Ah, “Night of the Living Dead,” the movie that says, “Hey, you know what’s cheap to shoot? A bunch of dudes eating a bunch of other dudes!”
And I guess roads are cheap to shoot as well, since the movie begins with a long shot of a car driving down the road, followed by another shot of a car driving down the road.
In there somewhere, you get the credits, and here’s something curious: The title of the movie is spelled like this: “night OF THE LIVING DEAD.” And the word night is a bunch of outlines of letters. So even the title is a kind of jump scare, wherein the creator of the titles whispers the first word, then yells the rest of it at you.
Also worth noting in the titles, the fact that the screenplay is not just by George Romero, but also by John Russo, who just for fun would go on to create a whole lot of movies that attempted to cash in on the fact that he was the “Night of the Living Dead” guy.
By the way, that whole driving along the road while the credits roll thing? That takes up two solid minutes of movie. They even drive past a sign that says they’re going into a cemetery, just in case you thought they were headed into Lawn Ornament World when you started seeing all those headstones.
Another curious fun fact – the screenplay is credited to George Romero, but the director is listed as George A. Romero. I wonder if those guys are related?
After more than two minutes, we finally meet some people: Johnny and Barbra (I know it looks funny. They spelled it that way in the credits). They’re brother and sister, and their mother has tasked them with driving to a graveyard three hours away to lay some flowers on a gravestone.
Johnny is very cranky about this, noting that the flowers say “We Still Remember,” even though he doesn’t remember the man. Who I guess is his dad. That man gave you life, Johnny – remember that!
Barbra and Johnny head into the cemetery, bickering all the while. Johnny is mad that they got there so late (it’s 8 PM, and it’s the Spring Forward part of Daylight Savings, something they keep pointing out, even though it means nothing at all).
They put down the flowers, and Barbra goes to say a prayer, while Johnny whines some more about how praying is for church.
Also, he sees some dude walking along in the cemetery.
And he puts on some driving gloves. Because that’s what you did in 1968.
Johnny starts reminiscing about the time he scared the poop out of Barbra in the cemetery. And also, about how scared of the cemetery Barbra used to be. Barbra tells him to quit talking about it, and Johnny says (come on horror fans, you know this one): “They’re coming to get you Barbra!”
Here’s a tip, folks. If you’re in a horror movie situation, don’t be a jerk. It’ll just cause people to cheer when you get your throat torn out.
Johnny keeps on taunting Barbra, pointing to the other dude in the cemetery, and joking that he’s getting out of there.
At which point, the other guy in the cemetery grabs Barbra.
Johnny, who may be a jerk, but who still doesn’t like it when people try to eat his sister, jumps on the man and tries to fight him off. A fight breaks out which would probably be pretty spectacular, if only the filmmakers could have afforded stunt men.
Finally, the zombie whacks Johnny’s head against a grave, and Johnny dies.
Or is knocked unconscious. Or is faking, because he’s decided he values his own life more than Barbra’s.
Either way, the creature gets up and lopes after Barbra.
You know, considering how much people complain about fast zombies in movies, this dude is pretty speedy. He might not make it all the way to an outright run, but he’s got the speedwalk/jog thing down.
Barbra runs away, tripping and falling, at which point she pulls off her high heels, making her the smartest horror movie heroine alive.
She hops into her car, locks the doors, and discovers that the keys are missing. The zombie catches up, and breaks the window glass with a rock.
Barbra releases the emergency brake, and the vehicle, which just happens to be parked at the top of the hill, rolls on down while the zombie gives chase.
Barbra crashes into a tree, because she’s driving a massive vehicle with no power steering, and she runs for it. She heads down the road, and spots a farmhouse off in the distance.
So she just keeps on running for it, with nary a shoe to her name.
It’s funny, though. She keeps running into things and then leaning over them in what I have to assume the actress thought was a dramatic fashion.
