In 1968 a young college drop-out and aspiring filmmaker named George A. Romero directed Night of the Living Dead, a low-budget horror film that shocked the world, became an icon of the counterculture, and invented the modern movie zombie, which has spawned legions of films, books, comics, and video games, generating billions of dollars. Night of the Living Dead is not only internationally recognized as an art film, revered for its groundbreaking treatment of American race relations and allegorical references to the Vietnam war, the film still maintains its cult status as a classic horror masterpiece. The film made history when it simultaneously screened at MOMA and the notorious grind-house theater circuit on 42nd Street.
Since its release Night of the Living Dead has been selected for preservation by the Library of Congress and the National Film Registry. Rob Kuhns' feature documentary BIRTH OF THE LIVING DEAD goes beyond just being a tribute to director George Romero's work, to explore a critical moment in the American experience and the notion that horror acts as a reflection of national anxiety. The film details how Romero gathered an unlikely team of real Pittsburgh citizens -- police officers, iron workers, teachers, housewives and a roller-rink owner -- to shoot in a revolutionary guerrilla style that became a cinematic landmark and one of the most visceral and influential horror films ever made.