Knowing these things now, it is no small wonder that I enjoyed Night of the Living Dead (1968). It wasn't the first zombie movie, but it was the first zombie movie done right. It embodies all the elements that are fascinating about zombie survival horror. Also, do not mistake it for the cheesy 80s horror movie "Return of the Living Dead". The two are very, very different.
The Night of the Living Dead starts out with a brother and sister driving out into the country to visit their father's grave. His brother is being an ass most of the trip, and when they arrive at the cemetery she says she has a bad feeling about this place. He makes light of it by pointing at a stranger in a suit and saying (in a mocking tone) "he's coming for you!" And then laughs, and laughs, while she walks over to the stranger to apologize for her brother.
When she approaches the stranger and apologizes, the man turns around with a blank look in his eyes and grabs her and she starts screaming. Her brother comes running and pulls the stranger off of her but stumbles during the fight and hits his head really hard on a tombstone and is knocked unconscious. Not knowing what to do, she runs away, screaming for help. Her brother had the car keys, so the car is useless, so she keeps running. Along the way she sees more and more of these people with blank stares who see her and start walking toward her in the same way the stranger in the cemetery did.
Finally, she finds a house on a farm and runs inside where two people are already hold up, and shortly after another man joins them. This is where the movie truly begins. Shock, denial, fear, and being in the dark on what's happening beyond the house all play into this tale of survival horror while these strangers find themselves relying on each other to survive.
Although this movie came out nearly 50 years ago, I will not spoil it for anyone. I hope that you will find a copy, grab a blanket and some popcorn, turn off the lights, and watch this.
There are 5 sequels spanning the 48 years since the original movie came out: Dawn of the Dead (1978), Day of the Dead (1985), Land of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2007), and Survival of the Dead (2009). I will talk more about these movies later.