Finally, she gets to the house and tries to get in, only the front door is locked. She does not try knocking, instead opting to run off the porch. And fall down.
She heads around the house, pausing for another lean and react, and there’s an open door.
She runs in while thunder crashes in the background, despite the sunny skies outside.
Inside, it’s pretty dark, even though Barbra kept talking about how sunny it was outside.
Barbra grabs a knife from the kitchen and starts walking through the house. She does not call out to the owners. I guess she really takes the whole finders/keepers thing seriously.
Barbra keeps prowling around the inside of the house, while the zombie runs around outside. Among other things, he tears down a clothesline and the pole that holds it up.
Thing is the strongest zombie ever, I swear.
Barbra finds a phone and tries to call someone, but there’s no dial tone. Also, given the fact that Barbra hasn’t said anything for a while, I can only assume the folks making the film realized that she’s not much of an actress, and keeping her away from dialogue is the only responsible thing to do.
Barbra looks outside, where it was light just a minute ago, and it’s full-on dark, and there are a couple more zombies.
Barbra runs away from the window and heads up the stairs, where she finds a dude whose face has been chewed off.
She runs downstairs and is about out the front door, just in time for a tall black fellow to park his truck out front, and run into the house, dragging Barbra along with him while spouting exposition, like, his truck is almost out of gas, and the gas pump out front is locked.
He asks Barbra if there’s a key.
Barbra doesn’t say anything. He asks if she lives there.
She doesn’t say anything.
He tries the phone.
Barbra, meanwhile, wanders over to the stairs, so that the dude can see the dead guy, and the movie can get the full value for their props.
Dude decides to go looking for food, after noting that they need to go somewhere and find some more people.
Meanwhile, Barbra just keeps on wandering around, holding the knife and not saying anything.
Until she does. She opts to go for, “What’s happening?” Dude tries to do some more expositioning, and then it’s time for another action sequence, so a zombies breaks the dude’s headlights. For some reason. Perhaps light makes them angry.
Dude asks Barbra if there are any more of the creatures, and she says she doesn’t know at a really loud volume, so you’ll know she’s distressed.
So the dude goes out and bashes the zombie’s heads in with a tire iron. Just to show them who’s boss.
While this is going on, another zombie wanders into the house, and slowly ambles after Barbra, who is sitting on a chair, emoting.
Dude walks in just in time to save her bacon, by jamming the tire iron right into the dead dude’s head.
Dude runs to the open door, smacks another zombie in the face, and the zombie stumbles back so that the director can offer up a dramatic shot of all the other zombies ambling towards the house.
Dude closes the door.
Barbra is looking at the dead guy on the floor, which is freaking her out even more. Dude tells her not to look, and drags the dead guy outside. Then sets fire to him.
This causes the other zombies to stumble back, terribly afraid of the fire. This will mark the only time this trick will work at all in a “Dead” movie.
Dude goes back in the house, slams the door, and sticks a card table up against the door. Yeah. That’ll keep them safe.
Dude turns on the lights, and tells Barbra to turn more lights on in the house. He finds a couple of conveniently placed toolboxes and goes through them, grabbing a hammer. Then he goes looking for nails, finding a ton of them in the junk drawer.
He tells Barbra to go find some boards so they can nail the place up.
Barbra just keeps wandering around, freaked right out (or perhaps, thinking she’s a very talented actress) and Dude starts yelling, then decides to go with the, “Talk to her like she’s a scared toddler” method.
Barbra goes into the living room and, instead of looking for wood, starts up a music box, so that the director can do creepy music box shots.
Inside the kitchen, Dude locates as much wood as he can, often by tearing boards off of things like cabinets.
Barbra locates four tiny pieces of wood and brings them in, and then finally does something useful and holds onto one side of a loose door while Dude nails it across the door to the outside.
Dude then tasks Barbra with putting in some more nails, while he goes to nail up other doors and windows.
