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"Night of the Living Dead" immediately lapsed into the public domain
because the original theatrical distributor, the Walter Reade
Organization, didn't place a copyright notice on the prints. In 1968,
United States copyright law required notice for a work to maintain a
copyright. Image Ten had a proper notice on the title frames beneath
the original title, "Night of the Flesh Eaters." The distributor
inadvertently removed the copyright statement when it changed the
title, an act of negligence which ensured widespread distribution, but
without royalties to the film makers.
Romero wanted to get at least some restitution for himself and others who worked on the original.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tom Savini didn't need to remake this movie, but I don't think anyone's
complaining. First of all, we have full Savini zombie effects, in
color. And despite what critics think, it's awesome to look at.
Secondly, just listen to this cast. Tony Todd (Candyman) is Ben this
time around. Tom Towles, who played Otis in "Henry: Portrait of a
Serial Killer" plays Tom. Bill Mosely (Choptop from Texas Chainsaw
Massacre II) is in the movie early as the ill fated Johnnie. And to top
it off, the only man to be killed by Jason Voorhees, Leatherface, and
zombies, veteran Bill Butler plays Tom, complete with a Pittsburgh
So is the story different? No. Not really. Everyone ends up in an abandoned farmhouse again. This time, Barbara is much stronger, and far less catatonic, thanks to great work from Patricia Tallman. The same basic chain of events happen. Ben and Barbara bar up the doors in the house, then a group of people in the basement come out and introduce themselves. Harry and Ben bicker about whether or not to go to the basement. Once again, they decide to take a truck out, which needs gas, which Tom goes to get and of course, blows himself up.
This time however, Harry and Ben start shooting at each other. Ben goes downstairs after being hit and Harry goes to the attic. So, Barbara just decides to leave. She goes outside and teams up with those trusty Western PA gun slinging rednecks in different kinds of zombie killing games, including hanging the zombies and throwing rocks at them, as well as randomly shooting them. Hoo-ray. As far as social commentary goes, this scene pretty much has the most, as Barbara mutters, "They're us. We're them and they're us." But the movie really isn't too preachy. It's a gory fun mess.
So she goes back to the house safely, as the zombies are either too slow or just plain outnumbered. Inside she finds Ben, who is now a zombie. But what's even better is finding Harry alive, not a zombie. Does she help him? No. She shoots him. Good for her, because that guy, I have to say, was a real prick.
So that's the remake. Was it necessary? Not at all. But it was a blast to watch. And really, it didn't take anything away from the original, in the way that the "Dawn of the Dead" remake would tarnish the original years later.
__________________________________ For all of the Horror Banana's reviews, visit http://morozov924.hubpages.com/
I like zombie movies in general and so was curious to see a remake of
the seminal film that ignited the genre. I can't compare to the
original material as I haven't seen it, but I thought that by itself,
the remake was still a very good film. I thought there was intensity,
surprises and disturbing moments, and not because of the relatively
little amount of gore. I think Tony Todd (the only "living" Black actor
here) offered a strong tormented performance that made his character's
plight more poignant. He's a severely underestimated actor in my eyes.
Patricia Tallman, the redhead, had a fascinating character story arc
and she pulled it off in a competent yet not outstanding fashion. Tom
Towles in a great performance as Cooper played a selfish man you really
loved to hate. Whenever he was interacting with the others, especially
Todd, there were lots of psychological tension that made the pressure
The "action" scenes involving the zombies were not particularly dynamic or gruesome (perhaps it's because I'm desensitized from having watched too many horror flicks ;-), but such was not the point. I sometimes found the zombies pitiful and pathetic, and I thought they moved very well, "in-character" so to speak, all compliments. The intentionally grotesque zombies with minimal make-up effects were not the stars or the main menace here, it was more about survivors in extreme conditions and especially human nature. In that regard, the ending was not only morally powerful and satisfying, I found it pretty memorable. Night of the Living Dead has a limited scope (mostly in an isolated house) and non-spectacular zombies, but it still packs a bite and is definitely worth watching for the psychological thriller/horror fan. I think it shows that the original creator, Romero, was actively involved in the production.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10 (Very good)
Like most remakes, spin-offs and rip-offs of George A. Romero's
original "Dead" trilogy, the 1990 remake of "Night of the Living Dead"
didn't exactly need to be made. Sure, the original pre-dates it by a
good 20+ years and audiences are always seemingly thirsty to see a good
thing come back from the dead again and again, but as it stands,
Romero's seminal zombie opus is still pretty darn perfect.
Nevertheless, special effects maestro Tom Savini (who worked with
Romero on both "Dawn of the Dead" and "Day of the Dead") took a stab at
the material and with the blessing of Romero himself (who also rewrote
the script and served as a producer) set to craft his own take on the
So how does it fare? Well, the updated "Night" is hardly brain-dead or DOA (whichever dead analogy you choose to use). For the most part, Savini's version stays pretty true to the source material, only deviating in a few spots to keep things fresh and interesting. The film hits pretty much all the basic beats of the original: cannibal corpses spring to life for no apparent reason and corner a rag-tag band of survivors in a secluded country house. Domestic disputes and racial tension rears its ugly head as the group winds up hurting itself more than their would-be predators.
With Tom Savini at the helm, it's expected that the film should be a blood and gore bonanza; however, such is not the case. While the effects here are (mostly) top-notch, Savini keeps things relatively tame, letting the characters and their predicament take center-stage. The first-time director gives the film a quick, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants pace and handles it all with enough of a sense of dread and tension to make the grandfather of zombie films proud. Unfortunately, Savini doesn't reel in his actors enough, and from time to time the cast seems bound to choke on the chunky dialog they spew. The group is almost a "who's who" of late '80s/early '90s horror, with the likes of Tony Todd, Bill Moseley, Tom Towles and William Butler, but unfortunately some awkward performances here and there threaten to squash any fanboyish joy that can be drawn from their presence. On the flipside, the character of Barbara is seemingly injected with steroids as Patricia Tallman gives the former damsel-in-distress the Sarah Connor treatment. The Barbara of the '90s is a much needed addition with Tallman pretty much saving and stealing every scene she is in.
Overall, the makeover given to "Night of the Living Dead" is a decent if underwhelming affair. Like so many remakes before it, it fails to greatly improve upon its source material, nearly rendering itself moot. Compared to the disastrous 2008 remake of "Day of the Dead" and the over-rated Zack Snyder-helmed "Dawn of the Dead," Tom Savini's take is rather harmless and, for lack of a better term, adequate. Nothing touches the original, and even Romero himself has stumbled in his effort to top his masterpiece(s), so take this one for what it's worth.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Years ago, my family and I returned late from a long car trip. It was around 2 in the morning and even though I was tired, I found that I wasn't ready for bed yet. So, turning on the TV, I stopped on USA and saw that they were having NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD on. At the time, not yet being the zombie fan I am today, I shrugged and figured "Why not?" From that terror-filled evening on, I became a loyal follower (aka DEADITE) of all things zombie! To this day, some sixteen years later, it still holds a candle for me! Normally, I'm one who hates remakes, considering them pointless. Most of the time, you get the feeling that filmmakers of remakes are saying "The original sucks in some way, so I'm gonna do it better." And most of the time, their work is worse. However, NOTLD 90 (as I call it) is a remake done right! What's brilliant about good remakes is that they respect the original work, but then take the concept in new directions. In many ways, a good remake is an alternate story. Acting in NOTLD 90 is top-notch. Tony Todd (AKA: Candyman) delivers his best performance as Ben. Opposite him, Patricia Tallman is equally good as Barbara, now a lot tougher as Romero originally intended! Having Romero as Executive Producer and screenwriter may be the reason for this remake's success. Because now, Romero has the rare opportunity of trying new things, intensifying the in-fighting between characters, altering the fates of various characters, and eliminating the need for all that unnecessary "Venus Space Probe" explanation from the original. This time around, everyone is dropped into the middle of a situation where nobody knows what's happening. But even a good remake doesn't come without a price. In NOTLD 68, we were faced with a group of ordinary people, no heroes or villains. Throughout the entire film, they kept making mistakes and ultimately wound up dooming themselves because they couldn't stop warring against each other. In NOTLD 90, we still have a group of individuals. But now, as the movie goes on, there seems to be a clear distinction between the heroic ones and villainous ones. In terms of on-screen blood and guts? Surprisingly, this is the tamest zombie film in my opinion. In NOTLD 68, Romero set the bar for modern horror films with zombies munching on body parts, blood dripping down walls, and showing us man's inhumanity to man. In NOTLD 90, we only get a few scenes of zombies feasting, no-one gets pulled apart, no zombie limbs get ripped off, etc. Ultimately though, this remake retains the power of the original and is a good start for anyone interested in become a fellow Deadite!
