Night of the Living Dead is a 1968 American independent horror film written, directed, photographed and edited by George A. Romero, co-written by John Russo, and starring Duane Jones and Judith O'Dea. The story follows seven people who are trapped in a rural farmhouse in western Pennsylvania, which is under assault by an enlarging group of cannibalistic, undead ghouls.
Having gained experience through directing television commercials and industrial films for their Pittsburgh-based production company The Latent Image, Romero and his friends Russo and Russell Streiner decided to fulfill their ambitions to make a feature film. Electing to make a horror film that would capitalize on contemporary commercial interest in the genre, they formed a partnership with Karl Hardman and Marilyn Eastman of Hardman Associates called Image Ten. After evolving through multiple drafts, Russo and Romero's final script primarily drew influence from Richard Matheson's 1954 novel I Am Legend. Principal photography took place between July 1967 and January 1968, primarily on location in Evans City; aside from the Image Ten team themselves, the cast and crew consisted of their friends and relatives, local stage and amateur actors, and residents from the area. Although the film was his directorial debut, Romero utilized many of the guerrilla filmmaking techniques he had honed in his commercial and industrial work to complete the film on a budget of US$114,000.