Schon as Karen Cooper in Night of the Living Dead
October 4, 1957 |
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Kyra Schon (born October 4, 1957) is an American actress known for her role in the George A. Romero film Night of the Living Dead (1968) as Karen Cooper, the trowel-wielding zombie girl. She is a regular contributor to Dread Central, an online magazine dedicated to horror entertainment. She is the daughter of Karl Hardman who played her character's father in the movie.
Night of the Living Dead
In 1968 she was cast as Karen Cooper, the daughter of the bickering couple Helen and Harry Cooper in Night of the Living Dead. She was depicted as mostly unconscious and only spoke two words of dialogue ("I hurt"). Kyra is the daughter of Karl Hardman, an investor and actor in the film, and was selected to play Karen Cooper because of the film's tight budget. In the film, off-screen, Karen was bitten by a ghoul. Her character later dies and reanimates, feasting on her dead father's arm and stabbing her mother to death with a cement trowel.
Pop culture impact
Kyra's image as the living dead child is one of the most recognizable zombies in film history, and a close up still photograph of Kyra Schon as Karen Cooper appears on many video releases, as well as on various merchandise. Entertainment Weekly chose Schon as "Best Zombie" in the magazine's Halloween 2005 edition. In Entertainment Weekly Issue #737, author Stephen King, as part of his occasional essay series 'The Pop of King', described the scene in the farmhouse basement whereby Karen attacks her mother with the trowel as follows: ..."I still remember the pure horror I felt the first time I saw the little girl stabbing her mother to death with a garden (sic) trowel." "I've never in my life been more frightened in a movie theater".