4. Night of the Living Dead
Written, directed, photographed and edited by George A. Romero and co-written by John Russo, this 1968 seminal and groundbreaking horror film literally gave birth to the whole zombie craze that continues to dominate both cinema and television to this day. This film became one of the most profitable film productions ever made at the time and spawned a franchise that includes five official sequels released between 1978 and 2009.
Although the legendary Sidney Poitier had already laid the path in the 50s with movies like Blackboard Jungle and The Defiant Ones, the casting of Duane Jones as Ben was nonetheless a controversial choice as having a black man serve as the lead protagonist in an American film primarily composed of white actors was still rare. However, in casting him as the lead, the gut punching ending carries even more weight as Ben, who is the last man standing, is shot through the head as an armed posse mistakes him for one of the zombies.