This isn't so much about the movie itself, as it is about when it was, and how it seemed to relate to everything going on then.
It was 1968....I was twelve, and my brother Mike was ten when we saw this at the Tivoli one fall evening. The movie was scary enough on its own-I'd never seen anything like it-but I think a lot of the impact it had had to do with the times, and the state of the world, particularly for those of us just becoming old enough to start to wonder about our place in it all.
Everything seemed to be in turmoil....in the span of five years, I'd seen seven of my heroes, a President, three astronauts, my favorite aunt, a beloved Pastor, and a respected Senator all die, violently, with nothing to help me understand why. We were fighting a hideous war overseas, as the country seemed to be locked in a sort of civil war, black against white, young against old, rich against poor. We'd gone from middle class to poverty in no time at all, and I was driven by a frustrated anger that even I couldn't understand; I cared about nothing, but wanted desperately to care, for something.
No wonder the images riveted me....loved ones, dying, then returning as ravening ghouls, mothers, children, those we trusted to keep us safe, shambling, multuiplying, unstoppable in their numbers. The stark black and white, so much like the news broadcasts, without a recognizable Karloff or Price to ground the horror.
Then, to see the hero, after surviving a night of unspeakable horror, lose his life to what would come to be known as "friendly fire".
This movie WAS the year 1968, and like the year, it left its mark.