Nepotism played a large part in my getting the role of "Karen" in Night of the Living Dead. My real father, Karl Hardman, was the cowardly control freak "Harry Cooper" and a co-producer of the film. The role had originally been written for a boy but since there was a boy shortage that year, they settled for the nearest young, warm body they could find. That was me.
My impressions of the whole experience were, of course, generated from the perspective of a nine year old child. By that time I was already a confirmed horror movie junkie, thanks to Bill "Chilly Billy" Cardille and Chiller Theater every Saturday afternoon. (At that time, The Crawling Eye and The Wasp Woman were my favorite movies.)
It was fascinating to watch ordinary people transformed into flesh-eating
ghouls. I loved seeing zombies stand around the barbecue grills waiting
for their hot dogs, zombies smoking cigarettes, zombies driving cars.
There was a surreal quality to that scene that could only be truly
appreciated by the mind of a child.
Bill Hinzman, the graveyard ghoul, (or, as he prefers to be called, "#1 Zombie") was, in my opinion, the scariest looking zombie and my personal favorite. He was my zombie role model. I compare all others to him and everyone else pales (no pun intended) in comparison. (Incidentally, none of the zombies were ever green, as that awful colorized atrocity would have you believe.)
Although I didn't pursue a career in films, I do feel that my role as
Karen Cooper has enhanced my life. I've been afforded the opportunity to
get to know people that I otherwise would never have met. I am moved and
still somewhat overwhelmed by the real affection that people feel for the
film and the enthusiasm and warmth with which we, the cast members, are
greeted at conventions.
Finally, I want to thank all of you Night of the Living Dead-heads.
Without your continued support of the movie, this website and many others like it
wouldn't exist. I hope to meet all of you at some point in the future.
Until then, stay in the cellar.
P.S. Oh, by the way...my grandmother made the dress that I wore in the movie. My mother gave it away sometime after I'd outgrown it! She apparently had no sense of history. BUT...I still have the bandage that I wore on my arm (it covered the wound I'd sustained from the zombie bite that eventually led to my demise) and some makeup leftover from the shoot. I also have the music box that my dad recorded for the movie. It's not the same one that you see in the film, though; that one belonged to Vince Survinski's sister, and it was stolen from the set by some unscrupulous thief. That rat bastard...I hope he's suffering somewhere right now. Anyway, check them out if you like. Have fun!
Hunger cannot be fulfilled
I'm out of ketchup.
~Brian D. Horrorwitz