Zombies and aliens abound everywhere at your local library
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.