Zom­bies and aliens abound ev­ery­where at your lo­cal li­brary

The Bradenton Herald (Sunday) - - Local - BY DAVID BREAKFIELD

Hal­loween is a time for spooky movies and trick or treat, and Oc­to­ber marks two mile­stones.

First, Ge­orge Romero’s clas­sic “Night of the Liv­ing Dead” turns 50. There had been a smat­ter­ing of movie zom­bies ear­lier, but none re­ver­ber­ated and have been as in­flu­en­tial as this film.

Bored with mak­ing com­mer­cials and in­dus­trial films, Romero de­cided to make a hor­ror film. The film helped to cre­ate new stan­dards for movie gore and vi­o­lence on the screen, as well as help­ing to change the land­scape of the hor­ror film for­ever.

Romero made sev­eral fol­low-up films over the next few decades.

Your li­brary has the orig­i­nal film on both DVD and as a stream­ing video through Hoopla. We also have one of his later films, “Land of the Dead” on DVD from 2016.

If you want more zom­bies, you’ve come to the right place.

The first zom­bie movie was “White Zom­bie” pro­duced in 1932 and star­ring Bela Lu­gosi, then bask­ing in the suc­cess of “Drac­ula” from the pre­vi­ous year. This eerie film is avail­able in a three-film set en­ti­tled “Bela Lu­gosi: King of the Un­dead,” which also in­cludes two other Lu­gosi chillers sans zom­bies, “The Corpse Van­ishes (1942) and “One Body Too Many” (1944).

If you’re look­ing for in­for­ma­tion on zom­bies, you can find a plethora of books, movies, doc­u­men­taries by sim­ply en­ter­ing the word “zom­bie” in the search cat­a­log. You can find “The Walk­ing Dead” TV se­ries, “Zom­bieland” (2010), the doc­u­men­tary “Zom­bies: A Liv­ing His­tory” (2011), and oth­ers in our col­lec­tion.

The sec­ond mile­stone is Or­son Welles’ ter­ri­fy­ing ra­dio broad­cast of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds,” which turns 80.

Like Romero’s film, this broad­cast sent shock­waves around the en­ter­tain­ment world. Welles was sub­se­quently of­fered a con­tract at RKO Pic­tures where he pro­duced “Cit­i­zen Kane” in 1941, widely con­sid­ered one of the great­est films ever made.

Al­legedly, the ra­dio broad­cast caused a panic wherein var­i­ous peo­ple across the coun­try be­lieved that the U.S. was un­der­go­ing a real Mar­tian in­va­sion. Whether the panic was wide­spread or not, Welles and his col­lab­o­ra­tors fash­ioned the pro­gram in the man­ner of a news broad­cast which made it re­al­is­tic and grip­ping.

We have copies of the clas­sic 1938 broad­cast on CD, and sev­eral copies of a read­ing of the orig­i­nal 1898 H.G. Wells novel. There was even a mu­si­cal pro­duced in the 1970s, and we have that, too.

Also avail­able are a 2005 tele­vi­sion se­ries and the clas­sic 1953 film ver­sion, which is paired with an­other clas­sic sci­ence fic­tion film “When Worlds Col­lide.” Other films of note are the cult film “In­vaders from Mars” (1953), and the wacky “Mars Needs Women” (1967).

Let’s not for­get Tim Bur­ton’s com­edy par­ody “Mars At­tacks” (1996), “Mis­sion to Mars” (2000), and the 2012 Dis­ney film “John Carter,” which was based on a se­ries of nov­els by Edgar Rice Bur­roughs, the cre­ator of Tarzan.

Speak­ing Vol­umes, writ­ten by Manatee County Pub­lic Li­brary Sys­tem staff mem­bers, is pub­lished each Sun­day in the Braden­ton Her­ald. David Breakfield is a ref­er­ence li­brar­ian at the Down­town Cen­tral Li­brary.

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