Created by Matt Zoller Seitz
Directed by Judith Carter
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
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January 6, 2023 - January 20, 2023 (midnight PST)
George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968) is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential horror films of all time. Shot on a low budget on black and white film, Night depicts an America under siege from reanimated corpses. The action centres around a motley group of survivors holed up in a suburb of Pittsburgh, besieged by flesh-eating ghouls. Romero’s focus on tensions between members of this makeshift community resonates with contemporary racial and gender conflicts and, in addition to its shockingly visceral content, the film’s impact lay in its engagement with contemporary social upheaval – Vietnam and the peace movement, the civil rights struggle, assassinations and escalating urban tensions.
Benjamin Hervey’s study of the film is the first to provide a close analysis of the film and an in-depth account of its reception. Drawing on original archival research, Hervey traces how the film quickly gained cult status, while at the same time it was hailed as a piece of art cinema and as a deep political allegory. Hervey analyses the film scene-by-scene, detailing how the scoring, editing, photography and lighting came together to overall powerful effect. He provides a richly detailed historical context for his reading of the film, showing, for example, how scenes in Night directly relate to contemporary news coverage of Vietnam.
Ben Hervey has taught and lectured in Film Studies and Anglo-American Literature at the Universities of Oxford and Reading. He now works mainly as a screenwriter and film historian.
MZS.Press is the online arts bookstore founded by author, critic, and filmmaker Matt Zoller Seitz and directed by Judith Carter. It offers new, used, signed, collectible, and rare books on film, TV, music, photography, and the visual arts. The store was launched in 2019 on a different platform and has expanded to incorporate arts books published by MZSPress's private imprint: titles currently include Seitz's The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon and Dreams of Deadwood, about the HBO Western, and Walter Chaw's A Walter Hill Film.
Our deepest wish is to promote, encourage, and distribute work by small presses, academic presses, and individuals. Extraordinary work tends to get swallowed up on giant platforms like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The store's inventory of nearly 1000 volumes is currently in the process of being reconstructed after its relocation from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Dallas, Texas. The titles featured here are personally selected by a group of curators and advisors, including Seitz, Carter, and an array of critics, artists, journalists, educators, publishers, and arts mavens who are known for their ability to suss out what Seitz's jazz musician dad liked to call "the good sh*t."
“Since MZS is the brains behind the brand and concept, I guess that makes me the brawn. Even though my 'gun show' looks more like a water pistol exhibit in a toy store window...”
Matt Zoller Seitz
Critic, Author, Filmmaker, MZS Press Creator
Matt Zoller Seitz is the Editor at Large and film critic of RogerEbert.com; a staff writer for New York Magazine and Vulture.com, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism. His writing on film and TV has appeared in Sight and Sound, The New York Times, Salon.com, The New Republic and Rolling Stone. Seitz is the founder and original editor of the influential film blog The House Next Door, now a part of Slant Magazine.
Seitz has written, narrated, edited or produced over a hundred hours’ worth of video essays about cinema history and style for The Museum of the Moving Image, Salon.com and Vulture, among other outlets such as Texas Highways and AARP. His five-part 2009 video essay Wes Anderson: The Substance of Style was spun off into the hardcover book The Wes Anderson Collection. This book and its follow-up, The Wes Anderson Collection: Grand Budapest Hotel were New York Times bestsellers.
Other Seitz books include the New York Times bestellers The Sopranos Sessions and Mad Men Carousel; TV (The Book), The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon, and The Wes Anderson Collection: The French Dispatch. He is also an interviewer, moderator, and film programmer who has curated and hosted film and TV presentations for the Museum of the Moving Image, IFC Center, San Francisco's Roxie Cinema, and other venues. He is currently launching a Dallas extension of his MZS Film Series at the historic Texas Theater.
Judith is quoted as saying "his hobbies include exotic dancing, moonwalking, and affixing masking tape labels to every food item in the refrigerator, including eggs. Oh and he has the attention span of a gnat." MZS agreed to it all except the moonwalking.