Night of the Living Dead movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Night of the Living Dead filmed?

1968

About Night of the Living Dead

Though the zombie film is practically a genre itself these days, screenwriter and director George A. Romero’s 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead was not only a hit at the theaters, it was the blueprint for the first modern zombie film. In 1990, Romero partnered with well-known horror director Tom Savini to produce an official remake of his original noir masterpiece.

To Savini’s credit, he follows Romero’s original screenplay almost in its entirety, although many critics have said this rather boring approach leaves a lot to be desired when there’s so much leeway for updates to a 50-year-old film.

Like the original film, Night of the Living Dead follows siblings Johnny (Bill Moseley) and Barbara (Patricia Tallman) Todd as they travel to visit their mother’s grave in a totally-not-spooky cemetery in the remote western Pennsylvania countryside. Whether this detail by Romero is intentional foreshadowing or merely an atmospheric device, it’s brilliant, because the pair is attacked by the reanimated dead (Mom?)

Johnny is killed, but Barbara manages to scramble out of the cemetery and make her way to what appears to be an abandoned farmhouse. The house is – surprise! – also infested with shambling corpses, but another lone traveler named Ben (Tony Todd) appears and the two of them manage to dispatch the zombies.

This leads to the discovery of other survivors hiding in the basement, including Harry (Tom Towles), Helen (McKee Anderson) and daughter Sarah (Heather Mazur) Cooper and teenage couple Tom Bitner (William Butler) and Judy Rose Larson (Katie Finneran). There are no other vehicles and nothing around, so presumably everyone was just ambling through rural Pennsylvania when the dead woke up hungry.

Sarah has been bitten and is becoming seriously ill, and a pack of zombies begins to converge on the house after hearing all the commotion. Deciding their most useful plan of escape is to get Ben’s truck to the gas pump a few hundred yards away, he, Tom and Judy grab a set of keys from the home’s unfortunate owner and head to refill the truck. While trying to get into the pump, gasoline gushes out and ignites the truck, killing both Tom and Judy in the process – at least they won’t be returning to feast on the others.

When Ben returns to the house, he finds Sarah has become a full-fledged zombie, she’s bitten her mother Helen and Harry is waving a gun around trying to protect his daughter from Ben and Barbara, who are obviously trying not to be dinner. In the ensuing chaos, Harry shoots Ben, Barbara shoots Sarah, Ben shoots Helen and Barbara sensibly runs from the house as Harry hides in the attic.

While aimlessly running through the area, Barbara manages to find a group of locals who are combing the hills eliminating the undead. When she wakes up the following day, she finds herself in town and tells Sheriff McClelland about the tragedy at the farmhouse. Upon returning, hoping to find Ben alive perhaps, she finds him reanimated in the basement before McClelland shoots him dead.

Unfortunately, Harry chooses that moment to stumble down from the attic, and Barbara is not having it. In a fit of rage, she kills him for causing Ben’s death and simply walks away. The film never addresses whether the zombie outbreak is local to rural Pennsylvania or a worldwide phenomenon, but all seems well as Barbara walks away, hopefully to find a trauma therapist.

Although the film was largely panned by critics as being too close to the original screenplay, and therefore bringing nothing new to the table, it was successful in theaters and has amassed a small cult following of its own. The original film not only spawned a remake, but also several sequels – unlike many film franchises, especially in the horror genre, Romero has had a hand in all of them.

City Locations

Washington County, Pennsylvania

Location Types

American, House, Victorian

Location Styles

Americana/Anywhere America, Rustic

Night of the Living Dead Locations

The events in Night of the Living Dead take place in rural western Pennsylvania, and most of the filming took place there. Night of the Living Dead filming locations can be found in rural Washington County, Pennsylvania. In fact, true to the film itself, the cemetery and the house used were only a few miles apart.

The opening scenes were shot at the West Middletown Cemetery on State Route 844 in Pennsylvania and the home used for the film is about four miles away. Since the film is fairly self-contained, there aren’t many far-flung locations to visit.

Fun fact:

In an early version of the script, the film was meant to begin in black and white like the original, and slowly adapt to color as the movie went on. This film shoot method is not often seen.

The dead have risen scene in Night of the Living Dead

West Middleton Cemetery

Romero doesn’t waste any time on exposition or scene setting – Johnny and Barbara Todd are visiting their mother’s grave at Evans City Cemetery (a homage to the original location used in the 1968 film) and suddenly the place is crawling with shambling corpses.

As Barbara and Johnny bicker about the type of person their mother was (read: not the great kind) in the cemetery, Johnny teases his younger sister by imitating Boris Karloff and saying “They’re coming to get you, Barbara!” Ironically, they are indeed coming, from every direction, although unfortunately we never learn whether or not mom is among the undead.

In the end, Johnny ends up serving the zombies a nice lunch while Barbara scrambles out of the cemetery and forgoes running to the car but instead heads across the field toward a nice-looking abandoned farmhouse.

The cemetery used for this scene is the West Middleton Cemetery in Washington County, Pennsylvania. The cemetery is located on the north side of Route 844 just east of Patton Drive.

Ben’s last moments scene in Night of the Living Dead

4051 Jefferson Avenue

Ben has had a rough night. His truck ran out of gas, he’s been chased by an untold number of zombies, he’s been barricaded in a house with a belligerent jerk, he’s almost been blown up and now he’s been shot.

