Living Dead

In 1968, a relatively unknown filmmaker named George Romero made a little film called Night of the Living Dead. Though relatively low-budget, it became one of the earliest cult films and spawned an entire sub-genre of horror movies that continue to this day.

Romero wrote the screenplay for Night of the Living Dead with a fellow named John Russo. According to the film's Wikipedia entry (which, in a refreshing change, cites most of its sources), the story grew from a horror comedy involving aliens into a straight, gruesome horror film that drew inspiration from Richard Matheson's novel I Am Legend.

Romero went on to direct the even-better Dawn of the Dead, as well as Day of the Dead and the recent Land of the Dead.

Night of the Living Dead was a huge hit, a movie with subversive undertones that made it popular when it was released in 1968. But because of a last-minute change, Romero didn't see any of the money - or at least not as much as he should have.

The movie's working title was Night of the Flesh Eaters, but the theatrical distributor, the Walter Reade Organization, changed the title at the 11th hour, and forgot to put the little copyright symbol on the prints. With no visible copyright at the time of its release, Night of the Living Dead was open to unlicensed reproduction, which meant the movie could be screened without paying any fees or even asking permission, costing the filmmakers millions.

And, apparently, the "of the Living Dead" modifier, which is why Mezco could turn "After Life" into "Attack of the Living Dead." But it worked out fine, in its own way. Admit it: "Dawn of the Dead" rolls off the tongue more pleasingly than "Dawn of the Living Dead."

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