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Director George A. Romero kicked off the zombie genre in 1968 with his “Night of the Living Dead,” and from the outset he used the undead menace to channel contemporary fears.

“Night,” amid the spilling intestines and severed limbs, contained pitch-black commentary on racial tensions, generational conflict and the televised brutality of the Vietnam War, while predicting the Manson Family horrors that would follow a few months later. Its sequel, “Dawn of the Dead” (1978), — one of the most disturbing horror movies ever made — was set in a shopping mall, and skewered Me Generation consumerism with ghoulish glee.

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