Later, Dude monologues a whole tale about a truck crashing into a gas pump, creatures encircling a diner, and how the truck out front isn’t his. While this is going on, a REALLY LOUD cricket plays on the soundtrack, to remind you that it’s nighttime.
Then Barbra takes a turn at the monologue trough, and tells the story of how she got to the farmhouse, even though we, the audience, saw that part already.
Really, there should have been a subtitle: Take Pee Break Here.
You know what’s funny? Even Dude looks sort of bored by the whole thing. So he opts to just keep on boarding things up. Oh, and he tosses out a, “Why don’t you just keep calm?”
This doesn’t work, and as Barbra concludes her story, which conveniently leaves out Johnny taking a whack to the noggin, she first says they need to wait for Johnny, then upgrades it to a Full-On, Community-Theater, “Please! We’ve got to go get Johnny!”
She stands up and runs at Dude, who tries to explain what’s going on outside. Barbra slaps him. He punches her. She doesn’t fall over, but does go unconscious.
He catches her before she falls, then places her gently on the couch and unbuttons her coat.
Later, Dude flips on the radio and tries to find information.
Since the world in mass chaos, the man on the radio basically says, “We don’t know what to look for…”
While exposition goes on the background, Dude looks out the window, and sees some of the creatures getting closer. So first, he lights a fire in the fireplace, in case zombie Santa Claus decides to come down the chimney bringing gifts and mayhem to all the edible girls and boys.
Then he throws a bunch of lighter fluid on a chair. He follows up this act by grabbing a curtain, yanking a strip off of it, tying it around a table leg, and then setting fire to his makeshift torch.
He runs to the front door, shoves the chair outside on the porch, sets fire to it, and shoves it off the porch.
The zombies back away, making unhappy noises. Which never happens in any of the other movies.
Dude goes back in and keeps on hammering away, at one point moving a door, revealing what appears to be a cellar door. The camera zooms in on it, so you know that it’s important.
He work finished, Dude lights up a cigarette.
Why worry about cancer when you’re probably going to get eaten?
Dude opens the closet and finds a gun. No, I don’t know what kind. Some sort of pump-action rifle, I guess. Does it matter?
While this is going on, Barbra wakes up. Then decides to stare straight ahead, saying nothing.
Dude tells her that the place is boarded up pretty well now, which is hilarious, because the window directly behind him isn’t boarded up at all. Dude also notes that they have a gun, and some bullets.
Did I mention he’s telling her all this while he’s putting some shoes on her that he found in the closet? Because he totally is.
He also points out that they have food and a radio, then tells her that he’s going to go upstairs, but that if something tries to break in, he’ll hear it and come down and take care of it.
Barbra just sits there through all of this, staring straight ahead, not saying or doing anything. It’s probably the most effective acting Barbra is going to do in this film.
Dude heads upstairs, where he finds the dead person, who it turns out is a female. He covers her in a rug and drags her away from the top of the stairs, but doesn’t do ii carefully enough that we can’t see that this person doesn’t look anything like the half-eaten face we saw earlier.
Downstairs, Barbra keeps on sitting and listening to the radio, where it’s revealed that the people doing the killing are also making a light snack of their victims. We get a minute of this, while the camera dramatically zooms in on Barbra, then the radio, then Barbra, then the radio…
And suddenly, a door shifts, and Barbra starts screaming, and two men come out of the cellar.
Upstairs, Dude hears the screaming and runs downstairs holding the gun.
The Bald Dude from the cellar says, “A radio!” And runs over to listen to the whole people-eating-people story.
Dude (wow, all these dudes are going to need monikers, because the movie isn’t giving us any… I guess it’s going to be Black Dude for a while) – Black Dude berates the two dudes from the cellar, asking why they didn’t come up and help him.
Bald Dude says that Black Dude “could have been one of those things…”
Black Dude gets seriously crabby about the fact that the people in the basement didn’t come upstairs to help him, first claiming they couldn’t hear, and then claiming that there was so much noise they thought the place was being ripped apart.
