When I chose to take on classics this year this film was actually not on my list. Clearly I love it but I'm a bit spent on zombies recently and having seen that NOTLD has been reviewed by multiple Thonners I intended to skip it. All that changed with one phone call from my neighbor. My neighbor who is about 12 years my senior and a retired reverend called to ask if I had the original NOTLD and if so, could she come over and watch it with me because she's never seen it. I immediately said yes! What a rare and wonderful opportunity to be able to see a persons fresh and unbiased reaction to this iconic film.
Since I was a child when I first saw this, sneakily watching from the back of my parents station wagon at the Seekonk Twin drive-in, I can only recall the vague memory of being awakened by nightmares for weeks afterward. It still gets my haunches up a bit when the hoard is descending on the house, but I have surely been jaded by the countless hours of horror these eyes have taken in. I couldn't wait to observe her reaction. She first felt the tingle of goose flesh when Johnny & Barbara encounter the zombie in the graveyard, from this point on she was glued to the screen. Hearing my neighbor gasp and warn the characters on the screen while watching a film that was created over 40 years ago really drove home the realistic terror this movie brought to the table. About mid way through she said, "I was expecting a cheesy, poorly written silly film with bad acting but this is really good." She went on to say the story had a sort of Tennessee Williams feel to it.
Indeed, NOTLD was well thought out and well executed, how impressive it is to see this film still stands up after all this time. Now if your thinking that my neighbor is a lightweight horror virgin who would get scared by a Disney villain you couldn't be more wrong. This is the same woman that accompanied me to the theater when I saw Sinister and Mama and Paranormal Activity 4, along with a few others that slip my mind at the moment. She digs horror and has proven time after time that she is no biddy. This is why I have to give it a full five star rating, any old film that can still raise the hairs of a viewer accustomed to modern day horror deserves a standing ovation. I am thrilled to be able to say that I, in 2013 was able to share this film with a person who had never experienced it and that they loved it and said it was really scary. Enough said.