A Tribute to Bill Hinzman, a.k.a. The Graveyard Zombie from “Night of the Living Dead” (1936-2012)

On February 5, 2012, Bill Hinzman passed away of cancer at the age of 75. He may not have been a famous enough figure for his death to make a lot of headlines and I doubt he will be featured during the “In Memoriam” montage at the Academy Awards, but if you’re a fan of zombie movies, Mr. Hinzman was an icon. Hinzman played the role of the very first zombie to make an appearance in George Romero’s seminal horror classic, Night of the Living Dead, so you can almost say you owe your zombie fandom to this guy. His appearance is preceded by the immortal line, “They’re coming to get you, Barbra”, before Hinzman suddenly shocks the hell out of the viewer by attacking Barbra, killing her brother and chasing her through the graveyard to a farmhouse. If you weren’t around in 1968, you cannot imagine how terrifying this sequence was for audiences at the time. Hinzman would make appearances in a couple more George Romero films, such as There’s Always Vanilla and The Crazies, and would even direct and star in a couple of his own low-budget horror movies during the 1980s, FleshEater and The Majorettes. However, it is his iconic role in Night of the Living Dead which he will always be remembered for and he will be missed by horror fans everywhere.

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