Young dude calls Bald Dude Mr. Cooper, so we’ve got a name for him. And Mr. Cooper calls Young Dude Tommy.
Okay, now we’re getting somewhere.
Mr. Cooper tells Black Dude that “those things” turned over their car. He thinks that the cellar is the safest place for all of them, since there’s only one door they have to protect.
Black Dude says that the cellar is basically a death trap, because if the creatures come for them, then there’s no escape route.
Cooper says he’s going down there and boarding the place up, and not letting anyone in, so Black Dude and Tommy need to decide whether they’re coming down or not.
This makes Tommy crabby, because he wants to talk options first.
Tommy looks out the window, and says there are something like ten creatures out there.
Black Dude leads Tommy to the back window, noting that there are more of them out back.
Suddenly, the creatures jam their hands through the window. Black Dude sticks the gun through the holes in the boarded-up window, and shoots one of them in the chest. It staggers, but doesn’t die.
Tommy, meanwhile, grabs a kitchen knife and cuts at the creatures’ hands, chopping off a finger or two. Which doesn’t stop the beings from grabbing at them.
Downstairs, Mr. Cooper’s wife calls to Mr. Cooper, asking what’s going on.
Cooper says it’s all right, even though this is a total lie.
Black Dude fires again, hitting the same creature in the chest. The thing stumbles, but doesn’t fall over. So Black Dude shoots him again, this time in the head. The creature falls over, dead again.
Outside, more creatures are coming at the house. One of them, a female, grabs something that’s kind of hard to see, and eats it. I think it was a snail. So much for desperately wanting human flesh.
Inside the house, the argument escalates. Black Dude tells Mr. Cooper that if Cooper wants to be the boss, he can be the boss of the cellar. Black Dude is the boss up here.
Also, Cooper is told he can’t take any food or the radio or Barbra into the cellar.
When Cooper says that his kid is down there, and she can’t come up, Black Dude says it’s too bad that her dad is stupid.
Cooper heads for the cellar, with a whole, “Yeah, well, I’m not letting anyone play in my cellar-fort once I’m down there, so N’yeah!”
Just before Cooper gets his stomp-down-the-stairs on, Tommy calls to someone downstairs. It’s Judy, Teenaged Girlfriend.
Judy comes up. Cooper goes down. Then he puts one whole board in front of the door. Yes, a single board, fitted into little slots. They’re totally safe now. There no way anyone could get down there. Without kicking the door a little.
Tommy says that “The three of them” could board things up real good upstairs, if only Cooper would listen. Because, as we know, barricading a house is man’s work.
Cooper tells Mrs. Cooper that they’ll be safe, and the people upstairs are stupid.
Mr. Cooper asks how his daughter is. Little Cooper is lying on what appears to be a workbench. She’s unconscious.
Mrs. Cooper says she seems to be a little warm, and that it might be shock. Mr. Cooper lights up a cigarette and rants about how he can’t wait for the monsters to get in the house, and for the people upstairs to beg to come downstairs.
His wife points out how that’s really important to him – for him to be right and everyone else to be wrong.
Apparently, Mr. Cooper doesn’t get to be the boss down here, either.
Mrs. Cooper finds out there’s a radio upstairs, and demands that Mr. Cooper take the boards off the door. Mr. Cooper says no.
Mrs. Cooper says, “We may not enjoy living together. But dying together isn’t going to solve anything.”
Sadly, Mrs. Cooper is wrong. Dying together pretty much solves all their problems, and will be much cheaper than a divorce. I’m just saying.
Tommy calls down to Mrs. Cooper, and says they found a TV. Mrs. Cooper tells Tommy and if Judy comes down to watch the kid, who isn’t even awake, then the Coopers can come upstairs. What a fun trade!
And so, five minutes after giving multiple ultimatums, Mr. Cooper opens the door.
