Birth of the Living Dead (2013)

After watching the original Dead trilogy, it felt appropriate to watch a documentary about the making of the first film. And I’m glad to find that it is pretty well done and as well as informative. Sometimes you get documentaries that get too fanboyish about the subject and just are about praising the genius of it, without really giving you much actual content what the movie meant when it came out, etc. but that isn’t there case here. The film sticks to the origins of the movie, and goes to satisfying depths to explore the following cultural impact of the movie.  It’s very hard to sometimes have the proper context when watching old movies and while I was aware of how groundbreaking Ben’s character was at the time, I certainly never had actually properly stopped to consider what that meant and just how radical and topical the movie was in terms of race tensions of the time, so discovering that and seeing it explored was very satisfying experience. I especially loved the Romero interview bits, those were really fun to watch and I kinda wished there were more of them. Hell, you could have made the entire film about him just talking to the camera about the production of the movie, and I bet it would have been fascinating. He seems like a really easygoing guy and doesn’t at all give a creepy vibe, which is rather funny when you think about the fact that he is the guy who basically created and helped popularize the zombie movie genre. Thankfully, we still get a lot of small and interesting anecdotes sprinkled into the film and I personally always find this type of very mundane behind the scenes stuff that explains something technical to be very fascinating. I knew they were not exactly pros when they made the film, but the documentary really does a good work painting the picture of just how amateurish and low key the entire production was and how much luck and help they had when doing some of the bigger shots, like the aerial helicopter footage and the zombie horde bursting into the house, all done entirely by the help of volunteer work. Just amazing.

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