Night of the Living Dead question (spoilers)

So I finally watched Night of the Living Dead (I don’t care for horror movies, but I promised a zombie-loving friend I’d watch it). On the whole I was quite impressed, especially since it looks like Romero made it for the change he got from buying breakfast that day. It’s fun to see the origin of so many tropes in later movies, and I thought it was surprisingly well made.

That said, why the hell didn’t the corpse upstairs rise? I spent the whole damned movie thinking somebody was going to get a nasty surprise every time they went upstairs, and that never happened! (I know not everything is explained, but I wasn’t sure if I’d missed a reason on the broadcast or something.)

My theory is that it had a head injury that we couldn’t see because the camera angle. IIRC Ben also moved that corpse outside just in case.

From everything we saw it was up there for much longer than it took any other zombie to rise. Debrainsing would make sense, though (and obviously the couple in the exploding car didn’t rise once they got, er, parted out.)

I don’t remember this situation exactly, but the story in the movie is:

Zombies only rose for 2 reasons:

  1. Infection by another zombie.
  2. Being dead when the meteor passed.

Anyone who didn’t die by by zombie, after the meteor passed, didn’t become a zombie.

Well, hopefully nobody else ate that lady’s face. I’m not sure that “if you weren’t already dead” thing was stated in the movie - was that perhaps in one of the background radio bits?

Speculation (in the film) was that the outbreak was caused by a contaminated space probe that exploded in the atmosphere; though I don’t think it was ever definitively stated that that was the cause.

Unlike Return Of The Living Dead, in which long-dead-and-buried bodies reanimated, it seems in Night Of The Living Dead that only those people who died after the explosion (or other event) were reanimated – except for the ones infected by biting, of course.

At the end, the news reporter said it was because of a meteor, or there was speculation to that effect.

Interesting story here: Romero created the first film with the help of John A. Russo. When they split, Russo kept the copyright for the “Living Dead” moniker, and made a series of films that essentially created a new mythology from the original film (with the comedy and the government chemicals, etc.) Romero wasn’t involved with the “living dead” films that followed until the modern remakes.

Reanimation has never required infection in Romero’s universe.

The otherwise idiotic ending of the remake (wherein Ben at some point dies, and is actually a zombie when he’s shot) makes this clearer, but it was never implied in the original. In fact, the news report states that ‘the recently dead are rising, and committing murderous acts’. Note the all inclusive nature of that statement.

Also, the hypothesis presented (as only a hypothesis) in the news report is that it may have been due to a space probe that had recently returned from Venus. However, at no point does this rise above a hypothesis, and from the beginning Night to the end of Land, at the very least, they do not know what causes it, nor any way to prevent it. The actual cause of the rising of zombies is never established, but every movie in the series establishes that it happens spontaneously. Being attacked by a zombie will help along the dying part, but is not a prerequisite to rising.

Actually it was a radioactive space probe from Venus (ie one that we sent to Venus) that exploded in the Earth’s atmosphere. There was speculation that it was the cause, but it was never confirmed. Nobody in any of Romero’s following Living Dead films ever mentioned the probe.

I typed something along those lines, but deleted it for brevity.

Something ‘environmental’ happened, such that those who died after ‘it’ happened became reanimated. This implies (to me) that ‘it’ is airborne, and that it requires a respiring human as a host. When the human dies, ‘it’ does whatever it does to reanimate the body. So my thoughts are these:
[ul][li]‘It’ isn’t fatal, in and of itself, when it is inhaled.[/li][li]Since it is environmental, everyone is infected and will reanimate soon after brain death.[/li][li]‘It’ is fatal if it is ‘injected’ into the blood stream, as with a bite.[/ul][/li]Thus, being bitten or killed by a zombie only hastens the effect.

It does seem strange that the little girl was zombified with a bite to the arm if there is no zombie “infection”. Unless it was one hell of a bite, I guess. But it didn’t seem to have been - the parents weren’t running around yelling “we have to get out here before she bleeds to death!” or anything. I got the feeling death was not expected in that case.

Seems to me that being bitten by a rotting corpse has a pretty high probability of giving the victim a fatal infection, regardless of whatever mechanism is animating the dead. Or, maybe the process which causes changes in a human corpse sufficient for it to rise from the dead also has the incidental side effect of turning them into excellent breeding grounds for highly aggressive staph bacteria. Point is, “death by zombie bite” doesn’t necessarily have to be directly caused by the same agent that created zombies in the first place.

Well, yeah, but it was only a couple hours - even one hell of an infection should take longer than that to kill a healthy child, right?

I remember it as being a couple of days, but I could be way off - haven’t seen the movie in years.

One study showed that the same bacteria in the saliva of monitor lizards usually takes two or three days to reproduce enough to cover a petri dish. When it comes from a monitor lizard, it covers the dish in eight hours. Also, Yersinia pestis can produce symproms of bubonic plague one day after exposure. So it’s plausible that the unknown pathogen became highly toxic after incubating in a reanimated corpse, such that it could kill a person fairly quickly.

Really, the pathogen is a MacGuffin. It doesn’t matter what it is; only that it moves the plot along.

Oh, sure, no doubt. But it’s interesting to throw around ideas about how it might really work, at least in part because it can inspire some alternative takes on the zombie genre. How would a zombie apocalypse movie work differently, if taking a huge doze of antibiotics right after being bitten could prevent someone from turning, for example? Or what if someone is protecting a bitten loved one, because he’s hoping that antibiotics might save them? I see to recall one of the Resident Evil movies playing with this idea, but the results proved to be less than what one could hope for. Or, here’s one: what if antibiotics are only partially successful in fighting the zombie infection? One of Russo’s Living Dead spin-offs featured a character who was infected by a zombie bite, but for some reason (which I don’t think the film ever explained) never lost his higher mental faculties. Not a good film, as I recall, but an interesting idea.

A couple of works have played with the zombie bite trope to good effect, too. The comic book Hitman featured an issue where a mad scientist invents a zombie gas which he wants to sell to the military. When he gets the cold shoulder from them, he breaks into an aquarium, kills all the animals, and floods the place with his gas. The book’s hero is hired to go in, kill all the zombie animals, and put down the scientist. One of his side-kicks is bitten by a zombie seal, and immediately hacks off his hand to prevent the spread of the infection. Only after he’s done, does anyone point out that the zombies are created by chemical exposure, not by a virus, and there’s no pathogen for a zombie’s bite to spread.

The Norwiegan horror film, Dead Snow, about a bunch of skiers on vacation fighting zombie Nazis, plays with a similar theme. Although the zombie in this film are the result of a curse, and are unable to spread the infection to others, the characters don’t know this. One of them gets bitten on the hand, and saws it off as fast as he can. As soon as he’s done, another zombie erupts from the snow between his legs and bites him in the crotch. He declines to attempt another disinfection at that point.

Just a few hours. The zombies start in early evening, everything occurs in one night. Ben is killed in the morning. The girl is bitten on the way to the cemetery.

Although all the TV stuff happens in daylight. Whoops!

That would make sense, what with the film being called Night of the Living Dead, and not Fortnight of the Living Dead.

Return Of The Living Dead. :stuck_out_tongue:

Braindead (Dead Alive). :stuck_out_tongue: