Two-thirds of the employees at my job are fans of the television show The Walking Dead–when it’s in season. We are currently in the off season, which sucks. The show is good common ground. It gives us something neutral and fun to chat about. So, when a new assistant manager came on board at work, I extended the branch of friendship by saying, “Do you watch The Walking Dead?”
She laughed nervously and said, “Uh. No. Ha. No no. No no no. That stuff freaks me out. I saw this movie when I was a kid. It freaked me out. Black-and-white movie.”
“Night of the Living Dead?” I supplied, helpfully.
She looked away from me and said, “Yeah. Ha. That movie scared the crap out of me. I don’t watch that stuff. Ha. Ha ha. No no.”
I was struck by how nervous the mere mention of zombies, and Night of the Living Dead in particular, made this woman. I managed to eventually become friendly with her in spite of the fact that I enjoy the stuff of her worst nightmares. We don’t talk about it anymore, but not because I don’t want to.
The movie was indeed shot in black-and-white, it cost a little over $100,000 to make, and it still scares the crap out of us. It’s the granddaddy of zombie movies. It features what has to be one of the most memorable lines in horror movie history. Hell, it might be one of the most memorable lines in movie history, PERIOD.
“They’re coming to get you, Barbra.”
Barbra is the first main character we meet in Night of the Living Dead. No hero, she. Barbra lets her brother, Johnny, fight a zombie for her, then she runs away. Well, she rolls away in Johnny’s car, leaving him for dead with absolutely no hesitation. Barbra makes it to the famous zombie besieged Pennsylvania farmhouse and goes into a zombie panic catatonia that makes her no damned help at all to her fellow survivors. I honestly never mind watching Barbra being dragged into the zombie horde by her zombie brother at the end of the film. Barbra doesn’t earn much love in this movie. She’s actually probably who most of us would be, should the zombie apocalypse actually occur. Scared crapless, chanting, “Ha. Ha ha. No no. No no no.”
So whatever happened to Judith O’Dea, the scared crapless Barbra? Judith is still acting in independent films, and she runs her own business communications company. Judy wears her Night of the Living Dead past proudly. She features a page about the film on her website, Odea Communications. She spent most of her most famous role struck mute with fear, but today Judy helps businessmen with their oral presentations. Which sounds dirty, but it is not. Go Barbra!
UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! (May 1) Look what Marina found last night!
This re-imagining of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead will pay homage to the timeless classic while expanding upon its storyline to explore more of the night when the dead began to rise. Starring…Judith O’Dea (Original NOTLD), Mike Christopher, David Early, Jim Krut, and David Crawford (Dawn of the Dead 1979), Scott Tepperman (Ghost Hunters Int.), Bill Johnson (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2), Heidi Hinzman (Daughter to the late Bill Hinzman “NOTLD 1968”), Christy Johnson (Tobe Hooper’s Mortuary), and John Migliore (Land of the Dead & Survival of the Dead)
Here’s me, Jaye. For once Marina wasn’t laughing at me for being scared of some zombie movies. I didn’t get my zombie fiction fix this week. Pooh. I will have to remedy that. In the meantime, every time Marina tries to scare me by mentioning Trowel Girl or speculating that a zombie invasion will leave me cowering, catatonic in a corner, I remind her that she has to quit fooling around and finish her Zombies Take Manhattan collection of stories. Coming soon to an etailer near you.