As Ben sits back in the basement, turns on the radio and lights up one last smoke, he chuckles to himself as the announcer says, “These bodies can be disposed of in only one known manner; that is by incapacitating the brain.”

“You got that right,” mutters Ben, having just shot the reanimated Helen Cooper right between the eyes.

Adding even more irony to the scene, Ben looks up and notices a key hanging on the wall labeled “gas pump.”

The home where much of the film takes place is located about 4 miles southeast of the West Middletown Cemetery, in an unincorporated area of Washington County. The home, located at 4051 Jefferson Avenue, can be seen from the road. However, several comments online indicate the homeowner does not want Night of the Living Dead fans trespassing on his property, so be sure to take photos from the public roadway.

The gas pump scene in Night of the Living Dead

Gas pump on property, Jefferson Avenue

After figuring out that being stuck in a wooden farmhouse with a mass of walking corpses gathering outside probably isn’t the best idea, the group decides that the best means of escape is to pile everyone in Ben’s pickup truck and get the heck out of Dodge.

There’s just one problem – the pickup truck is out of gas. Not to worry, though, because there’s a gas pump just a few hundred yards away. All they have to do is grab the keys off the former owner of the house, head to the pump, fill up and get going.

After fending off a herd of zombies and saving Ben, who in turn just saved everyone left in the house by torching the attacking corpses, Tom, Judy and Ben arrive at the gas pump only to discover they can’t get in.

“These are the wrong keys!” screams Tom as he tries to force the door. Desperate to get into the gas pump, Tom takes the rifle and shoots the lock, puncturing the tank in the process. The spraying gasoline ignites the lit torch, still lying in the back of the truck. Ben can only look on as the ensuing explosion kills the young couple.

The Night of the Living Dead production team took advantage of the many outbuildings spread across the farm. This scene takes place the largest of them on the home’s property. Because the building is located at the back of the property beyond the house, it’s not viewable from the road. The homeowner does not want fans of the movie trespassing on his land.

Sarah’s hungry scene in Night of the Living Dead

Basement of Jefferson Avenue property

As Ben scraps with the zombies outside and Barbara takes a few out with her rifle, Harry sends Helen back down into the basement to tend to their critically ill daughter Sarah. Sarah, however, is not where Helen left her just a few minutes ago.

As Helen looks around for her, Sarah ambles toward her from the shadows, clearly no longer among the living. Her mother can only cry and back up against a wall as her daughter approaches, mouth agape.

Helen’s last words, “Oh, my baby,” are cut short as Sarah takes rips off her necklace and takes a bite out of her neck.

This scene takes place in the farmhouse’s basement. The room, as well as the entire property, is not accessible to the public, and the homeowner does not want fans of the movie trespassing on his property.

The us versus them scene in Night of the Living Dead

Jefferson Avenue Property

Up until this point, Harry has been a selfish, belligerent, egotistical jerk, but hey – massive amounts of stress can do strange things to reasonable people. When Ben returns to the house, Harry can be seen loading a rifle, and it soon becomes clear what he intends to do with it.

Barbara and Ben have discovered that Sarah has become one of the shambling monsters terrorizing the house, and as Ben prepares to shoot her to keep the actual death count as low as possible, Harry turns the rifle on him and pulls the trigger. Even though nothing can be done for her, Harry refuses to let Ben kill – re-kill? – his only child.

Barbara manages to shoot Sarah just as she’s about to become a midnight snack, and when Harry turns to rifle on her, Ben manages to shoot him, sending him crawling into the attic and leaving the pair to fend for themselves.

With Ben wounded, Barbara makes the decision to run from the house on her own as the zombies close in. Ben has no choice but to retreat to the basement, relieving Helen of her un-death in the process.

Safe at last scene in Night of the Living Dead

When a group of locals sweeps through the area, Barbara is rescued and taken to a camp, where she distastefully watches a few of them use dangling zombies for target practice.

“They’re us,” she quips, as she watches the spectacle. “They’re us and we’re them.”

When the group makes its way to the farmhouse, Barbara sadly discovers that Ben has been reanimated as well, and he meets her gaze for a moment before two of the local cleaning crew shoot him dead. In one of Night of the Living Dead’s last, and perhaps best scenes, Barbara makes her way through the house only to find a smiling Harry, who is seemingly grateful that she came back. Without a moment’s hesitation, Barbara shoots him square in the forehead, killing him instantly for wounding Ben and ultimately causing his death.

“There’s another one for the fire,” she says coldly, stepping over Harry corpse and walking out of the house.

This scene takes place in the living room of the farmhouse, which is privately owned and inaccessible to the public. The property owner does not want movie fans trespassing on his property, so please take photos from the road.

Conclusion

Although critics somewhat panned the film as being too close to the original, other’s note that Tom Savini did a masterful job with the film, following the original closely but tweaking and giving the characters a few modern updates. In casting Tallman as Barbara, Savini gave the redhead more fire and attitude, rather than portraying her as a damsel in distress as the original film did. Known for his makeup and special effects in several of Romero’s films, Savini didn’t disappoint when it came to the zombies themselves.

The 1968 film has been considered one of the best by The New York Times, and the 1990 remake has also amassed fans and sequels for the past 32 years. Although the film doesn’t address what started this iteration of the zombie apocalypse, it’s a chilling look at what ordinary people are capable of during a nationwide emergency.