Siblings Barbra and Johnny drive to a cemetery in rural Pennsylvania to visit their father's grave. Their car radio goes off the air due to technical difficulties. As they are leaving, a strange, ashen-faced man wearing a tattered suit kills Johnny and attacks Barbra. She flees and takes shelter in a farmhouse, but finds the woman who lived there dead and half-eaten. She sees a multiplying number of strange ghouls, led by the man from the cemetery, approaching the house. A man named Ben arrives, secures the farmhouse by boarding the windows and doors, and drives away the ghouls with a lever-action rifle he finds in the closet and with fire, which the ghouls fear.
Barbra, in a catatonic state from shock, is surprised when Harry Cooper and Tom emerge from the cellar. Harry has been taking shelter there with his wife Helen and their young daughter Karen after a group of the same monsters overturned their car and bit Karen, leaving her seriously ill. Tom arrived with his girlfriend Judy after hearing an emergency broadcast about a series of brutal killings. Tom aids Ben in securing the farmhouse while Harry angrily protests that it is unsafe before returning to the cellar, which he believes is safer. Ghouls continue to besiege the farmhouse in ever-increasing numbers.
File:Night of the Living Dead (1968).webm
Night of the Living Dead (full film)
The refugees listen to radio and television reports of a wave of mass murder being committed across the east coast of the United States by an army of cannibalistic, reanimating corpses, and posses of armed men patrolling the countryside to kill the ghouls. They confirm that the ghouls can be stopped with a bullet or heavy blow to the head, or by being burned, as Ben discovered, and that various rescue centers are offering refuge and safety. Scientists theorize that the reanimations are occurring due to radiation from a space probe that exploded in Earth's atmosphere on the way back from Venus.
Ben devises a plan to obtain medical supplies for Karen and transport the group to a rescue center by refuelling his truck. Ben, Tom, and Judy drive to a nearby gas pump, holding the ghouls off with torches and Molotov cocktails. However, the gas from the pump spills and causes the truck to catch fire and explode, killing Tom and Judy. Ben runs back to the house on his own, and has to break down the door when Harry does not let him back in. Ben beats Harry for his cowardice. While the ghouls feast on the remains of Tom and Judy, the remaining survivors attempt to find a way out. However, the ghouls break through the barricades. In the ensuing chaos, Harry is shot dead by Ben, Karen dies from her injuries, reanimates, begins to eat her father's remains, and stabs Helen to death with a masonry trowel. Barbra recovers from her catatonic state and tries to help Ben keep the ghouls out, but is dragged away by a reanimated Johnny and the other ghouls.
As the horde breaks into the house, Ben takes refuge in the cellar, where he shoots Harry and Helen's reanimating corpses. The next morning, an armed posse arrives and begins dispatching the remaining ghouls in the area. Awoken by their gunfire and sirens, Ben emerges from the cellar, but is shot and killed when they mistake him for a ghoul. His body is thrown onto a bonfire and burned with the rest of the ghouls.
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