View Full Version : That Night of the Living Dead remake (1990)

Alex K.
12-18-2011, 03:24 AM
So yeah, I'm in the mood in recent to watch this one. Partly out of nostalgia. I remember seeing this on TNT when I was about nine or so, and I remember liking it but at the same time feeling blase' about it. Very odd conflicting feelings and keep in mind that at such an impressionable age I didn't know this was a remake. It was one of those films that was on TNT a lot (as was the case with Maximum Overdrive) and I just remember watching it really late at night with the sound almost muted so I wouldn't get caught staying up late.

I had the urge when I tried watching the original again and little things started bugging me a lot more. Particularly Barbara and the acting by the teenagers. It's a classic of course, but it's not perfect.

What is the consensus on the remake today? I remember back then that the critics hated it for being too similar to the original; Tom Savini practically disowns it because he wasn't given any freedom and supposedly Romero fucked with his vision and the aftermath all but ended their friendship until Land of the Dead. I remember Horror fans being pretty split. And of course it was butchered by the MPAA. I may have found a Work Print so I remain curious if gore will enhance the film in the same way as My Bloody Valentine.

There's things I like about it: The acting is overall better. Duane Jones and Tony Todd are equally good, but Todd does something a little different. You could argue that Ben is just as bad as Cooper in the remake. The other actors are way better than the original. The zombie makeup is very realistic. And I know that's because Savini had his artists study morgue photos and have the zombie actors rehearse how a corpse would walk. Compared to the bulk of zombie films out there the makeup does set it apart. I particularly like the addition that the zombies are drawn by noise and it is Ben's actions that cause the shit to hit the fan. I used to complain that Barbara became Rambolina but now it doesn't bother me so much. What annoys me now is how easily Barbara escapes from the zombies and at one point just lightly pushes one away, which plays into the irony of the ending, but it's still not very satisfying.

Things I dislike: The music. It's simply okay. There's a couple of good riffs that remind me of the soundtrack from Day of the Dead but it's too rare in this picture. The music sounds very stock, which I suppose was an homage to the original (?) but it didn't work. The aftermath of Tom and Judy's bodies being dragged away and feasted is nowhere near the original. Other than it's simply not different enough from the original those are the only complaints that come to mind.

Gary Banks
12-18-2011, 04:35 PM
I've been wanting to revisit this one for a while as I haven't seen it since it first came out.

Alex K.
12-18-2011, 07:14 PM
I just downloaded a torrent of the Work Print and there's almost no difference. The music is entirely different but it's obviously temp (some ques from Alien and Aliens show up) and not much was cut. I counted 3 headshots altogether that are not in the theatrical cut. The most obvious being the Shotgun head explosion. It's the same film regardless.

Terry C
12-19-2011, 09:05 AM
I wonder if that's the actual original work print(to my knowledge isn't available anywhere) or a work print by the producers that's close to the released version of the film. Savini makes it sound like a completely different movie altogether.

Ian Jane
12-19-2011, 10:32 AM
I haven't watched this one in a long time, a few years at least, but I remember liking it quite a bit. I should check it out again soon.

Paul Casey
12-19-2011, 11:55 AM
I rewatched it a few months ago. Like Alex, I didn't hate the Barbara character as much this time around. I like Tony Todd a lot, but I still prefer Duane. The effects are nice, but this movie just doesn't grab me like the original. Maybe it's the fact that it's very close at times (like the beginning) but so far off at the end. Also, the actors (other than Tony) aren't good. Romero wrote it, but I'm not really a fan of his stuff from this era.