House of Horrors Presents

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 value" and not in importance to the genre)   was the remake of Night of the Living Dead (NOTLD 90). Some will cry 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 on the limited budget of the original Night of the Living Dead (NOTLD 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 from Fulci's 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  Dawn of 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 Savini. After spending years studying the techniques of Romero, 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 please e-mail me if you have anything you can add to this page, or if you have any comments, criticisms or suggestion.

 

 

Night of the Living Dead 90

"
Their coming to get you Barbara", but this time Barbara is ready for them. A remake of the original classic "Night of the Living Dead". A modern retelling based on a updated scripted by George Romero and directed by Tom Savini.

This is pretty much the same story as NOTLD 68, but with better effects and a few new twists. The recent dead have returned to life and now seek the flesh of the living. Seven strangers are trapped in an isolated farmhouse struggling with the horror that awaits them on the outside and the tension that will eventually destroy them on the inside. Romero re-introduces all our favorite character: Ben (Tony Todd), Cooper (Tom Towles), etc. There are even striking reminiscences between the cast in 68 and 90, and that wasn't a coincidence. Barbara (Patricia Tallmen) has been miraculously been transformed from a comatose broad into a female Rambo. She seemingly being the only one with any grasp of the situation and this time she not waiting for Johnny.

Not overly gory, but the zombie make-up was fantastic. The twists breath new life into this classic movie. Tom Savini did an exceptional job in his big screen directorial debut and maybe someday we'll be lucky enough to see his director's cut of this modern classic. Let me know your opinion, which do you prefer, NOTLD 68 or NOTLD 90? E-mail me.  

 

 


  • This was Tom Savini's directional debut on the big screen. He had previously directed several episodes of the TV series "Tales from the Darkside".
     

  • The final cut of the film was only about 40% of Tom Savini's vision. Creative differences with producers really hampered the film. Pick up a copy of "Grande Illusions II" by Tom Savini to see storyboards of scenes that were cut for ratings or were never done due to lack of time.
     

  • Tom was required by contract to deliver a R-rated film.
     

  • The reason for the remake was twofold. First, to make money. Second and probably most important, trying to beat to the box-office, a firm out of Texas that was about to embark on their own remake of "Night of the Living Dead".
     

  • The budget for the film was $4.2 million. It grossed $5.835 million in the US.
     

  • The inspiration for the "living dead" came from numerous visits to the morgue and from watching footage of concentration camps. Tons of photos were shot and a few autopsies were watched. Savini really wanted to get the feel of the recently deceased.
     

  • The NOTLD 90 is out on DVD. 


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Buy the Special Edition DVD (not 30th anniversary edition) of the original "Night of the Living Dead" at Amazon.com

Buy the DVD of the remake of "Night of the Living Dead" at Amazon.com

Buy the "Dawn of the Dead Ultimate DVD Boxset at Amazon.com

Buy the DVD of the "Day of the Dead" at Amazon.com

  

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