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Birth of the Living Dead (2013)

Year of the Living Dead (original title)
Not Rated | | Documentary | 18 October 2013 (USA)
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A documentary that shows how George A. Romero gathered an unlikely team of Pittsburghers to shoot his seminal film: Night of the Living Dead (1968).

Director:

Rob Kuhns

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
George A. Romero ... Himself - Filmmaker
Fred Rogers ... Himself (archive footage)
H. Rap Brown H. Rap Brown ... Himself (archive footage)
Mark Harris ... Himself - Film Historian
Gale Anne Hurd ... Herself - Film Producer
Chiz Schultz Chiz Schultz ... Himself - Film & TV Producer
Larry Fessenden ... Himself - Filmmaker
Jason Zinoman Jason Zinoman ... Himself - Author, Shock Value
Christopher Cruz Christopher Cruz ... Himself - Filmmaker & Teacher
Elvis Mitchell ... Himself - Host, The Treatment
Samuel D. Pollard Samuel D. Pollard ... Himself - Professor, NYU Film (as Sam Pollard)
Andy Griffith ... Himself (archive footage)
Harry Belafonte ... Himself (archive footage)
Petula Clark ... Herself (archive footage)
Morley Safer ... Himself (archive footage)
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Storyline

In 1968, Pittsburgh native, George Romero, would direct a low budget film that would revolutionize the horror genre forever, Night of the Living Dead. Through interviews with the talents involved, the story of this film creation is told and how it reflected its time with a grotesque and powerful immediacy. Furthermore, the film's difficult and controversial release to an unsuspecting film public is also recounted as it survived the early revulsion to become a landmark cinematic creation with a profound effect on popular culture. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

1968. Peace. Love. And the undead.

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 October 2013 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Birth of the Living Dead See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,239, 18 October 2013, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$8,590, 8 November 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Did You Know?

Goofs

The credits still refer to the film by its working title, "Year of the Living Dead." See more »

Crazy Credits

After the credits there's a scene with S. William Hinzman, the graveyard zombie from Night of the Living Dead (1968), attending a 'zombie walk'. See more »

Connections

Features Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A DVD Featurette… unholy expanded

Like it or not, George A. Romero truly is the father of today's horror cinema. The original "Dead" trilogy – NIGHT, DAWN, and DAY – accomplish that simple truth in unveiling a very human metaphor wrapped in the grisly package of blood-letting entertainment. And why not celebrate the man and his accomplishments? Perhaps dig deep into the motives and industry tales of movie-making. Perhaps that is what Rob Kuhns set out to do with his BIRTH OF THE LIVING DEAD documentary. Unfortunately, the data unearthed in BIRTH OF THE LIVING DEAD could have been a solid DVD featurette. Instead, an additional 40 minutes of repetitiveness was added, dragging the film down as a lumbering, undead walker.

To its credit, BIRTH sets the stage of 1968 America, when NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD was released, quite well providing key insights to the civil rights movement as well as to the fact that NIGHT stars an African American. Likewise, the documentary gets right into how – and why – the film was made and some of the issues and trickery Romero and his crew employed during production and editing; Romero himself is presented as both jolly and candid.

Then the film rinses and repeats. And repeats. And, oh, did you forget that NIGHT starred an African American? Well hold on tight, you'll be reminded in just a few short minutes as horror film director Larry Fessenden will tell you how great the original film is and repeat the lines verbatim for the camera.

Granted, the docu's subject is NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, but that topic alone screams out for accompaniment. There was absolutely no mention of the 1990 remake, nor the 2004 remake of DAWN. And obviously the most apparent of Romero's offspring – THE WALKING DEAD – is only shown as a background image.

Kuhns showed the historical relevance of NIGHT, but only provided the merest taste of its social impact, a taste that was sorely missed.


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