30 Days of Fright – 19: Night of the Living Dead

Remakes are as common as muck in the horror genre, for some reason more popular then the “special edition” phenomenon that’s more prevalent in the world of Sci Fi. With a science fiction film you’re more likely to find that a director wants to tweak the special effects or add back in deleted scenes as opposed to in horror where directors and writers prefer to take another go at the whole film wherever possible. As far as I can figure this fondness for taking a second go at a film is probably due to the relatively low budget of most horrors vs. the high cost of effects laden sci fi.

Night of the Living Dead (1990) is a remake of a 1968 film of the same name. The original was written and directed by the legendary zombie master himself George A. Romero, and Georgie himself re-wrote his original screenplay for the 90’s version. This time he let someone else direct, Tom Savini, but I doubt anyone could have gotten over the problems inherent in the script that Romaro wrote.

The action begins with two people visiting a cemetery where the recently deceased pop out of their graves and start chasing the living around the place. The male of the two is promptly killed (quite spectacularly) and his female companion gets the heck out of dodge, fleeing to a remote farmhouse for safety. While hiding there, a bunch of other survivors turn up and a few that were already hiding there make themselves known.

As bolt holes go, the farm is not the safest of places and zombies attack, causing all sorts of mayhem. Unfortunately, the real trouble comes from within as the people hiding in the house start to get on each others nerves and argue over the best survival strategies, with disasterous consequences.

Is the same ol’ theme, since 1916, zombie, zombie, zombie ee ee ee

Where Romero lost the run of himself this time is in trying to make a movie that’s more about the human condition in tight quarters during a crisis as opposed to a good zombie flick. If he’d simply told the story he had plotted out instead of lingering over how good girls turn bad when given guns and the undead to shoot at then the result would have been a more well-rounded film whereas the Living Dead that made it to the cinema is just preachy bullshit. If the story had been told without the lecture then it’s likely that audiences would have come to the conclusions about mans inhumanity towards man without having it force-fed to them like so much rotting flesh.

What’s likable most about a Romaro zombie outing is that there’s never any crap about viruses and while I was watching Living Dead I realised why that whole area bothers me so much. The idea of a virus causing zombies allows for the possibility of a cure or at the very least quarantine. However, if the recently deceased are just springing up for no reason then there’s obviously something supernatural (in every sense of that word) going on, which is a much more frightening concept and potentially a situation utterly without hope.

One Thumb Up and One Thumb Down for the remade Night of the Living Dead.

To find out more (straight out tha’ casket, risin’ up) then check out:
IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100258/
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_of_the_Living_Dead_(1990_film)

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