Film for tonight: Night of the Living Dead (1968) Directed by George A. Romero.
Though color film was around at this point in time, I'm very pleased with Romero's usage of the black and white film. It gives the film more of a gritty and dirty appearance. This type of filming uses what is already gross (dead people eating people), and takes it to a higher extreme. Night of the Living Dead is completely gross in every way. It's a zombie movie! There are digusting, brainless people eating other people's dead, dismembered body parts. The black and white use for this film fits the story plot very well. The haunting effect of something so hideous walking around outside should be displayed in a dirty, nasty way as well. It would not have been that good if it were in color.
The film starts out with one of the main characters and her brother in a graveyard visiting her father's site. It is a genius way for the film to start out. For a story that is about the dead coming back to "life", the place where dead people are supposed to be not "living" is an awesome way to begin. Also on the other side, the film ends (spoiler!) with Ben, dead on the floor of the house in which all of the characters believed to be their haven. Beginning with dead people and ending with a dead person is a perfect way to make a zombie movie. Since the film is supposed to be all about death, it should start and end that way.
Parts of this film reminded me of M. Night Shyamalan's directing of Signs (2002). Like Signs, Romero used various methods to make the audience feel confined with the actors in the house. Romero used very close up shots on individual actors to push the audience to feel "too close for comfort". He also had the whole movie (minus the first 15 minutes) take place in a house with seven people staying together, so that there isn't any privacy between the characters and the audience. Another way Romero made the audience feel caged within the house was the camera angle used when Ben was boarding up the house. This is one of the major parts that reminded me of M. Night Shyamalan. The camera was at a low angle and pointed to Ben who was hunched near the middle of the room. Both the camera lense and Ben are surrounded by plywood. It appears as if the viewer is also hunched on the floor with wood around them. Romero places plywood close enough in front of the camera lense so that it constricts the view of the audience. He totally controls the audience so that they only see what he wants them to see.
This film kinda grossed me out and it was great! I will definitely consider buying it used from Hastings one day.