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Film editor explores historical context of 'Night of the Living Dead'

'Birth of the Living Dead' will be screened Monday at University of North Georgia

POSTED: October 10, 2013 1:00 a.m.

On Monday, the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus will screen “Birth of the Living Dead,” a documentary about the 1968 horror film “Night of the Living Dead.”

The event is the second installment of this year’s Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers and comes just in time for Halloween and The Times’ review of the classic zombie flick in the Oct. 17 edition of Get Out.

“Birth of the Living Dead” will screen at 7 p.m. Monday in the Martha T. Nesbitt Academic Building of UNG’s Gainesville campus and includes a “meet the director” reception with a questions and answers session.

Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for seniors or students. For information or to buy tickets, call 770-534-2787 or visit www.theartscouncil.net.

In the late 1960s, college dropout George A. Romero put together a ragtag team of working class Pittsburgh residents with little experience in filmmaking to produce his low-budget monster flick. The film, which was released one month before the Motion Picture Association of America implemented a rating system forbidding children from seeing “mature” films, became instantly controversial because of its graphic and violent scenes.

Despite the controversy, the film went on to become one of the most successful horror films of its time.

“Birth of the Living Dead” is the brainchild of Rob Kuhns, a veteran documentary editor and longtime Romero fan, who decided to make the movie after becoming fascinated with the story of the making of “Night.” After extensive interviews with Romero, Kuhns drew upon his previous experience with documentaries to explore the historical context of the film. He surveyed news stories about the racial violence, reviewed combat footage from the Vietnam War and studied the U.S. government’s reaction to both.

“There was a good deal of, sort of, anger,” Romero said in the documentary. “I think mostly that the ’60s didn’t work.”

The result of the studies was a documentary that shed light on the movie’s production process and raised questions about its influences and connection to the time period. This theme is illustrated in the documentary’s tag line, which reads: “1968. Peace. Love. And the Undead. George A. Romero and the making of a classic.”


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