Night of the Living Dead and zombie mythos

That’s definitely Romero rules from the beginning. Harry, the jerk in the basement in Night of the Living Dead, dies of a heart attack and returns. He was never bitten.

In Day of the Dead I think there’s a doctor who gets shot and killed and never comes back. So I don’t think it’s clearly a Romero rule.

You’re mistaken, gameoverman. I hate the use of the word, but that’s established canon in Romero’s films.

With Romero I always had the feeling that there was sort of a burst effect that got the zombies going, and after that it was all bites. Never scratches, just bites. After that, I thought people who died without zombie assistance just sorta keeled over. Lots of people trying to hide their bites, tho.

The other thing was that the zombies, no matter how beat up or decomposed just kept on coming. A key point in Walking Dead was that people get winded but walkers don’t, after all. That’s not a virus holding them up. They’d burn up in a matter of days. Magic!

I would like to see hints in long-running things, like Walking Dead. It’s not like they have a walker research center or anything, but there are tantalizing tidbits out there, like maybe something is driving the zombies (I’m only through season 2, since it was available on streaming). They herd up, they maybe migrate…none of it really helps or explains anything so far, but random information like that makes your mind work to put together hypothetical pieces. I find it interesting, myself.

I’m mistaken about one thing, we do not see Harry turn. He dies of a heart attack then his wife finds their daughter eating him. I am thinking of some other character, probably from some other movie. But seriously, the whole ‘everybody turns’ thing is established. I am trying like hell to find Romero saying this on record, but it’s something you can find on the just about every zombie webpage that mentions Romero.

Seriously dudes, if there’s one thing I can say I’ve really done my homework on, it’s zombies.

One thing interesting about Walking Dead is that humans kill a lot of other humans, relatively. Usually it’s humanity against zombies, and the struggle brings out the monsters in humanity. I don’t usually see (and I have a feeling I’m gonna be really wrong here) see too many people actually killing each other. Wounding, raping, maiming, sure, all sorts of vile stuff. but it seems like there’s usually a zombie at the end of the mortal road waiting for them, especially the really bad guys. At least in Romero movies.

Why do I have the feeling mocking laughter is drifting out of the Screenwriters’ Hall right now?

Harry doesn’t die of a heart attack. And we do see him turn. Ben shoots Harry, who then stumbles downstairs and collapses next to his daughter who is dead. Helen goes downstairs next and finds the daughter eating Harry. Did get die before getting bit? No idea. Not shown. Karen then attacks Helen with a trowel. When we last see Helen, she is still moving and screaming. Cut to upstairs, Ben watches Johnny pull Barbara out of the house. He backs up as Karen exits the basement. Karen tries to bite him, he fends her off and locks himself in the basement. Downstairs he sees the bodies of Harry and Helen. Harry, motionless for a moment, sits up, Ben shoots him in the head. Ben watches as Helen opens her eyes. He shoots her too. Did Helen get bit before dying? No idea, she dies off screen, just like Harry.

Remember Johnny? Barbara’s brother? We never see him bit either. He fights with the first zombie, who tries to bite him, and may do so while they struggle, but we don’t see it. They fall, Johnny takes a blow to the head. Is he dead? Unknown. He could just be unconscious. Maybe he wakes up later and is attacked by other zombies. No idea. But he does become a zombie, since he shows up in the crowd later to “get” Barbara.

Mostly Romero goes out of his way to ensure he never actually explains the zombies in the first movie. There are theories. Some people are bitten (Karen), other people might be bitten (Harry, Helen, Johnny) but it’s never shown definitively that you have to be bitten to turn, nor is it shown definitively that you will turn even if not bitten.

I didn’t really know where to put this, but figured it was worth passing along - Marilyn Eastman, who played Helen Cooper in the original Night of the Living Dead, died recently at age 87.