Night of the Living Dead went in a different direction. As the film’s grisly third act is about to begin, Ben (Duane Jones), Barbara (Judith O’Dea), Harry (Karl Hardman) and Helen (Marilyn Eastman) watch TV reporters and scientists try to make sense of this horrible national disaster. At one point, the news The anchor (Charles Craig) reports a Venus space probe that returned to Earth just before the dead began to emerge from their graves. An expert in “space science and technology” theorizes that high levels of radiation brought back by the Venus probe could be the cause of the current predicament on Earth.
But there is no way for our body of survivors to find out for sure in rural Pennsylvania. For people stuck in a desolate cabin trying to fend off the hungry undead, the newscast might just as well be the delusions of a delusional sci-fi fan. And Romero is right about the early days of a pandemic: Experts’ mad rush to find a cause or an explanation, and throw theories on the wall to see what sticks. Romero was a master at conjuring up mass panic without the kind of large-scale cinematic spectacle you often see today …
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