One of the structures of the American society that is questioned by Romero is The Night of the Living Dead is American capitalism. The cannibalistic act of the zombies is equated to American capitalism (Russo 86). The 1960s was the height of American capitalism and the zombies can be taken as the capitalist and cannibalism the consequences of it. It is also during this period that America was involved in conflicts such as the Vietnam War, which is a form of possessiveness that threatened human relations. The zombies represent the repression of minority groups in 1960s America such as civil rights activists and feminists. The assassination of civil rights activists is equivalent of the cannibalistic acts of the zombies.
As the film progressed, my feelings towards violence changed because of the grisly scenes that it contains. The act of a dead body reanimating and consuming the living was the epitome of the orgy of aggression. I think that the night of the living dead is one of the mist terrifying movies ever made and after watching it I wish that I could forget all the violence that it contains. The seriousness of the film gives it a crude realism that made me feel like the film was actually a reality. The film starts with a context of limited hope and moves towards total despair and ultimately to tragedy with the killing of the hero (Almar 1).
The alienation of humanity from itself is the enemy in the film considering the fact that the reanimated bodies are not enemies from outer space but are humans. The zombies are the enemies in the film, but considering that, the radioactive contamination that causes reanimation of the dead into zombies is due to a space probe returning from Venus; it is evident that humanity is an enemy of itself. Further, this is highlighted by the failure of the government to take quick measures to stop the zombies from killing other people and in determining the actual cause of the dead rising and consuming the living (Russo 58).
Despite Romero denying that race was not a factor in his casting, the character of Ben takes a different meaning because of his race. Ben is the heroic character in the film who struggles to save other characters from the zombies and he survives the zombie onslaught, but unfortunately, a posse who mistook him for a zombie kills him. His fate brings out the assassinations of prominent African American such as martin Luther king and Malcolm X who were assassinated in early 1960s (Almar 1). Romero used Ben’s fate to highlight and critique racial relation is American during the setting of the film.
According to Romero’s depiction, the prospect for the survival of humanity is disillusioned. In the film, the government, which is responsible for protecting citizens from any form of attack, fails in that responsibility. The survival of humanity is also grim as Romero highlights the weaknesses that are inherent in all government levels, the media, and the civil defense system (Poole 105). It took long for the government to respond to the zombie attack, which led to the deaths of many citizens. Romero also paints a bleak picture of the patriarchal nuclear family through the act of Karen eating the flesh of her father. The family is the cornerstone of the survival of humanity, and Romero shows its bleak future through the fate that befell Hillary and his family.
Almar, Haflidason. Review of Night of the Living Dead, March 20, 2001.BBC. Web. Retrieved July 15th, 2013.
Poole, Scott. Monsters in America: Our Historical Obsession with the Hideous and the Haunting. Waco, Texas: Baylor, 2011. Print.
Russo, John. Night of the Living Dead. Edmonton, AB: Commonwealth Publications, 1997. Print.