The original titles for Night of the Living Dead was Night of
the Flesh Eaters, but they changed it at the threat of a
producer who already made a film by that name. Actually, the
movie disturber gave the film its' final name.
The film also carried the title of Night of Anubis during
filming only to be changed as referenced above. Anubis is the
god of embalming/mummifying in the ancient Egyptian religion.
In the original treatment of the script, Barbara (Judith
O'Dea) was to have survived the night.
Black & White film stock was not used to add atmosphere, but
for economic reasons. Color was used in the beginning, but
later dropped for the aforementioned reason.
Romero has stated that the initial idea for Night of the
Living Dead was inspired by Richard Matheson's book, "I am
The goodies (i.e. entrails, meat, etc) were supplied by a
butcher who was an investor in the film.
Night of the Living Dead"is directly responsible for the ad
vocation of the Midnight Movie.
In the original script, the character of Ben (Duane Jones),
was a much harsher man. He was your stereotypical truck
driver. The character was changed for Duane Jones.
The budget for this film was $114,000.
If you look carefully you will notice numbers on the boards
Ben is using to board up the house. This was done to help with
continually, so that when the boards were taken down at the
end of shooting they would go back in the same place the next
day. Unfortunately, sometime the boards were put on backwards
and that is when the numbers are evident.
Other blood is actually Bosco chocolate syrup.
When the zombies are eating the bodies in the burnt-out truck
they were actually eating roast ham covered in chocolate
sauce. The filmmakers joked that it was so nausea inducing
that it was almost a waste of time putting the makeup on the
zombies, as they ended up looking pale and sick anyway.
During the filming of the cemetery sequence, shot on two
separate days, an unexpected accident caused a fast change of
script. The car driven by Barbara and Johnny into the cemetery
was actually owned by the mother of Russell Streiner.
Unfortunately, sometime between the two filming sequences,
someone ran into the car and put a dent in it that would
easily be visible on camera. George A. Romero rewrote the
scene so the car would come to a stop by crashing into a tree.
Tom Savini was originally hired by George A. Romero to do the
makeup effects for this film. The two were first introduced
when Savini auditioned for an acting role in an earlier film
that never got off the ground. Romero, remembering that Savini
was also a makeup artist (he had brought his makeup portfolio
to show to Romero at the audition), called Savini to the set
of his horror movie. However, Savini was unable to do the
effects, as he was called to duty by the U.S. Army to serve as
a combat photographer in Vietnam.
First horror film to have an African-American (Duane Jones)
playing a lead role.
Bill 'Chilly Billy' Cardille, who played the television
reporter, was indeed a local Pittsburgh TV celebrity. Known as
"Chilly Billy" Cardille, he hosted a horror movie program on
Channel 11 and occasionally reported the news.
Columbia Pictures was the only major Hollywood studio
interested in distributing this film, but eventually passed
because it was in black-and-white at a time when movies had to
compete with new color televisions. Ironically, Columbia did
distribute the 1990 color remake. American International
Pictures (AIP) considered releasing the film, but wanted
George Romero to shoot an upbeat ending and add more of a love
Actor/co-producer Karl Hardman (Harry Cooper, the father in
the basement), also served as makeup artist, electronic sound
effects engineer, and took the still photos used for the
The extras who played the zombies were paid $1 and a t-shirt
that said "I was a zombie on Night of the Living Dead".
George A. Romero has readily admitted that Herk Harvey's
Carnival of Souls (1962) was a big influence in his making of
The main house did not have a true basement but a dirt
"potter's" cellar, and thus had no long staircase leading down
to it. The basement scenes were filmed in the editing studio's
The word "zombie" is never used.
The music used in the film was from a Capitol Records Hi-Q
stock music library, and cost the filmmakers $1500. It was
originally used in Teenagers from Outer Space (1959).
One of the Walter Reade Organization's publicity stunts was a
$50,000 insurance policy against anyone dying from a heart
attack while watching the film.
The film's world premiere was at the Fulton Theatre in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on 1 October 1968 (At 8PM, admission
by invitation only). The film was met with a standing ovation.
The Evans City Cemetery was the cemetery used in the original
version of the film.
The house used for this film was loaned to the filmmakers by
the owner, who planned to demolish it anyway, thereby ensuring
that they could do whatever they wanted to the house.
While writing the script, George A. Romero and John A. Russo
were trying to think of a manner in which to destroy the
zombies. Marilyn Eastman joked that they could throw pies in
their faces. This is obviously an inspiration for the pie
fight scene in this film's sequel, Dawn of the Dead (1978).
The calendar in the farmhouse kitchen is for December 1966.
According to the George A. Romero commentary track on the
Elite laserdisc and DVD version of the film, the original
working print and working elements and materials for the film
no longer exist - they were destroyed as a result of a flood
that filled the basement where the materials were stored
(which was the same basement used in the movie).
One of the original ideas for the script before its many
revisions called for Barbra to be a very strong, charismatic
character. Instead, Romero and the producers loved Judith
O'Dea's portrayal as a catatonic and terrified young girl much
better, and hence edited the script to accommodate the part.
Eventually, the idea of Barbara being a strong, central
character would be revisited in Tom Savini's 1990 remake.