They're Coming to Get You Barbra!!!! The Judith O'Dea Interview by Greg Tiderington

I could never forget this leading lady in the cult classic George A. Romero flick in 1968 which is of course 'Night of the Living Dead' since she knew her stuff well by being traumatized by zombies trying to get at her and trying to lock herself in a farmhouse.
She for sure became an icon for this flick but then took a break from screen acting after this one by pursuing her career on stage which is the true craft of acting as well as founded her coach company O'Dea Company plus she was raising her own family so she still kept busy during those time periods.
In 1978 she did have a part in the made-for-TV Movie 'The Pirate'.
She returned to the screen once again in many independent low budget flicks since 2003 by appearing in the slasher 'Claustrophobia' as well as working steadily with Jason Paul Collum in his psychological drama-horror 'October Moon' in which she reprised her role in the sequel. She is working on a future horror project of his as to top it off.
She is a busy actress working steadily in the horror film industry since we all missed her performance in 'NOTLD' as well as touring the horror convention circuit greeting fans and signing autographs and taking pics with them.
I met her at Crypticon and was thrilled when she would accept my interview by email afterwards.
Check out her official site at
All right zombie fans let's get with the interview as I'm so stoked that she was kind enough to do this one due to her tight schedule!!!!


What was the experience like to play Barbra in 'Night of the Living Dead'?

It was a thrill for me, Greg; especially since it was my first feature film.  I’m so glad Karl Hardman (Harry Cooper) gave me a call from Pittsburgh when I was living in Los Angeles, CA to ask if I would like to audition for the film.

What kinds of experience was it like at the graveyard scene like when (Russ) Streiner was teasing you or being attacked by a zombie and then you’re running for your life?

What I remember most about the cemetery scene was how realistically Bill Hinzman (our wonderful Zombie #1) attacked both Russ Streiner and me.  He made it very easy for me to be scared witless trying to get away.

How could you relate being shocked and disturbed in the farmhouse while trying to be safe from the zombies?

I believe Barbra was so traumatized in the farmhouse after having seen her brother killed and finding the dead woman’s body up on the second floor that she really wasn’t thinking clearly about staying safe from the zombies.  She had Ben to do that thinking for her.  This gave her time to go deep into her mind to make sense of what was happening, and then to eventually come back to the surface of reality to actively help others in the house try to survive.

What scene did you enjoy doing the most in the film?

Oh, that’s a very hard question for me to answer, Greg, because I honestly had such an exciting time during the entire filmmaking process.  But if push came to shove and I had to answer, I think it might be when my brother came back as a ghoul/zombie and dragged me out amongst all the other attacking living dead.

Which was the most struggling?

There were several…fighting with Bill Hinzman in the cemetery and being dragged out and mauled by the attacking zombies near the end of the film.  I also did quite a bit of running in the film which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Were you approached to appear in other horror films after the release of that movie?

No, not right away. It wasn’t until several decades later that I was first approached by a young filmmaker to appear in one of his first horror films.  Before that time, I was fortunate to continue working in the theatre doing all kinds of shows from musicals to comedy and drama.

In 2003 you returned to the horror genre being in 'Claustrophobia'. What did you play in it and what was it like working again in the horror genre?

That was one of Mark Tapio Kines’ first films.  It is also known as SERIAL SLAYER.  I played a woman living alone who is stalked and killed by a fellow wielding a cross-bow.  It was wonderful being invited to participate in the film.  The horror genre has been very good to me.

Now on imdb you’re rumored to be in an Italian remake of 'Nightmare City'. Who will you be in this one?

You’re more informed than I am, Greg!  I have no idea if NIGHTMARE CITY will ever become a reality and what role I might play.

Do you have upcoming horror flicks you’ll be in that you’d like to share with us?

I have two films you might be interested in.  The first – SAFE INSIDE – by Jason Paul Collum has just been released on DVD/streaming and limited theatrical release.  The second is Matt Cloude’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: GENESIS in which I reprise my role as Barbra, but in a most unusual way.  We’re hoping the film will be released before the end of this year.