There have been very few remakes that can truly capture the magic
of the original and even fewer that can surpass it. I think John Carpenter's remake of
Thing from Another World (aka "The Thing") was better than the
original. The remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers starring Donald
Sutherland was better than the original. Other than that, remakes usually stink.
Especially when trying to remake a
classic (aka Wolf). One remake that IMHO
eclipsed the original (only in "entertainment
not in importance to the genre)
was the remake of Night of the Living Dead (NOTLD 90). Some
blasphemy, but let me state my case before you crucify me.
First of all, the zombies, or as
Savini refers to them, the "living dead". Oh well, zombies to me. I know
limited budget of the original
Night of the Living
68) that was probably the
best that they could do and some say that it actually adds to
the grittiness of the film. I agree 110%,
but that shouldn't be held against NOTLD 90. The
zombie effects were outstanding in NOTLD 90.
Optic Nerve Production did an excellent job
designing the look of the zombies. Visually, these zombies might be the best since those
Zombie. For the look, the effects team went to
morgues and took photos of the recently decreased. They sat in on a couple of autopsies
and even watched film footage from concentration camps. Savini really wanted to
capture the look of the recent dead. No need for maggots or decaying flesh here, because
these zombies were only supposed to be dead for no more than 3 or 4 days. I would
considered these zombies a step or two above Savini's work in
the Dead or
Day of the Dead.
Second, the characters.
Romero really focused on developing the characters. They were not as
one- dimensional as in NOTLD 68. The change of Barbara's character from a timid catatonic
to a kick-ass take charge kind of girl was exactly what was needed to pump next life into
the storyline. Tony Todd
did an excellent job in the role of Ben. All the characters had
more depth which helped us (i.e. the audience) root for them and against them.
Third, the ending. I really thought
the ending of NOTLD 68 was perfect. It wasn't the candy-coated Hollywood ending where our
hero, Ben is saved. No, Ben is just another victim in the game of life or in this case
death. I didn't think this ending could ever be topped. This was one area that I thought
they wouldn't or shouldn't change. Boy, was I wrong. Not only did they change it, but they
made it even better. It is the perfect ending. I only wish Savini could have taken it to
the extent he wanted to, but
still it was right on the money.
Fourth and finally....Tom
After spending years studying the techniques of
Argento, and King, Savini finally got his chance. His
accomplishment is as well-crafted as any of his mentors. Unfortunately, we weren't able to
see Savini's true cinematic vision for the film.
So these are the reasons why I
prefer NOTLD 90 to
NOTLD 68. Both were and always will be
classics in my mind. I would really have loved to see the true extent of Savini's vision
for this film and maybe one day we will be lucky enough to see that happen. As always
e-mail me if you have anything you
can add to this page, or if you have any comments, criticisms or suggestion.