The Coopers come upstairs, and Mrs. Cooper sees Barbra for the first time. Barbra is staring at a doily on the couch.
Ben (Black Dude finally has a name too!) yells from another room that he needs help with the TV, and the menfolk go to assist him, while Mrs. Cooper sits in a chair and takes a long, hard look at doily girl.
Finally, Mrs. Cooper pulls out a cigarette, and Barbra kind of notices her. Mrs. Cooper says Barbra doesn’t have to be afraid of her.
Then here comes Mr. Cooper, who points out that there are a million weak spots in the house. He demonstrates by going to the window and pulling an admittedly weak little board, which bends.
Cooper then goes to his wife and demands a cigarette, which gives us a look at the ceiling, which has a really lame plaster job. I’m surprised Cooper hasn’t commented on that.
Mrs. Cooper reminds Mr. Cooper that Barbra’s brother was killed. Mr. Cooper goes back to complaining about the windows.
Mrs. Cooper asks why he doesn’t do something to help somebody.
Ben and Tommy arrive with the TV, which they set up on a couple of chairs.
Mr. Cooper shakes a finger at Barbra and tells her to pay attention to what’s going on when the TV comes on.
Mrs. Cooper asks if there’s anything she can do to help.
Ben ignores her and reminds Mr. Cooper that Ben, yes, BEN is giving the orders up here.
Tommy turns on the TV.
The news is on. The first couple minutes are a rehash of the whole people are eating people thing.
Then, a new report! The unburied dead are rising and attacking the living.
Also, there are now safe places to go, and instead of staying their houses, people are encouraged to go to rescue areas.
Ben says that they could escape in the truck, but there’s no gas. Tommy says there’s a pump outside, and Ben says they need the key to get into the pump.
The news continues: Apparently, space experts are being consulted, and the news reporter reminds everyone that recently, a satellite was sent to Venus, which then came back. But the science people had it destroyed in orbit because of dangerous levels of strange radiation.
News Guy then connects the dots between the exploded satellite and the recent “mass murders.” Because news guys aren’t paid to say, “We really have no idea what’s going on. Here’s a picture of an ocelot.” No, they need to spout theories, or people might CHANGE THE CHANNEL!
Now that the news guys have spoken, Ben thinks they need to get out of the house and go find safe harbor.
But wait! There’s more stuff on the news! A reporter has cornered some people who work for the government and he wants to know whether or not the satellite is responsible for the dead coming back to life and eating the living.
The government guys don’t agree with one another about whether this is the case or not.
So now it’s back to The Debate Show! Starring the people in the living room.
As stated before, Ben wants to get out of there – the TV just showed that there’s a safe house in Willard, which is only 17 miles away.
Cooper doesn’t think it’s possible to get there, what with them having to drag a sick kid along. And also, you know, women. Who are totally incapable of doing anything.
I’m amazed no one’s tossed him out the front door as bait yet.
Tommy figures this is as good a time as any to tell how he ended up at the house. It seems that he and Judy were going to go swimming, only they heard the news reports. So they came to the house, and found the dead person upstairs.
But opted to just leave ‘em lying there.
Point of order! Why didn’t the dead person upstairs get up and try to get herself a midnight snack? Maybe she isn’t dead?
Anyway, Tommy and Judy came to the house, and found the dead person. Then the Coopers showed up, so they all barricaded themselves in the basement, where thanks to a single two-by-four, they figured they would be safe.
Ben tells Mrs. Cooper to go downstairs and check on her kid, and to send Judy upstairs.
Judy comes up, and Ben tells her to go find some curtains or something, and to make strips of cloth.
Then the plan starts to come together:
Step one: Make molotov cocktails.
Step two: Make Cooper throw them from the second story, to scare off the creatures.
Step three: Ben and Tommy run for the truck, unlock the pump, and put gas in the truck.
Step four: Everyone runs out to the truck and hops in, and everyone drives away.
