One of the original script ideas called for Barbara to be a very strong, charismatic character. Instead, George A. Romero and the producers loved Judith O’Dea’s portrayal as a terrified young girl much better, and edited the script to accommodate the part.
The idea of Barbara being a strong, central character was revisited in Night of the Living Dead (1990).
Find more behind-the-scenes facts about this zombie classic at IMDb Trivia: Night of the Living Dead (1968).
Dawn of the Dead was intentionally more comedic than Night of the Living Dead (1968) because George A. Romero wanted it filmed in the style of a comic book.
More behind-the-scenes facts at IMDb Trivia: Dawn of the Dead (1978).
When the zombies are eating the bodies in the burnt-out truck they were actually eating roast ham covered in chocolate sauce. The filmmakers joked that it was so nausea inducing that it was almost a waste of time putting the makeup on the zombies as they ended up looking pale and sick anyway.
From IMDB: Trivia
The scene where Barbara crashes the car into the tree wasn’t scripted originally; an accident that put a large dent in the car before the scene was shot prompted George Romero to re-write the scene in such a way that the dent is justified.
I’m going to get to see George A. Romero at the Rue Morgue Dark Carnival in July! Night of the Living Dead was one of the first horror movies that made me fall in love with the horror genre. The movie’s political commentary elevated the horror to surrealism, and I’ve yet to see that done as well again.
Romero, George A. Night of the Living Dead, The Walter Reade Organization / Continental Distributing, 1968.