air…and then it happened.

Night of the Living Dead Review | Amber Morant Fantasy Author

The ending didn’t sit well with me at all with how the police force behaved in the situation. At first, I thought that was the actual racism, but really when we see the scene, you almost can’t tell it’s a black man in the window. No, it’s more of a call on those who are so willing to just go out and shoot people without being in trouble for it. I recalled the moment the sheriff mentioned there were people clawing at a shed to get in and after they shot the supposed zombies, there was no one in the shed. Seems just like an off thing and just zombies being weird, but these zombies are obviously intelligent. They can use tools and open doors! No, after thinking about it, these men killed innocent people attempting to flee to safety, and instead of checking to see if they were zombies, the men killed the people and claimed them as such.

Overall, the movie was definitely fun and I’m glad I watched it with my husband so we could laugh at some of the bad acting and plot holes abound. It makes me almost want to look up other cult classic movies to binge. Almost.

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One thought on “What Makes A Film A Cult Classic?

  1. I think it’s important to be careful about taking today’s themes and applying them after the fact to movies, etc., made years ago. We live in an era when people are pointing fingers and shouting “racism” much as people in Salem pointed fingers and shouted “Witch!”

    George Romero was forward-acting as a director when he cast an actor who happened to be black in the lead. Except for certain Sydney Poitier movies, that just never happened in the 1960s. Because Night of the Living Dead was a “B” movie, people do not consider that Romero’s casting was actually trailblazing. However, it was.

    I agree with you that the posse out to eradicate the zombies were pulling quick triggers, and it was a sign that these groups lacked the training to be conducting such activities. However, it gave the film realism, in my humble opinion.

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