With all of the "horror" films I watched as a kid, you would have thought I would have seen the classic "Night of the Living Dead". After all, it was the movie that started the "Zombie Craze". But somehow among my steady teen-age diet of Dracula, Frankenstein and various werewolves - where wolf ! -- there wolf ! -- I never had the pleasure of watching it.

The Grand Rapids Civic Theater's presentation of the Night of the Living Dead is based on the original 1968 movie, not the campy reincarnations that came after.  To their credit the talented cast of the Night of the Living Dead put on a "seriously"  scary performance this week.   Because of the nature of the beast, the audience  laughed occasionally.  Let's face it with the elevation of zombies in our culture -- with  Zombie walks every other weekend and the occasional office outburst of "Brains, Brains" -- it's hard to take these flesh eating monsters seriously. But the Civic Theater's cast were more than up to the task.  These creatures survived weeks of rigorous zombie boot camp.  And when the curtain goes up now thru October 30, don't be surprised if you aren't just a little bit on edge during the performance.  I loved the  entire cast.  Karla Dallas  as Barbara especially stands out.  From her first scream to her transformation to a terrified victim, in which she becomes zombiefied, Dallas is first rate.  It's a Grand Rapids tradition at Christmastime to go see the Grand Rapids Ballet's Nutcracker.  to all horror enthusiasts in West Michigan:   go to your favorite haunted house this Halloween, but make sure your to add the Night of the Living Dead at the Civic Theater to your list of scary traditions this season.