"Night of the Living Dead" now public domain, download here.

The original zombie horror classic is now free from the bonds of vile capitalist control. Enjoy.

I was under the impression that it has always been in the public domain due to the final cut of the movie not having a copyright notice. I never believed that explanation, but the sheer amount of versions running around seems to help this theory. I also think I read it in the trivia section of a DVD I bought.

“They’re coming for you, Barbara!”

As long as the topic’s been raised, what’s the deal with the ending?

I’d heard that the flick had racial undertones, but the only time I caught any of that was in the still photos at the very end, when the black guy’s body is being hauled around with meathooks. Those shots were obviously reminiscent of those horrible old lynching photos, but in the rest of it I didn’t see any such subtext at all, unless the reaction to the zombies was supposed to be a parallel to racist attitudes toward non-whites back then. This strikes me as unlikely though, since if you’re writing an allegory about fighting for the underdog it’s usually more effective to associate the underdog with something that’s not undead and doesn’t eat dead bodies. What gives?

You have to understand the time it was released to understand the overtones.

First, I’m sure from what I have read and heard, George Romero never set out to talk about the issue of race at the time. The actor he hired as Ben just happened to be black.

In the script Ben during the verbal conflicts came off as very assertive and confrontational. Considering the actor was black and his prime nemisis was a middle class white guy the conflict seemed elevated beyond just should we hide in the basement or in the attic discussions they had.

In the world of 1967/68 it was a powerful statement when a black character questioned the white guy or openly defied him. Now adays there is nothing controversial in that and in some cases it has become cliche.

As for the copy write issue From everything I have heard it was a bad mistake which cost Mr Romero a great deal of royalties, but also perhaps alowed his simple little movie to get a wider distribution than if it was under his control.

Just to keep this on the main page, FREE MOVIE GUYS! Check it out.

From what I understand, NOTLD was originally thought to be in the public domain, due to multiple screwups by the Walter Read organization, the film’s original distributors. George Romero originally had a copyrighted copy… under the original title, Night Of Anubis.

The Walter Read organization, on the other hand, was looking for a quick buck, while minimizing their own outlay, and their print wound up being technically public domain, due to the bureaucratic screwup. The title, from what I understand, is STILL public domain…

…but Romero applied for, fought for, and was granted a copyright over the actual MOVIE. (Source: The Phantom’s Ultimate Video Guide, 1988 edition)

…unfortunately, a great many outfits, including Blockbuster Video, continue to behave as if the film is public domain, leaving Romero two choices: go broke suing everyone in sight, or simply make what money he can off his franchise and ignore the pirates. Tough choice.