It’s a brilliant plan, with no flaws, and it should go off without a hitch. Right? Of course. It’s not like this is a horror movie… Uh…
Judy and Tommy start putting the molotov cocktails together, using jars from the fruit cellar. And also kerosene from the cellar. And rags made from curtains.
Judy is sad because the phone is down and she can’t call her parents and tell them what’s going on. She’s also not sure that they’re doing the right thing, trying to escape and get to the rescue station.
Tommy replies, “Well, the television said that’s the right thing to do. We’ve got to get to a rescue station.”
Yes, Tommy, the television said it’s the right thing to do. It’s a good thing you never lived to see infomercials. You’d own sixty-seven of those food dehydrators.
Judy is at least honest enough to admit she just really, really doesn’t want Tommy to be the one to have to drive the truck and unlock the gas pump. Finally, she gets herself a hug and kiss and everyone goes back to work.
You know what? This movie has been running for over and hour and no one has been eaten yet. Hack the first five minutes off the movie, and this could be a story about a bunch of folks who just really, really don’t want to have to talk to the Mormons walking through the neighborhood.
Mr. Cooper tells Ben that Barbra needs to go down in the cellar during their gas-and-go rescue mission, and Ben agrees. He tells Barbra that she needs to go downstairs, but that soon they’ll be able to leave.
Barbra almost has an emotion, and she and Judy head downstairs. Because she and Judy are just baggage to be hauled around, and not actual people.
Mr. Cooper heads upstairs and gets ready to throw the flaming cocktails.
Tommy and Ben pull the boards off the door, and Ben wishes Tommy good luck.
Outside, the creatures are just wandering around, not really headed for the house at all.
Mr. C tosses a couple of cocktails on the lawn, and the creatures yell and stumble away.
Ben and Tommy run outside, and Tommy almost gets attacked. But he makes it to the truck.
Judy yells out, “I’m going with him,” and she runs outside.
Now Tommy and Judy are in the cab of the truck, and Ben is on the back of it, waving another table-leg torch around.
Suddenly, it’s a lot brighter outside. Not the best job on the day-for-night photography there, Mister Director of Photography.
The trio makes it to the gas pump, and the gas pump key doesn’t work. Ben shoots the lock off the pump.
Tommy goes to put gas in the truck, and squeezes the pump too early, spraying gas on everything – including on the torch.
Tommy says they need to get away from the pump, and drives off with Judy still in the truck with him.
They realize, too late, that the truck is on fire. Tommy gets out, then goes back to help Judy, who is stuck, and BOOM! Flaming truck. Dead people.
Ben picks up his torch and uses it to ward off the creatures. He runs to the house, and knocks on the door, which Mr. Cooper locked after everyone went out the door.
Ben calls to Cooper, who is standing in the doorway to the cellar – maybe fifteen feet away.
Cooper does nothing to help, and Ben kicks the door in. He spots Cooper, and realizes that, yes, Cooper is going to experience no character arc in this movie. He’s going to start off as mean and unwilling to help his fellow man, and he’s going to end that way too.
Ben runs into the house, slams the door, and grabs a nearby freestanding door. Time to nail the front door back in place!
Cooper runs to help, and after everything is nailed back in place and everyone is relatively safe, Ben punches Cooper in the face a whole bunch of times. He concludes the pummeling with, “I ought to drag you out there and feed you to those things!”
Cooper almost looks chastised, but he’s not that good an actor.
Outside, the creatures go to the burned out truck: It’s eatin’ time! And hey, there’s some conveniently roasted meat. Flash-fried, if you will. This leads to a solid minute of creatures eatin’ people.
And a legendary film franchise is born.
There is some more discussion. It comes out that the Cooper’s car is at least a mile away, that the kid was bitten on the arm by “those things,” and that Barbra has pretty much lost it, as all she can contribute to the conversation is the Johnny has the keys to the car.
Ben offers to get to the car himself, only the Cooper’s car was turned over by the creatures, so that isn’t going to help.
