Tv Party Tonight! #36

Tv Party Tonight! #36

Friday, 13 October 2017

Night of the Living Dead
50th Anniversary Edition [Blu-ray]

Let’s face it, the zombie bubble is starting to burst. And thank goodness for that. For a while there, zombies were the new pirates. Everywhere you looked there were new zombie movies being churned out, or comics, or books, or stupid TV shows. And also TV shows which were about those zombie TV shows. The truth is that zombie movies just aren’t that great, and its fanbase is a little dumb. Sure, there have been some standouts over the years like 28 Days Later, or Zombieland which served as funny spoof of the genre, and even Maggie which was an original sentimental take on the whole zombie thing. For the rest, it’s kind of the same old thing over and over again.

But, let’s look at the source material, George A Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, which came out in the 60s and serves as a sort of model for the modern zombie movie. Sure, it’s not the first zombie movie ever made, but some of the formulas laid out in Night of the Living Dead are still used today, and what’s more, at this point, the zombie culture wasn’t as embedded in pop culture as it was now: the characters in this movie truly shouldn’t know what they’re dealing with.

Night of the Living is by all accounts, the granddaddy of zombie movies and it looks like it too. It’s a low-budget flick, with flaws yes, but with a story that’s surprisingly interesting considering how many times it’s been revisited over the years. Even the ending is pretty satisfying considering how slowly we creep towards it.

What is actually baffling is this 50th anniversary edition of a classic that’s probably an important film for many reasons. Mill Creek’s edition is an unrestored transfer on blu ray, full of scratches and overly contrasted black and white. The details are really lacking here and not a single shot is devoid of flaws. In addition there are no bonus features. None. Just subtitles. Janus purchased this film recently and has either completed the restoration or is still working on it, which probably means we’re getting a Criterion release at some point.

An important movie, yes, but hardly a definitive version or a worthy anniversary edition.

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