Flashbacks, May 12, 2006

By EDITORIAL  |  May 11, 2006

SCARY MOVIE | 35 years ago | May 11, 1971 | Arnold Reisman took in the horror flick Night of the Living Dead.

“If you weren’t unfortunate enough to spend a night with the living dead at the Orson Welles last week, allow me to share the misery. I’m not asking anybody to puke his guts out as the Welles did some people who naively took part in this experience. I just have to exorcise the dybbuk that was inserted in my cerebral-intestinal hook-up for a mere $2, the mere price of admission ...    or emission. And when it comes to making less of a mess, in terms of exorcism, you have to admit that print beats the others (e.g., regurgitation, masturbation, enema, lobotomy) cold.

“First of all, in its ads, the theater suckers you in (if you happen to be a discriminating glutton for cinematic horror) by heralding Night of the Living Dead as ‘the most frightening film ever made.’ Whoever said that was either one of those sideshow barkers who never took the time to see what he was selling or someone ignorant of the definition of frightening. For scary, it’s really not. It’s just the most repulsive film ever made. In fact, it makes Polansky’s Repulsion look like ‘Gidget Goes Neurotic.’

“For those of you who saw Repulsion, you’ll remember at least one scene in which you found your attention suddenly riveted to the floor or to your neighbor. To anything but the screen. For those of you who actually watched Catherine Deneuve make shredded wheat out of her landlord, while the rest of us were busily engaged in analyzing the gum stuck under our seats, Night of the Living Dead then is your cup of tea or, rather, dish of meat. For this film is basically a seemingly endless string of such sequences. It is primal gore. It would have made a great commercial for Alka Seltzer.”

Where are they now?
Dan Kennedy is a contributor to theBoston Phoenixand an assistant professor of journalism at Northeastern University. Gary Susman is a frequent contributor to the Boston Phoenix. Amy Finch freelances for the Boston Phoenix. Neil Miller is the author of four books on gay and lesbian life. Arnold Reisman is a film and TV writer in the Boston area.

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