Night of the Living Dead (1990)
Director: Tom Savini
In this remake of the original 1968 Romero classic, a varied group of folks are trapped inside an isolated farmhouse as an army of the walking dead try to get inside to have them for dinner…literally….
“We’re them, they’re us.”– Barbara
I haven’t seen Romero’s original in a while, so it wouldn’t be fair for me to compare the remake with it. All I remember from the 1968 classic is that it felt dated and that Barbara was a yelping banshee. I’ll have to hit this remake as a stand-alone.
Sometimes simplicity pays off and this flick is Night Of The Living Proof of that. The story here is character/situational driven and sticks to the basics. The zombies are just "there" and we’re never given an explanation as to why they’ve returned from the grave (I loved that approach). The directing also serves the movie, never standing out to a point of distraction and the makeup effects are kept grounded in reality. Nothing fancy here and it works!
Character-wise, I really got attached to Ben (Todd) and Barbara (Tallman). Ben’s survival instinct and good heart really appealed to me. As for Barbara, witnessing her evolution from a vulnerable young woman, to a strong and resourceful fighter was very engaging. Strong female characters always appealed to me more than the whole “helpless dame” thang. We can now add Barbara to the Ripley, Sarah Connor list of ass-kicking chicks. You go, girl! The film itself moves at an even pace, has a truckload of suspenseful moments, offers mucho zombie/human confrontations and even takes the time to make a statement about the evil that men do at the end. Yes, I started feeling sorry for those poor living chumps.
From a negative standpoint, some of the effects weren’t always up to par. Am I the only guy that thought that the “Uncle Rege” zombie sometimes looked like a huge yellow balloon? And am I the only one that spotted him deflating when Barbara gave him “le coup de grace”? That took me out of the vibe a bit. Then we have the dialogue which for some reason often sounded like it was straight out of the 60s. For example, who calls somebody a “yo-yo”? I mean, you’ve got living corpses wanting to chew your balls outside! I think words like “FUCK”, “MOTHERFUCKER or SHIT would be more appropriate than “yo-yo”. Maybe it’s just me. On a script level, two things really irritated me: 1) Barbara suggests outrunning the zombies early on and it's clearly obvious to me that it’s the best idea. But Ben poorly rationalizes that it would be safer to lock everybody up in the house instead. Didn’t make sense to me and I didn’t buy it. The screenwriter could’ve thought of a more convincing argument to keep the characters at that location and 2) What kind of moron shoots the padlock on a gas tank with a 12-gauge shotgun? He was just asking for that one! 'Nuff said.
But overall, "Night Of The Living Dead" has enough tension, clever twists, action set pieces and engaging characters to satisfy. The film kicks in from the get-go and doesn’t let up till the end. This remake is far from an embarrassment to the original, and from what I remember about Romero’s classic, dare I say that the remake improves on it? Shit, did I say that out loud??? Burn me at the stake!!! To be honest, I’d have to see Romero’s gem again to fully back up my jive. Either way you hack it, this flick is a focused, well-made horror treat. Load up that shotgun boys and girls, it's zombie bashing time!
The gore isn’t abundant but we still get a few spine-tingling bits like a nasty broken neck, some crowbar action, gunshots to the head and body.
Tony Todd (Ben) is very intense here but does go a little too “theatrical” for my liking at times. But overall, he’s solid. Patricia Tallman (Barbara) sold me. She’s very credible as the vulnerable chick that slowly becomes “Rambette”. Tom Towles (Harry) excels at playing a-holes and he’s great again as the tough talking coward in this flick. What an ass! Bill Moseley (Johnny) does what he has to do as Barbara’s teasing brother. William Butler (Tom) is on and off. His scenes with Kate Finneran (Judy Rose) were pretty weak. Kate Finneran (Judy Rose) plays hysterical well, unfortunately that’s all that she does. McKee Anderson (Helen) gives a subtle and likeable show. I wanted more of her.
T & A
Patricia Tallman in her underwear showing off her beautiful legs and the ladies get some male zombie ass shots. Enjoy.
dug Savini’s debut. He handles tension very well, he keeps the shots simple, which goes hand in hand with the film’s rhythm, he got me often with those damn “boo” scares and offers some nice atmospheric moments. He needed a firmer grasp on his actors though.
I felt the score didn’t measure up to the picture. It felt dated and failed to suck me in.
I really enjoyed this film’s simplicity. It just goes to show that you don’t need all kinds of fancy pansy tricks to make an efficient horror flick. Sure, the film isn’t perfect but its heart is in the right place and it delivers the goods. Now I got to get my hands on the original to see how it measures up.
The first cut of this film was given an "X" rating by the MPAA. Several cuts were made to ensure an R-rating.
The budget of the film was $4.2 Million.