Night of the Living Dead (1990)
By: CJ on August 8, 2002  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Columbia Tristar (UK). Region 2, PAL. 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0 Italian DD 2.0 Spanish DD 2.0 French DD Mono English French Polish Czech Hungarian Hindi Turkish Arabic Bulgarian Hebrew Spanish Italian Dutch Portuguese Greek Subtitles. 85 minutes
The Movie
Director: Tom Savini
Starring: Tony Todd, Patricia Tallman, Tom Towles, McKee Anderson, William Butler
Screenplay: George A. Romero (based on a script by George A. Romero and John Russo)
Music: Paul McCollough
Tagline: There IS a fate worse than death
Country: USA
Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! We love zombies! And this film has enough zombies to keep even the most discerning zombie fan happy.

This is actually a remake of Romero's 1968 chiller of the same name. This time around Romero is in a producer role with Tom Savini making his directorial debut. Savini does a fantastic job and brings enough imagination and inventiveness along with him to make this something special. Many might think that Romero's is a classic not to be tampered with or, as here, remade. I disagree, if done properly a remake can sometimes bring something new and fresh to the original concept.

The story pretty much follows the same route as the original, a couple, Barbara (Patricia Tallman) and Johnny (Bill Mosley), drive up to the cemetery to visit the grave of Barbara's mother. Once there a zombie attacks them, Johnny is killed and Barbara escapes and so we are catapulted firmly into zombie territory. Barbara flees to a nearby house and, well, wanders about a bit having hysterics. It's not long before another human survivor arrives at the house in the form of Ben (played capably by Tony Todd) who instantly gets the house as secure as he can and dispatches a few zoms in the process. He manages to calm down Barbara enough to find out who she is and does she have a car. His truck is outside - but out of gas (of course).

Ben quickly discovers a shotgun upstairs clutched by some dead dude who had obviously shot himself for some reason. So, after killing a few more zoms and pondering on their situation some more stragglers appear from
the basement within which they had barricaded themselves in. One of these guys is Mr Cooper (Tom Towles), who really doesn't hit it off with Ben and tension begins to mount within the house as well as out.

The two parties have differing ideas on how to survive - one group wants to remain barricaded in the basement whilst the other wants to remain above. Things start to get real messy from this point on with an onslaught of zombie attacks; the conflict within resulting in a shoot-out; an exploding truck; and general mayhem galore.

I won't say who survives or what the final outcome is - you'll just have to see it for yourself! But it does have a deliciously dark twist towards the end and finishes on a decidedly grim note.

Savini directs with a sure hand and competently pulls this off - very impressive for a directorial debut. The cast is first class with reliable and enthusiastic performances from both Tony Todd and Patricia Tallman. And…yes…there are zombies by the truckload! The gore is a bit anaemic, especially for a film by Tom Savini, but this is explained in the commentary and documentary - the MPAA demanded cuts and the toning down of certain gore scenes. Thankfully, these deleted scenes are present in the documentary, so at least we get to see what was originally intended.

Despite being a remake this film stands as a superb film in it's own right. There are some genuinely creepy moments like when the zombies overrun the house at the finale of the film and the special effects are quite impressive, the zombie make-up being excellent. Highly recommended - and if you're a zombie fan you just can't go wrong. Go on - have a chomp!
Although exhibiting a little grain this transfer is very good. Sharp image, deep colours and no artefacting or colour-bleed. As good as you would expect for a low budget film of this type. It's doubtful this could look any better and Columbia have done a top job on the presentation.
The DD 2.0 Surround is top notch with clear, sharp dialogue and lots of eerie ambience. It perfectly envelops the viewer in the atmosphere of the film and certainly adds to the appreciation of it.
Extra Features
There is a filmography section for the key cast and crew members, a theatrical trailer, an audio commentary by Tom Savini and a 'making of' featurette entitled The Dead Walk. The featurette is very entertaining and informative, giving lots of insights into the making of the film. There are interviews with the likes of Savini, Patricia Tallman and producer John Russo. It also includes the scenes that were either deleted or toned down at the behest of the MPAA - a pleasant bonus indeed! The commentary by Savini is very informative and insightful. Savini is an enthusiastic commentator, so it's well worth a listen. Hey - I'm just glad that Columbia saw fit to include a commentary at all on a low-budget feature like this. Well..relatively low budget, it was allocated $4.2 million and in the USA grossed $5.853 - not a huge profit really.
The Verdict
An amazingly entertaining film which, most importantly of all, features hordes of the living dead! It has first-rate performances from the cast; effective gore and make-up; an interesting script (though some of the dialogue is a bit dated - 'Ya bunch of yo-yo's!'); and a refreshingly dark ending. I cannot recommend this film enough and, in many ways, I find this superior to Romero's original. It's not a patch on the likes of Fulci's Zombie or Romero's Dawn of the Dead - but then what is? Go on - you know you want to.just think..ZOMBIES! Yay!
Movie Score
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