How well do you remember 1990's Night of the Living Dead?

By: Torrance Grey
Image: Test Hero Credit

About This Quiz

Horror legend George A. Romero gave his blessing to this colorized remake of the film that launched zombies into the pop-culture stratosphere. Show off your zombie savvy with our quiz!

Where does Night of the Living Dead open?

A brother and sister are paying their last respects. Only one of them will make it out alive.

In which year was the original film released?

The 1990 movie has several nice homages to its '60s roots. In the cemetery scene, Johnny and Barbara both wear dated clothes - for her, a cardigan sweater, blouse, and skirt. Later, a survivor watches news reports on a black-and-white TV, on which a stoic white man in a suit - very '60s! - reads reports from sheets of paper, not a teleprompter.

In which US state is the movie set?

It's not made explicit that the action takes place in this state, the same one was the original movie. But Tommy's Steelers cap is one tipoff.

What is the name of the movie's protagonist?

In the original version, the name was spelled "Barbra" in the credits, like the famous singer, Streisand. The 1990 script used the more conventional spelling, one of a few small changes in an otherwise faithful remake.

What kind of car do Johnny and Barbara drive to the cemetery?

It must be a very large cemetery. The Mercedes seems to go around and around its narrow paved roads before reaching the right grave - all the better, so we can hear Johnny and Barbara bicker all the way.

Who are Johnny and Barbara visiting at the cemetery?

The trip to the graveyard is a point of contention between the two siblings. Johnny complains that his mother never travelled 200 miles to visit anyone, and that she had herself buried "miles from the nearest glass of beer" just to be an annoyance.

How does Johnny die?

Johnny has been teasing his sister mercilessly, but he does defend her when she's attacked. Unfortunately, he falls and hits his head on a grave marker. Later, Barbara will recognize the zombie responsible and kill him.

Since Johnny had the car keys, how does Barbara escape the attacking zombies?

The car rolls rear-end-first into a tree. The DVD commentary says that someone sent Mercedes a copy of the scene, noting that the airbag did not deploy, and they got a new car out of it!

Who played Ben, the de facto leader of the survivors?

In the very first shot of Todd's Ben, he is holding a hook in his hand. It seems like a homage to his role in Candyman, but that movie hadn't been made yet.

With what weapon does Ben kill the first zombie we see him dispatch?

Ben mows down a zombie walking up the road toward the farmhouse. Kinda irresponsible: from the back and at high speed, how'd he know this wasn't just a shell-shocked survivor, moving slowly?

With what weapon does Barbara kill her first zombie?

Barbara buries the poker into the zombie's head. Ben has just done the same to another zombie with his hook. They're getting close to the discovery that the brain is a zombie's only vulnerable area.

How many survivors are down in the cellar?

The cellar-dwellers are the argumentative Harry Cooper, his wife Helen, their daughter Sarah, Tom, and Tom's girlfriend Judy Rose. Sarah is "sick," which turns out to mean bitten by a zombie, but we don't learn that until 48 minutes in.

Where were the Coopers coming from when their car broke down?

Harry only says that the car broke down "on the interstate." They must have been somewhere nice, because all of them are in formal clothes - Harry wears a cummerbund with an untied bow tie around his neck.

Which of the characters has a connection to the farmhouse?

Tom's uncle Regis owns the house, and his cousin Satchel lives there. (Well, not anymore ...)

How did Tom's cousin Satchel die?

Ben finds him on the upstairs landing. It's not clear why he gave up so early on surviving the outbreak. Tom simply says that Satchel shot himself after his father attacked him.

Why can't the group simply go straight to the gas pump and refuel the truck?

Tom explains that the pump is locked and says he'll hunt for the key. Ben nixes this, saying Ben might never find the key - and as cluttered as the house is, we have to agree.

What is the main point of disagreement between Harry Cooper and Ben?

Harry's idea is that it's safest to be down in the cellar, where there's only one point of entry. Ben's argument is that if the zombies break through the cellar door, the survivors will be cornered. The two men part ways, with the Coopers staying in the basement, but Tom and Judy Rose joining Ben and Barbara upstairs.

