- Where did the meme "Cooper was right" come from?
As Ben, Tom, and The Zombie Survival Guide explain, locking yourself in a downstairs room with no way out is the worst possible way to protect yourself from zombies. Go up, not down, is one of the most fundamental rules of protecting yourself from the undead. Cooper would understandably be too Genre Blind to get this (his genre didn't even exist yet), but increased knowledge from the past forty plus years of zombie attacks has completely discredited his "the cellar is the safest place to be" stance, so why is he remembered as being right all along?
- Because he was right. Ben ends up in the cellar at the end of the movie and survives the night, only to be shot by the hunting party that shows up in the morning.
- He was only right because a posse turned up and killed all the zombies. He couldn't possibly have known that would happen. Had it not, they would all have starved to death (or more likely murdered each other) trapped in the cellar. Going up, and blocking, or destroying, the stairs behind them was definitely the best option, as they still would have had multiple escape routes. Plus access to a bathroom.
- Also, how about the fact that Henry's daughter was bitten and was slowly turning into a zombie? If they had gone downstairs and locked the door, one or more of the others would have gotten bitten by the zombie child. Harry also would have had caused most conflict by trying to be the leader in addition to his child becoming one of the living dead.
- What is this "past forty years of zombie attacks" nonsense? You mean the forty years of invented story lines that work how the writer wanted them to work? It doesn't matter what might have happened, all that matters is what did happen. Even if they'd managed to blockade the stairs, there were more than enough zombies for them to start climbing on each other to reach the second floor. With the loss of truck, the survivors wouldn't be able to escape. Both going upstairs or in the basement was a death trap, but the basement death trap saved Ben's life. So, yes, Cooper was right. Remember, no guide is an absolute. That was even lampshaded in World War Z.
- There's also a factor that not many people have taken to account: If Tom and Judy hadn't died outside in the truck and Barbara hadn't been pulled out into the horde by zombie Johnny, there would have more than likely been more zombies inside the house. Their bodies are more than likely drawing most of the dead away from the house, the dead fighting over the scraps, and a small number enter the house instead. The combination of that fact and the basement being somewhat secure may have been enough to keep Ben alive. It was the set of circumstances that made Harry right, not the fact that the basement was the most secured place (Ben could have been right if Tom, Judy and Barbara hadn't died upstairs and their bodies left to draw some away from the house.
- "Cooper was right" comes from the fact that, well, Cooper was right. You can spend all the time from now till the sun turns supernova picking apart the basement plan for all the reasons that it's flawed, but what ultimately settles the debate is that flawed or not, it still worked. Cooper may have turned out to be Right for the Wrong Reasons, but that doesn't change the fact that he was still right; flawed his reasoning may have been, throughout the movie he consistently argued that it was safest for them all to lock themselves in the basement, and ultimately Ben's life was saved because he locked himself in the basement. Nitpicking why it shouldn't have worked ain't gonna change the fact that, within the movie, it demonstrably did. Saying that "Cooper was right" is just acknowledging the irony that Romero is going for.
- What's with the mutilated corpse Barbra finds upstairs? Assuming the person was attacked by a zombie, why isn't said zombie in the (closed) house when Barbra arrives? And why didn't said corpse become a zombie itself?
- It was the woman who owned the house. She was presumably killed by a zombie who then left the house. The reason the door is closed when Barbra arrives is presumably because the people hiding in the basement closed it when they came in.
- If you watch closely during one of the kitchen scenes, you can see a calendar on the wall showing "December 1966". Since it's already been established that the film takes place in the spring (during the start of Daylight Savings Time), perhaps the homeowner had died months earlier and her corpse had just been rotting there ever since?
- There's a chance the calendar is old, and the owner never updated it.
Headscratchers / Night of the Living Dead (1968)