Halloween at LAVA: ‘Night of the Living Dead’ screening and discussion



The LAVA Center (324 Main St., Greenfield, MA 01301, Greenfield MA)

Join LAVA for our annual Halloween movie screening and discussion! This year, we’ll screen the independent horror film, Night of the Living Dead (1968) — written, directed, filmed, and edited by George A. Romero.

Romero revolutionized the horror genre with this film; according to Almar Haflidason of the BBC, the film represented “a new dawn in horror film-making.” The film and its successors spawned countless imitators in cinema, television, and video gaming, which borrowed elements invented by Romero. The film also redefined the “zombie.” Before the film’s release, the term “zombie” described a concept from Haitian folklore. Early zombie films combined this with racial and postcolonial anxieties. Romero never used the word “zombie” in the 1968 film or its script — using instead, “ghoul” — because he said that his flesh-eaters were something new. The term would be retroactively applied to Night of the Living Dead after its cannibalistic undead became the dominant zombie concept in the United States. The film was also seminal (and controversial at the time) in its casting of an African-American man in the lead role.

Following the screening will be a discussion about the film and its cultural impact, facilitated by GCC professor and enthusiast of Halloween and all things scary Lillian Ruiz and fellow horror film aficionado Vanessa Query.

Ruiz will also share a draft chapter on Night of the Living Dead from her forthcoming book, Ticket to Terror: A Cultural Lens on Horror Film. About the book: “Horror films are made from the stuff of nightmares, yet they entertain and fascinate countless numbers of viewers, in part because these films reflect our collective cultural fears. See how and why in eleven seminal horror films, each from the lens of its respective decade, from the 1920’s through the 2010’s, with projections for the 2020’s.”

Lillian Ruiz, Professor of English at Greenfield Community College, teaches classes in media and popular culture, Gothic Literature, Shakespeare, and Women in Literature, among others. An avid pug lover, she usually can be found bragging about her pug or collecting pug memorabilia.

Vanessa Query is an amateur filmmaker and horror film aficionado. In addition to being able to talk for hours about all the horror films she’s seen and all the theories about social and cultural issues they have been caused by and have caused, she has made a couple horror/thriller-type short films and is currently writing a screenplay for a feature length horror film inspired by her love for Sam Raimi.

$5-10 suggested donation. Costumes encouraged!

Note: This movie is intended for mature audiences only (it is unrated by the MPAA).