NOTLD premiered on October 1, 1968, and was made on a $114,000 budget. After decades of cinematic re-releases, it grossed some $12 million domestically and $30 million internationally. The movie was was heavily criticized during its release because of its explicit content and similarities to the ongoing Vietnam war. However, it eventually received critical acclaim and was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry as a film deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.
NOTLD follows Ben (Duane Jones), Barbra (Judith ODea), and five others, who are trapped in a rural farmhouse in Pennsylvania and attempt to survive the night while the house is being attacked by mysteriously reanimated ghouls. (The word “zombie” is never used in the film)
“The kids in the audience were stunned There was almost complete silence The movie had stopped being delightfully scary about halfway through, and had become unexpectedly terrifying” – Roger Ebert.