By Peg Aloi
Remember when Romero’s Night of the Living Dead was remade in color? To be fair, its chromatic transformation was the least of its problems: the heroic protagonist of Ben, played by African American actor Duane Jones, was replaced with, um, a white woman, thereby completely altering the original film’s wonderful undertones of racial unrest. Hello, it was released in 1968! But it was Romero’s choice to work in black and white (prompted by lack of money, and we should be thankful for this, otherwise we’d have had a Blood Feast-like gore-fest on our hands) that helped elevate this strange and deeply-layered film to both classic and cult status. It was the prototype of flesh-eating ghoul films that later spawned many imitators and led Romero to engage in some delightful self-referential parody in later years.