October 7, 2012

Filthy Review - 'Night of the Living Dead' Twilight Time Edition

Night of the Living Dead (1990) Twilight Time Limited Edition

Review by Jude Felton

Generally speaking, when I review a movie, it is the movie itself that I like to review. I don’t go too deep into the specifics of the release itself, aside from making mention that a particular Blu-ray looks good or what have you. I might mention some of the extras included, but for the most part I like to focus on the film itself; I really don’t have the technical savvy to go into transfers and picture ratios extra. Some do, I don’t. On this occasion I do believe it is necessary to address the specific release itself though. I had to, after all there are only 3000 copies of this release, and it’s already causing a shit storm.

First off though, I will talk about the film itself. Yes, Night of the Living Dead is a remake of George Romero’s classic film, but as you might have guessed it was not made without any input from Romero; aside from being Executive producer, he did write the screenplay. With this in mind I will tell you that in some respects it is very similar to Romero’s flick, with some shots being virtually identical, yet it does also change some things quite dramatically.

This Tom Savini directed movie follows Barbara, and her brother (played by the incorrectly spelled Bill Moseley), as they pay a visit to a cemetery. Before you can say “holy shit, is that a zombie?” they are accosted by the undead. As they did before, all roads from here lead to abandoned farmhouses, and Barbara makes it there despite trashing the family Merc.

Not long after arriving a stranger also arrives, thus we are introduced to Ben (Tony Todd), and he takes no time in telling Barbara to get her shit together so that they don’t fall foul of the corpses outside. Now, if you know Night of the Living Dead, and you should, you will know that there is a family hiding in the basement, and here is no different, with Mr. Cooper (Tom Towles) and his wife and daughter taking refuge down there.

As remakes go this is definitely one of the better ones; there’s a nice visceral look to the film, as you might expect from Savini, and Barbara doesn’t spend this film in a catatonic state. Hell, she kicks ass and takes names! It is honestly a good film, even without some of the subtleties of Romero’s black and white classic.

This release, on the Twilight Time label, which was available through Screen Archives, has already caused a fuss due to its changing of the coloring of the film. Well, that along with an element of bitterness which some folk have found it hard to hide. Is the color that bad though? Well, yes and no if I am brutally honest. There are times when the onscreen action does appear to be a little on the dark side, and there is a blue tint in a short section of the film, which initially is a little off-putting. On the flipside, the darker picture does lend to a heightened sense of atmosphere to the film. Really though, it is all down to personal preference as to how much these changes, and there are changes, will affect your viewing pleasure of this release. Although it is darker than some might remember, the actual quality of the picture is nice and sharp throughout.

As for the extras included, there are only a couple; there’s the original theatrical trailer, and isolated score track and an audio commentary from Tom Savini. I watched the film with the commentary, and it is informative enough. I would have liked there to have been someone to accompany Savini, to bounce the conversation back and forth, but Savini’s solo commentary is a good listen.

Overall, I do like this release of the film. I also own it on DVD and I am not crying about the changes made. I know it won’t appeal to everyone, but it really isn’t anything to get too upset about. If you don’t own this version already you will have to buy it from somewhere like Amazon or Ebay, as it sold out at Screen Archives before its release date.

Night of the Living Dead was available exclusively through www.screenarchives.com and was limited to 3000 copies.

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