Which of these, according to the TV reporter, is NOT a potential explanation for the outbreak?

The many explanations for the outbreak include voodoo and "Judgment Day." The one idea that isn't taken seriously by authorities is that the dead are really re-animating.

What do Ben and Harry finally come to blows over?

Technically, by the time they come to blows, the TV set is defunct. Harry was trying to carry it down to the cellar, and when Ben wrestles with him to stop him, Harry drops the TV. It falls down the stairs and is wrecked.

Who takes the truck to the gas pump?

Judy Rose wasn't supposed to go, initially. But she says they need three: one to drive, one to pump the gas, and one to ride shotgun. Her logic wins out.

How do Tom and Judy Rose die?

When Tom finds out the key ring doesn't include the key to the gas pump, he shoots off the lock. But this nicks the pump itself, releasing fuel, and the flaming torch in the back ignites the fumes.

How does Helen Cooper die?

Having been killed by a zombie, Helen becomes one herself. Ben, who has taken refuge in the cellar, shoots her and sends her to her permanent rest.

How does Ben die?

Harry shoots him several times, and this is probably the primary cause. But since Ben turns into a zombie at the very end, we know he's also been bitten.

How does Barbara die?

In the original, "Barbra" is dragged through the window by Johnny. It's Ben who makes it through the night, barricading himself in the cellar and killing the re-animated Harry and Helen. But then Ben is mistakenly killed by a zombie-hunting posse in the morning - one of the film's comments on American racism.

What does Ben find in the cellar, that he finds so funny?

Ben is badly injured when he goes down to the basement. He lights up a cigarette, but then spits it out to laugh hysterically when finding the key, neatly labeled "Gas Pump."

How does Barbara survive?

Walking right past the zombies was Barbara's solution early on. She pointed out how slow and uncoordinated they were. Ben, however, thought it was too dangerous.

How does Harry get through the night in the farmhouse?

After Harry goes up into the attic, we wonder why the group didn't figure this strategy out long beforehand. The trapdoor closes flush with the ceiling, leaving the uncoordinated and not-very-bright walking dead with no way to follow.

How does Harry die?

Barbara gets away with this revenge killing because the authorities assume he was already a zombie when she shot him (which he wasn't). After, she coldly says, "There's another one for the fire," because zombie bodies are being burned in a mass pyre.

What word is not used in Night of the Living Dead?

It's understandable that people in the first hours of a never-before-seen phenomenon wouldn't have a ready-made name for it. In fact, it takes the characters some time to accept that the dead are even coming back. After Barbara kills one obvious zombie, Judy Rose screams, "You killed Mr. Magruder!"

This movie was the directorial debut of which horror-movie heavyweight?

Savini has also done some acting. He was a biker in From Dusk Til Dawn and a sheriff's deputy in Rodriguez's Planet Terror.

What controversial image made it into the 1990 film that couldn't be included in the 1968 version?

With the racial troubles of 1968, including the King assassination, the lynching image at the film's end was deemed too controversial.

Who played Ben in the original film?

Romero said he cast Jones simply because Jones gave the best audition. This might have been disingenuous, because the original had clear racial overtones. These aren't as noticeable in the 1990s remake, largely because a black man in charge and giving orders to white characters was no longer extraordinary to movie audiences. More noticeable was the remake's feminist leanings, re-creating Barbara as a competent heroine who survives the whole movie.

Tony Todd went on to play a mortician who might be the incarnation of death in what 1990s movie?

Todd was also in Candyman, but in that film he played a killer brought to life by the popularity of an urban legend. Like Night of the Living Dead, that movie had racial themes, as the original Candyman was killed by a white mob.

How many Dead films did George Romero and/or his son Cameron make?

They include the popular - and also remade - Dawn of the Dead, then carry on through Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead. Diary is a found-footage-style film, which was all the rage in the 2000s.

Which actor who auditioned for the role of Ben eventually landed a role in the Dawn of the Dead remake?

Rhames played a police officer who holes up with other survivors in the shopping mall. Eriq La Salle's ER co-star, Mekhi Phifer, had a role in Dawn as well.

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