probably no movie more responsible for
the birth of the modern horror film than
Romero's "Night of the Living Dead". It
established the foundation upon which modern horror is built
and set the standards by
which it is judged.
Night of the Living Dead helped
to loosen the reigns of the "gothic era of horror" (which was
sending it into a
downward spiral) by modernizing the setting for fear to that of today's world. This
familiarity help to produce fear that felt more real, even if outrageous.
"Night" examined the human
will to survive, with or without the help of his
fellow men. I've decided (but may change my mind) to
try and stay away from
discussing the social commentary of this film (I could do a whole page on it),
George Romero has stated that nothing was done on purpose (i.e. casting a Black man in the
lead, etc.), but will admit the film does reflect his feelings of the time.
Night of the Living Dead is the
quintessential "zombie" movie. It helped to establish the modern-day mythology
of the "flesh-eating zombie." Prior to "Night", nearly all zombie
movies dealt with voodoo as the primary vessel for reviving the dead. In turn, these
zombies served, as mindless slaves, their human masters. In contrast, Romero's zombies
were "true monsters". Creatures of destruction. They lived (again) to feed on
the living. They served no one, but the instinct that drove them.
A lot has also been made in the debate of
colorizing this films. I am 100% against the colorization of any film that was
"originally" shot in black and white. Most of the time it doesn't have any
affect on the overall effectiveness of the film, but in the case of Night of the Living Dead, the grittiness of the film helps to drive the fear. Just say no to a
colorized Night of the Living Dead.
In NOTLD, Romero firmly established a
successful formula for filmmaking. I am not saying that everything George Romero has made
has been either successful or good, no that's not the case, but rather that his films are
built upon a foundation of a strong storyline. Romero has never been one to cash in on the
quick fix at the detriment of the story. He builds his films from the ground up, hoping to
establish the instruments for fear. This is not to say that he isn't a fan of gore
fact uses it masterfully to propel the story. Most of Romero's films success (and
sometimes failures) have some at the expense of a strong story with believable characters.
In 1990, there was a
remake helmed by
Tom Savini, which I find
more entertaining than the original.
I think George Romero did an amazing job of updating
the story and along with the bigger budget made
Night of the
Living Dead 90 a more fun film for me. But again, I get into the same argument I
when I talk about Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. Empire was a better story, but
was the original, so I
have a special place in my heart for it. The same can be said about the original
Night of the Living Dead....it will always be one of my all-time favorite
movies and I will never get
tired of hearing:
to get you Barbara. Like me know which one you thought
As always please
e-mail me if you have anything you can add to
this page, or if you have any
comments, criticisms or suggestion