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Night of the Living Dead: Behind the Scenes of the Most Terrifying Zombie Movie Ever Paperback – September 1, 2010

3.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This chatty but valuable piece of cinema history offers a complete study of the creation and consequences of one of the most famous horror movies ever made, George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. After briefly covering the predecessors of this zombie masterpiece, the book proceeds to describe concept, casting, scripting, cinematography, and doing everything on a budget that would not pay a modern equivalent’s catering bill. We also have analyses of the movie’s role in elevating the status of zombies in American popular culture, including both movies and, lately, the print media. We even have a look at the Living Dead Festival for the movie’s numerous and tenacious fans, and a “Where are they now?” for the people involved (some departed, none of these known to have returned). Most valuable, perhaps, is a complete screenplay. In equal measure entertaining and informative, this one belongs in sf, fantasy, horror, and pop-culture collections alike. --Roland Green
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Citadel (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806533315
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806533315
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,106,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Only the first quarter of the book is about the original 'Night of the Living Dead.' Many chapters are about other George Romero movies. The cover suggests the whole book is about the first film. After the early chapters, there are only intermittent paragraphs about it.

The information and reminiscences are wonderful, and they come from the principal players and crew. I learned a lot about the movie, and the photographs are fantastic!

I just wish more of the book was about the first classic, not the tangential movies covered in the rest of the text. These portions of the book seem irrelevant, especially the blurbs about other zombie movies.
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Format: Paperback
B-movie expert Joe Kane (a.k.a. The Phantom of the Movies) puts his touch on the tangled tale of making 1968's "Night of the Living Dead." Through interviews with the primary participants (some posthumously culled from previously printed sources), Kane recalls the struggles of Pittsburgh, PA-based The Latent Image, Inc., a commercial/industrial film production house, to come up with a viable concept for a feature film they could shoot on a shoestring budget. After discussing John Russo's idea of "ghoulish people or alien creatures ... feeding off human corpses," George Romero then came up with forty pages of story that was basically the first half of what would become NOTLD's plot. Once the story was in place (Russo would complete the screenplay), the major hurdle of actually making their first full-length feature loomed large. While the making-of section contains much that's been previously revealed through various print and video sources over the four decades since NOTLD's release, it's the aftermath of production where the story gets truly complex. Continental Releasing lost the film's copyright, then reneged on royalty payments, and lawsuits ensued until they finally went bankrupt. Kane follows the paths of the various sequels by Romero and Russo, as well as the remakes (beginning with 1990's NOTLD) and rip-offs (NOTLD 3D, anyone?). Kane's writing style is conversational, so you never feel lectured at while he tells the tortured tales of the film's four-decade odyssey.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book in one week--which is quite an accomplishment for me because I'm such a slow reader--and I enjoyed it a whole lot!

It was chock full of interesting details and anecdotes about one of my all-time favorite horror movies--some of which I already knew, and many of which I didn't. And I love that it covers ALL of Romero's work. PLus, it discusses the many films that had an influence on--and were influenced by--NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.

Joe Kane, aka The Phantom of the Movies, knows his stuff. I was a regular reader of his column when he wrote for the Daily News in NYC back in the 1980s. However, I was very surprised to see that "Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things" was not mentioned once throughout the book, since it's such a blatant rip-off of Romero's zombie flicks. I doubt that Mr. Kane is unfamiliar with the movie--maybe he just didn't want to give Bob Clark any space for some reason????

Anyway, I recommend this book highly to all fans of horror and the work of George A. Romero.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a solid, entertaining, if unspectacular, look at one of my favorite films, Night Of the Living Dead, along with its various sequels, spin offs and remakes.

For a Romero beginner looking for a nice overview, this is a great book. For the hardcore Romero-fan (of which I am one), author Kane covers familiar ground, seemingly pulling all of his quotes from pre-existing documentary and print interviews and dvd commentaries. And, although the cover promises new photos, I didn't notice anything new there either.

However, the book does have one highlight: the author has various horror film figures contribute mini-essays about how NOTLD changed their lives, etc. These are a lot of fun.

The book is also well-designed, well-laid out and presented very nicely.

All in all, good - not great. For the beginner or completist.
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Format: Paperback
As I was reading the text, I began to realize that a lot of it was strikingly similar (and seemed like the same) as many stories I had seen and heard about from cast and crew. Turns out, Kane ripped a lot stories from DVD commentaries and other printed behind-the-scenes books without any credit to those that he plagiarized. Quite shameful. It was disappointing because I was really digging the book. The ORIGINAL screenplay was nice to have in print, though.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is actually a pretty nice book to have around. The author delves first (and briefly) into the back story of zombies on film in general before getting into the main topic. The chapters on the making of Night of the Living Dead are entertaining and informative, providing great insight into the thoughts and feelings of both the production crew and the actors involved.

However, the title is somewhat misleading, as only about half the book (or less) is actually a "behind-the-scenes" look at Night of the Living Dead. The rest of it is about how it was received in various markets, and how it opened various doors for the filmmakers involved. The book also provides a brief look into how this film was variously ripped off or paid homage, and how it influenced generations of later zombie movies.

Bonuses:
Of the "extras" listed in this book, the only one to remain intact is the original screenplay. This is a nice touch because, rather than simply giving you what ended up on screen, it presents the film as originally conceived and gives the reader the chance to compare and contrast with the film as produced.

I'd have been happier had the description of the Kindle edition NOT suggested that there were previously unseen production and behind-the-scenes photographs. Though I had determined to purchase whether or not the photos had been included, I WAS pretty excited to see them. Sadly, they aren't in the Kindle edition.

A final gripe I have with the Kindle edition in particular is that, even though the formatting is very different from the print version, they still insisted on using pull quotes throughout. The various quotes at the beginning of the chapters were great, but those stuck in the middle were pointless and distracting.

Overall, I'm happy with the purchase, but the buyer should be aware that he or she is NOT getting what is indicated by the title and description.
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