In 1968, Night of the Living Dead arrived in cinemas to not only become an instant horror classic, but a film which is often cited as the granddaddy of all zombie movies. The film, directed by George A. Romero, centred around a small group of people trying to survive a zombie apocalypse.
If you have never watched Night of the Living Dead, but you consider yourself to be a fan of the horror genre, then seek it out. The film is hugely influential to cinema’s fascination with zombie movies, and it is a very good, very atmospheric picture, loaded with social commentary.
In addition to being a well-regarded movie, Night of the Living Dead is also the initial entry in a long-running series of zombie movies which includes sequels and remakes. But what are all the George A. Romero Night of the Living Dead movies? Read on for details…
The George A. Romero Night of the Living Dead movies in order
OK, let’s start with all of the films that fall into the original timeline of the George A. Romero series. This collection of movies started with 1968’s Night of the Living Dead, then continued a decade later with Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978) – another highly influential horror film.
Romero released a third entry in 1985, this time under the title of Day of the Dead, followed in 2005 with a fourth entry, Land of the Dead. A fifth film, Diary of the Dead, made its debut in 2007 and then a sixth entry, Survival of the Dead arrived in 2009.
Romero passed away in 2017, leaving a legacy of horror behind him, including his six Night of the Living Dead movies. If you wish to watch all of the films in the series, then use the following list:
- Night of the Living Dead (1968)
- Dawn of the Dead (1978)
- Day of the Dead (1985)
- Land of the Dead (2005)
- Diary of the Dead (2007)
- Survival of the Dead (2009)
It should be noted that Night of the Living Dead is the only entry in the series filmed in black-and-white. However, various colourised versions of the movie do exist, and it is all because Night of the Living Dead is classed as being in the public domain.
A mix-up over the film’s copyright notice in 1968, led to Night of the Living Dead falling into the public domain. As such, over the years various distributors have released different versions of the original film in colour, with varying degrees of success.
An extended edition also exists, released under the title of Night of the Living Dead: 30th Anniversary Edition which was released in 1999 (not ’98 – the actual 30th anniversary of the film). This version of the film includes additional material shot decades later was released by Night of the Living Dead co-writer, John A. Russo.
Are the colour editions or the 30th Anniversary Edition worth watching over the original? In my opinion, no. If you want to watch Night of the Living Dead, my advice is to find the original black-and-white edition and watch that one.
The upside of the film falling into the public domain is that Night of the Living Dead is pretty easy to find online, and it can be viewed free without you running afoul of any legal issues.
OK, so those are the George A. Romero movies, and if you only want to watch the movie’s Romero directed then stick with the list above and ignore everything else that follows. However, if you want to see what lies beyond the Romero-directed pictures, then read on for details about the remakes.
The official Night of the Living Dead remake
In 1990, respected special effects artist, Tom Savini directed a remake of Night of the Living Dead, with George A. Romero providing the screenplay. Savini had provided effects work for some of the Dead movies, and Romero felt he would be perfect for this updated, colour remake.
Initially dismissed by the horror community, the remake of Night of the Living Dead has since found its fanbase and is now regarded quite favourably by fans of the series. If you wish to watch this one, then simply check out:
- Night of the Living Dead (1990)
The unofficial Night of the Living Dead remakes
Because of Night of the Living Dead fell into the public domain, there have been a number of other remakes/productions based on that first entry. None of these have involved George A. Romero, and therefore not are considered ‘official’.
Some of these productions have included Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006) and the animated prequel, Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation (2012), as well as Night of the Living Dead: Resurrection, A Night of the Living Dead (2014), and Night of the Living Dead: Rebirth (2017). I am highlighting these films purely to provide examples of how often the original film has been remade – you don’t necessarily need to view these remakes or any of the other films loosely tied to them (and in most cases, it is best to ignore them).
The Dawn of the Dead remake
As well as remakes of Night of the Living Dead, George A. Romero’s Dead series has also inspired a collection of sequel remakes. The first of these arrived in 2004 as a remake of Dawn of the Dead (the second entry in Romero’s series).
Zack Snyder directed the Dawn of the Dead remake, from a screenplay by Guardians of the Galaxy’s James Gunn. The film was well-received by both audiences and critics and became a box office hit.
If you wish to watch this one, then hunt down:
- Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Oh, and I should mention that no public domain issues surround this or any of the other Dead sequels, so this film and the ones below are all official remakes.
The Day of the Dead remakes
In 2008, director Steve Miner helmed a loose remake of Day of the Dead (the third entry in Romero’s Dead series). The film was not connected to the Dawn of the Dead remake, although both films do feature actor, Ving Rhames.
Unlike Dawn of the Dead Mark II, the Day of the Dead remake was not a hit with fans or critics and it flopped at the box office. Ten years later, a second Day of the Dead remake was produced, this time with Hèctor Hernández Vicens in the director’s chair, and it was met with a similar response.
If you wish to watch the two Day of the Dead remakes (which are not connected) here they are:
- Day of the Dead (2008)
- Day of the Dead: Bloodline (2018)
As these films are not part of the same series, you can watch them in any order.
I hope this information about George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead film series has proved useful. In addition to the films discussed in this post, Romero’s original movie also inspired The Return of the Living Dead series. If you wish to know the viewing order for those films, then click on the highlighted link.
For details about other long-running movie series, please check out one of the recommended reads below.