March 8th, 2010

Winter Ferry Pic

Night of the Living Dead (1968, except 1998) Part I of II

So, Night of the Living Dead....

In a way this will be a relatively easy review, because I'm not interested in the machinations of the movie making itself. You can get plenty of information through enough sources to keep you busy for hours online. I mention this in this here preamble because I never got to see the original-original Dead. Oh, sure, I skimmed through the youtube bits, but I've never seen the true, un-tampered with film that my parents would have caught.

The reason I bring this up is simple: I'm viewing here the 30th Anniversary Edition from Anchor Bay. An edition that has received quite the venom from dedicated old-style Dead fans. Since I never got the chance to become one of these, the changes made don't really upset me in the way that they have true-blue fans. I will say that I agree with many of the major points in 'The Rebuttal' of this site's review of the disk. Also at the site, you can follow the links to the array of 'new editions' of this classic film. For our purposes here, however, we'll be reviewing the (and this comes from the case's description) "(19)98 Edition of the Original 90 minute 'Edit' with An All New Musical Score".

I'm sure you'd prefer a review of the Original-original, and I couldn't agree more, but this is what I've got and I don't allow DVD companies to double and triple dip into my wallet. I may still review the "30th Anniversary Edition with Over 15 Minutes of New Scenes" at some point (probably after 'Dawn' and 'Day'), just because there are changes to the story as Bill Hinzman and Scott Vladimir Licina recut, edited and added in order to tie the story more deeply as a precursor to 'Dawn of the Dead'. Since Romero didn't feel the need (or wasn't asked) to make these changes, I don't feel that they were necessary and the new opening focusing on Bill 'zombie #1' is dull and doesn't add anything. Nevertheless, since the focus of the 30th Anniversary focuses away from Johnny and Barbra and onto the Patient Zero, it could be considered a movie of its own, though borrowing heavily from Romero's unfortunately public domain release (which allowed them so much freedom to tamper in the first place).

With the version that will be presented here, it also seems that as much as 6 minutes may have been edited out. I won't be able to speak to how this changes the film, nor to compare the soundtracks. I can only review this film as presented here.

And, now on with the show:

Night of the Living Dead
(1968 [1998 edition])

Starring: Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne, Judith Ridley

Directed by: George A. Romero with 30th Anniversary changes by (I'm guessing, correct me if wrong) John A. Russo, Scott Vladimir Lucina, Bill Hinzman.

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Spoilers, as with all reviews on this site.