Night of the Living Dead (1968)

From Television and Film Character Encyclopedia

The recently deceased rise from the dead and assault a group of survivors in an old farm house.


Genre

Apocalyptic, Viral

Characters/Groups

Ben - Duane Jones

Barbra - Judith O'Dea

Harry - Karl Hardman

Helen - Marilyn Eastman

Tom - Keith Wayne

Judy - Judith Ridley

Karen - Kyra Schon

News Reporter - Charles Craig

Cemetery Zombie - Bill Heinzman

Sheriff McClelland - George Kosana

Dr. Grimes - Frank Doak

News Reporter - Bill "Chilly Billy" Cardille

Posse Member - A.C. McDonald

Posse Member - Samuel R. Solito

Washington Scientist - Mark Ricci

News Reporter - Lee Hartman

Zombie - Jack Givens

Zombie - R.J. Ricci

Zombie - Paula Richards

Zombie - John Simpson

Zombie - Herbert Summer

Zombie - Richard Ricci

Zombie - William Burchinal

Newscaster - Ross Harris

Zombie - Al Croft

Zombie - Jason Richards

Zombie - Dave James

Zombie - Sharon Carroll

Zombie - William Mogush

Cameraman - Steve Hutsko

Zombie - Joann Michaels

Posse Member - Phillip Smith

Zombie - Ella Mae Smith

Posse Member - Randy Burr

Johnny - Russell Streiner

Washington Reporter - George A. Romero

Washington Spokesman - John A. Russo

Washington Reporter - Regis Survinski

Vince - Vincent D. Survinski

Character thumbnails with links to profiles

Detailed Synopsis

Barbra and Johnny are driving to the cemetery to lay flowers on the grave of their father. As they park an announcer on the radio mentions technical problems. They go to their father's grave site and place a cross with flowers in the ground. Johnny sees Cemetery Zombie slowly walking towards them and then recalls a time when he scared Barbra at the cemetery when they were children. He realizes she is uneasy in the cemetery and starts trying to scare her. As the Cemetery Zombie gets close to Barbra it attacks her. Johnny runs over to help Barbra, but is knocked to the ground and killed when his head hits the corner of a headstone. The Cemetery Zombie chases after Barbra and she runs to the car, but doesn't have the car keys. The Cemetery Zombie breaks the car window and Barbra releases the emergency break and coasts down the road until she hits a tree. She gets out of the car and runs to an old farm house. She goes inside and locks the door and walks through the house and takes a knife from the kitchen. She sees the Cemetery Zombie circling the house and tries to use the phone, but the line is dead. Barbra starts to walk up the stairs to the second floor, but runs back down again when she sees a dead body. She runs outside and headlights flash onto her.

Ben gets out of the car and they both go back into the house. He asks Barbra if she has a key for the gas pump outside, but she doesn't answer. He goes to look for food and Barbra asks him what is happening. They hear a noise of shattering glass and see Zombies trying to destroy Ben's truck. Ben goes outside and kills the Zombies attacking his vehicle. One Zombie gets inside the house and Ben kills that one also. More start to walk towards the house and Ben drags the Zombie from inside the house and sets it on fire outside. Ben tells Barbra to gather some wood so they can board up the house, but she is initially too much in shock to be effective. She eventually helps Ben and they start boarding up the house. He tells her about how he came across the truck he was driving and how he first saw the Zombies chasing a fuel truck and how he learned that the Zombies were afraid of fire. Barbra then tells him about her encounter with the Zombies. She starts saying that they need to go and find Johnny and when Ben tries to stop her she slaps him and he hits her back and she faints. He puts Barbra on a couch and listens to the radio where the News Reporter briefly talks about an epidemic of mass murders in the Eastern part of the United States. The News Reporter then urges listeners to stay home and not to venture out. As the radio broadcast goes on, Ben continues to board up the house. The broadcast continues that the murders started two days ago near Gulfport, Louisiana and has not extended beyond the western side of the Mississippi River except for a southeastern portion of Texas. Ben finds a rifle in a closet and also finds a box of bullets. He tells Barbra about the gun and tries to boost her morale, but she stares blankly at the ground. While Ben is upstairs, the basement door opens and Harry and Tom come out.

