Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saturday night movie

We finally watched Night of the Living Dead. It is an amazing movie, not just because it's about zombies, but because it's a realistic portrayal of how people forced into a deadly situation act and react. I didn't much like many of the characters because I thought that they were acting irrationally and endangering themselves and others. Then again, those people were behaving as you might expect them to: the "big fish" becomes a coward when a "bigger fish" comes along; the woman who couldn't leave during the last major disaster overreacts; and the catatonic woman is catatonic with a textile fixation. These could all be real, annoying, random people you might get stuck with during an emergency.

We watched the non-colourized 30th anniversary edition which has a new score and some added scenes. I hadn't heard the original score so I don't know how the new one compares, but I thought it was ok. I didn't notice it most of the time which is the mark of a decent soundtrack to me.

The new scenes are at the very beginning and the very end and I really didn't like them. In fact, I think that these scenes detracted from the movie. One of the reasons that the movie is so good is that you start right in with the dead and finish with the cleanup in the end - the scenario goes from bad to worse as the movie progresses. The new scenes bracket the movie by adding a badly-acted religious component that references no other part of the movie. This new, unsupported message doesn't fit with the existing movie.

I'm doing some reading (that link is worth reading if you don't mind a little outrage and profanity), and it looks like other original footage has been taken out in addition to adding these terrible scenes. Apparently some of the important backstory is missing as are some zombies. What was John Russo thinking when he changed the movie?

Hmmm. I'm thinking that while I like the 30th anniversary edition of Night of the Living Dead, I'll love the original much, much more.

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