“They’re Coming to Get You, Barbra!”

Do you remember that old black and white zombie movie, Night of the Living Dead?  The famous line was “They’re coming to get you, Barbra!”  That movie was released in October of 1968.  That’s FIFTY years ago!

NotLD was late horror director George Romero’s first film.  It was put together on a shoestring budget by a small group of ambitious young artists and went on to make motion picture history.  Not only did the movie spawn the zombie apocalypse genre, but it proved that popular films could come from outside the Hollywood system AND, it’s one of the earliest major films that featured an African American protagonist.

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© 2008 Johnny Martyr – Actors Judith Ridley & Duane Jones appear on this 1988 Imagine Inc trading card

This movie had a tremendous impact on me when I first saw it at age 5 or 6.  While movies were typically shot in color by 1968, the filmmakers chose to shoot on Kodak Tri-X and Plus X 35mm and 16mm film stocks in order to save money and give the story, what was then, a contemporary newsreel effect.

Today, I shoot some 90% of my photography on b&w film, frequently using the still available Tri-X.  There are myriad reasons I do this and Night of the Living Dead is certainly one of my original inspirations!

And did I mention that one of my hobbies is collecting Night of the Living Dead trading cards?

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© 2008 Johnny Martyr – The late Bill Hinzman co-produced NotLD and played the first contemporary zombie in cinema history and was immortalized on this 1987 Rosem trading card

For the 50th anniversary of this landmark film, I was invited to author an article discussing NotLD trading cards for Fantasm Media’s celebration of the film.  Yes, hello, I’m a nerd!  But hey, it’s fun, right?!

In the spirit of the movie, I took all the photographs for my article on Kodak Tri-X using a Nikon FM2n and Nikkor 55mm 2.8 Micro.  NotLD was shot with Arriflex cameras and Schneider lenses.

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© 2008 Johnny Martyr – The title card of the 2012 Unstoppable trading card series

It was fun photographing trading cards with a macro lens.  The various printing techniques became visible and it was a challenge to make interesting, dynamic images of flat objects.

If you’d like to read the many other awesome articles about the late George Romero’s original low budget genre-defining masterpiece, you can pick up a copy here!

It was quite an honor to contribute a small piece to the history of this unique and personally influential film.

Thanks for reading (and buy a copy!) 😉

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© 2008 Johnny Martyr – Behind the scenes cast photo from the 1993 Imagine Inc On Location trading card set

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