I usually don't love remakes even if they add to the original though in
this case not much is added. The one time I enjoy a remake is when I
haven't seen the original but in this case I did. I watched it anyhow
for the sake of getting the sense of reality with the colors and
everything. I just love horror movies so much that I don't mind
sometimes even watching very-low-budget horrors.
This movie is not bad but is boring as a remake. To enjoy it, you have to deal with it as if you are watching a good movie again just like when you watch old good ones from your library.
The one good scene though in the movie is the one of the naked girl in the car when the zombies eat part of her face before she turns into one herself. Other than that, I can't seem to remember any scary scene in the movie.
Whereas Zack Snyder's recent remake of George Romero's Dawn of the Dead
utilised only the bare bones of the original's script, Tom Savini's 90s
version of Romero's Night of the Living Dead took far fewer liberties
with its plot, opening almost exactly like the '68 horror classicwith
a brother and sister being attacked by the undead in a rural
graveyardand rarely straying from the original for the rest of its
duration (bar a few subtle tweaks to keep things interesting).
However, although the film will undoubtedly feel extremely familiar to fans of the 'Dead' series, there is still much to enjoy about Savini's effort, and it is highly recommended viewing nonetheless.
Patricia Tallman plays Barbara, a young woman who seeks refuge in a farmhouse after the dead begin returning to life to devour the living. She is soon joined by natural leader Ben (Candyman's Tony Todd), who snaps Babs out of her catatonic state and begins to formulate a plan for survival. Problems arise, however, when more survivors emerge from the cellar and personalities begin to clash.
Savini's direction is workmanlike, but certainly does the trick as far as delivering the scares. Surprisingly, he doesn't allow gore to overpower the action, preferring to concentrate on characterisation and atmosphere instead (in fact, what little bloodletting there is tends to be rather restrained and those seeking excessive amounts of entrail eating would be better off looking elsewhere).
The cast are uniformly excellent, with Todd and Tallman making likable heroes, and Tom Towles being throughly despicable as a cowardly father; even the zombies are very good, with their awkward undead shuffling being quite convincing (so many films in this genre fail thanks to laughable zombie movements, don'tcha think?). The make-up is also rather nifty, with the ghouls sporting not-too-OTT dead complexions and hideous milky eyes, and several of the corpses featuring some nice individual touches (there's a drug-addict corpse with a needle in its arm, and one with a knife in his chest).
After plenty of exciting action, and some knuckle biting fracases between bickering blokes, Savini closes his film with a twist ending that differs slightly from Romero's original, but delivers just as much of a punch to the gut.
This version of Night of the Living Dead might not have been absolutely necessary, but considering that so many remakes end up being rather disappointing, fans of zombie films should be grateful that this one ended up in the hands of someone so knowledgeable and reverent of the genre. Thanks Tom! 8.5 out of 10, rounded up to 9 for IMDb.
Why? The original Night of the Living Dead is a classic horror film.
Why remake it? Although the acting, makeup and production values are
higher than in the original, this remake is flat. It's not scary which
is a cardinal sin for a horror film.
Most of the plot is lifted from the original. There are a few new ideas and the ending has been substantially altered. The acting is not embarrassingly bad as it was in the original. Some of the FX bodies look like rubber, particularly the severed hand which the female lead deals with early in the film.
This was not nearly as bad as I expected and it is watchable. With inevitable comparison to the original, this has to fall short as almost all remakes do.
Romero's monochromatic creation found me at a tender age, when all but the blackened November sky frightened me. By far my favorite "undead" movie. To this day I have seen nothing close to how intensely real that movie felt. It's also a great "date" movie, I love being scared, and nothing scares me more than the normal people you see everyday limping around your front yard, gnawing at you and peeling flesh from corpses. The black and white in this film only adds to the ambiance of dread, when every corner of darkness comes to life. The nerve pinching terror when your life is close to it's end is awe inspiring talent. A talent I have yet to see again.. The horror genre's foundation to greater heights was truly established when this film took to screen.
A remake of the black and white one, it copies almost every element of it.
It has a good deal of suspense, pretty good acting, great special effects,
and all the zombies you can handle.
What makes the movie boring after a few views is the fact that it's very predictable. You always know what's going to happen. Plus, the whole damn movie is filmed in a house. Also, Cooper and Ben are always fighting, taking you away from the plot.
I recommend renting this film to see if you want to buy it.
Rating: 6 out of 10
"This is Hell on earth. This is pure Hell of Earth."
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