And so, everyone goes back to watching the news.
There’s some more talk about “mysterious radiation,” and yet more information about how to handle what the news people are now calling “ghouls.”
It seems that if you shoot them in the head, or administer some blunt head trauma, that’ll be enough to kill (or re-kill, I suppose) the ghouls.
The nice newscaster asks a member of local law enforcement if they’ll be able to wrap up the problem in 24 hours. Something worth noting here: All the news guys are really calm about this whole thing. Almost painfully so. You wonder: Were they prepped to handle this kind of event at newscaster school?
If I were a reporter, I’d be all, “Dude, that guy just ATE that other guy. I’m out of here. I’m not being turned into Tender Vittles just so I can get a Pulitzer.”
But these guys? Totally unflappable.
Cooper goes to check the window. Ben looks at Cooper. And then the power goes out.
Ben goes to check to see if the fuse box is in the cellar. Mr. Cooper goes to his wife and says he has to get the gun away from Ben. After all, two people have already died, and things could get worse.
Mrs. Cooper is nonplussed.
Outside, the creatures start picking up heavy objects and whacking on the doors and windows.
Ben tries to hold a board in place, and drops the gun.
Mr. Cooper takes the gun, and tells his wife to get in the cellar.
Ben runs at Mr. Cooper, and takes the gun. He shoots Cooper right in the chest.
Mrs. Cooper, who is trying to hold the front door in place, is grabbed by several hands that have broken through the door.
Mr. Cooper stumbles down the cellar stairs. He collapses on the floor next to his daughter.
Upstairs, Barbra suddenly gets off the couch and goes to hold the front door shut. So Mrs. Cooper, who I guess doesn’t realize that isn’t a one-woman job, goes downstairs, where she discovers that her daughter has eaten her husband.
Mrs. Cooper panics and falls over, and her daughter grabs a trowel off the wall and comes after her mom with it. Time for a good old-fashioned trowel-disemboweling.
No, really. Mom just lies there and gets a trowel in the guts over and over and over again.
Upstairs, Ben tries to fight off an army of arms, while Barbra continues to pitch in. This works until Johnny breaks down the front door, grabs Barbra, and drags her, screaming, into the crowd of creatures.
Ben backs away from the window, and is almost bitten by the little girl from the cellar. He tosses her onto the couch and, irony of ironies, boards himself up in the cellar from which where is no escape.
The dead people come pouring into the house.
Remarkably, the cellar door holds.
Ben goes downstairs, where he finds Mr. Cooper, who is just getting up, having discovered his inner living dead guy.
Mrs. Cooper wakes up shortly thereafter.
Ben shoots them both in the head.
Then Ben gets into firing position and sits back from the stairs – he’s ready to put some more holes in heads.
Later, dawn breaks. A helicopter flies by overhead, zipping past rednecks with guns and various zombies.
The helicopter lands.
I have no idea what that had to do with anything.
Near the house o’ doom, the local long arm of the law and various other people with guns hang out. The local long-arm tells the local reporter-type that they should have things wrapped up in three or four more hours.
Then the local long-arm tells a couple of folks to check out a nearby house. And we all know which house that is.
In the cellar, Ben is asleep. He hears noise outside and wakes up.
Outside, the local long-arm walks by the burned up truck, and notes that someone, “Had a cookout here.”
As dark jokes go, that’s pretty dark.
Elsewhere, folks with guns shoot various and sundry people-eaters.
The local long-arm tells some folks to build him a bonfire.
Inside the house, Ben creeps to the window.
Outside the house, the local long-arm tells one of his buddies to shoot the “creature” inside the house right in the head.
Bang. Ben, who lived the whole night long, is now dead.
As the credits roll, a bunch of folks with meathooks pick up Ben, our now-dead hero, and toss him on the bonfire with all the other bodies that need burning.
And we go The End with a big, fat bonfire. How’s THAT for grim?