The Halloween season gets started in especially fine form with one of the greatest horror movies of all time. George A Romero made Night of the Living Dead for the princely sum of $114,000. It became a gigantic hit, while simultaneously inventing the zombie apocalypse genre and setting the stage for five more Dead films also directed by Romero. The follow-up, Dawn of the Dead, is probably the better film, but the sheer power of Romero’s direction transcends the shoestring budget. Add to that a slice of potent political commentary and a release date in the middle of one of the most explosive eras in recent history, and the result was one of the shining masterpieces of the genre. It opened 50 years ago today in 1968. Happy birthday, Night of the Living Dead!