Barbra screams and Ben runs back downstairs. Ben asks them why they didn't help and Harry lies and says he couldn't tell what was going on. Harry thinks they should all go back downstairs to the basement, They argue about the best course of action and Tom thinks they should use the basement as a last ditch effort. As Ben goes to look how many Zombies are at the back of the house, he is grabbed through a window by a Zombie. He kills it with the help of Tom and when Harry again insists they go down into the basement, he tells Ben to go down to the cellar. Tom calls Judy upstairs and then Harry goes down into the basement and bars the door. Harry tells Helen what happened upstairs and asks how Karen is doing. Helen gets upset when she finds out there is a radio upstairs. Tom calls down to them that Ben found a television and Helen offers to come up with Harry if Judy watches over Karen. They get the television working and News Reporter reports that the killers are creatures feeding on the flesh of the living and they are those unburied that have recently died. The News Reporter then advises people to seek out safety at Civil Defense shelters. He tells the audience that a theory of what is causing everything is the recent return of a probe sent to Venus. The broadcast goes to a live feed from Washington D.C., where Washington Reporter, and Washington Reporter are questioning Washington Scientist and Washington Spokesman. Washington Scientist states there is a definite connection between the Venus Probe and the rise of the undead, which Washington Spokesman denies and says there is no definitive proof. The News Reporter interviews Dr. Grimes who urges anyone that is injured to seek medical attention. Dr. Grimes tells about a cadaver they had at the university that had all of its limbs amputated, but moved its trunk, even though it was dead.

Helen goes to check on Karen, who tells her she hurts. Dr. Grimes advises everyone to cremate within minutes anyone that dies. Ben comes up with an idea to gas up the truck and then leave after picking everyone up, and Harry tells him about the large key chain with keys in the cellar which might unlock the gas pump. Tom goes to help make Molotov cocktails with Judy and she has doubts about leaving. After Henry tosses Molotov cocktails, Tom jumps into the truck while Ben stands nearby with the rifle. Judy runs outside and gets in the truck with Tom and they and Ben drive to the gas pump. While Tom is trying to put the gas pump into the truck, he sprays gasoline on the side of the truck. The truck catches on fire and as Tom is driving away from the gas pump, the truck explodes, killing him and Judy. Ben makes it back to the house, but finds the door locked. He yells for Henry, but Henry walks towards the basement instead of letting him in. Ben kicks the door open and after securing it again, starts to punch Henry. The Zombies walk to the burnt truck and start eating the remains of Tom and Judy. Helen and Harry tell Ben that a Zombie bit Karen in the arm. Ben turns the television back on and News Reporter says that the mysterious radiation levels are increasing. The News Reporter then shows a taped report from the field after telling viewers that the Zombies can be killed by a blow to the head. News Reporter interviews Sheriff McClelland who tells News Reporter he expects to defeat the Zombie outbreak. The power suddenly goes out in the house and the Zombies grab tools and start to attack the house. Ben asks Harry to help him hold the boards against the window and when Ben drops the rifle, Harry takes it and points it at Ben. Ben charges him and he and Harry fight over the rifle before Ben shoots Harry in the stomach.

Harry stumbles into the basement and dies next to Karen. Zombies break open the door and start to grab at Helen. Barbra runs over with a piece of wood and tries to help Helen who then runs to the basement. Karen, who is now a Zombie attacks and kills Helen with a trowel. Johnny, who is now a Zombie, breaks into the house and grabs Barbra and brings her out of the house where she is killed. The Cemetery Zombie breaks into the house and Ben walks towards the basement and shoves aside Karen who had tried to bite him. Ben barricades himself in the basement and sees the dead bodies of Harry and Helen, who he then shoots when they become the living dead. In the morning, the Zombies have wandered off. Police dogs are used to help the Posse Members hunt down the Zombies. Sheriff McClelland asks Vince and Al to take some dogs to check on the farmhouse Ben is in. News Reporter and Cameraman walk up to Sheriff McClelland and News Reporter tells him they are going to stay with them until they meet up with the National Guard. Cameraman tells News Reporter that he is going to check in with the office. Ben hears the dogs barking and gunfire and leaves the basement. Sheriff McClelland and the rest of the Posse Members reach the farm house and Sheriff McClelland tells them to start a fire. Vince sees Ben looking out the window and thinking Ben is a Zombie, shoots him dead. Ben's body is then dragged to the fire and tossed into it.