Since around 2009, during the month of October, I would decide to watch a handful of horror movies that I would preselect from a list that I kept adding to. Around that time I had re-discovered the horror genre after avoiding it for so many years and felt like I needed a way to catch up on what I missed.
What I think originally drew me into horror was George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. I rewatched a ‘Director’s Cut’ edition of the film on YouTube after hearing Romero died earlier this year and I still enjoyed it like I was seeing it for the first time. During my October horror movie fest every year, I would always make sure to include one or two Romero films in the lineup. And this year, I finally watched the last one (of the ones he wrote).
Having covered all his films, here are my five favorites and what makes them interesting:
Night of the Living Dead – the original zombie movie and Romero’s first film; I rewatched it this last month while reading its original script which turned out to be pretty different in quite a few areas and ultimately turned out so much better the way it was eventually filmed. Romero’s original summary for the movie was something along the lines of, “What happens when a radical political form takes over.”
Season of the Witch (aka, Jack’s Wife) – rare and hard to find (I ordered the DVD on eBay), the film is the follow up to Night of the Living Dead, and is about a bored housewife that decides to become a witch. By the end of the movie you’re left wondering whether she was actually able to cast spells or if she just used becoming a witch as an excuse to do the things she wasn’t able to get herself to do.
The Crazies – similar to zombies taking over in Night of the Living Dead, the film shows us what would happen if a virus developed by our own government had started to infect people.
Martin – similar to the way Season of the Witch leaves you thinking about the main character by the end of the film, you’re not quite sure if Martin turns out to actually be a vampire or just a kid that’s kind of messed up. This one’s also hard to find (I got the DVD from eBay).
Dawn of the Dead – the zombie follow up to Night of the Living Dead, the movie Romero is most famous for, and probably still my absolute favorite. On the podcast, Penn’s Sunday School, Penn Jillette tells a great story about him and Teller after seeing the movie when it first came out and talks about its theme of how the everyday chores of life can slowly take over the things that really make life worth living.
Also worth mentioning are the other great movies I saw this past month: Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (which I rewatched and still find it to be one of the creepiest movies ever), Audition, Rosemary’s Baby, and Altered States.