Zombie Month part VII: The Night of the Living Dead (Tom Savini remake)

The Night of the Living Dead directed by Tom Savini

Speed: shambling

Intelligence: very low, can strike clumsily at barricades

Behavior: slow witted, aggression sometimes takes awhile to take hold, even when close to prey. Eats all animal matter.

Longevity: unknown, maybe a couple of years

Infection: bite. Incubation is a handful of hours and doesn’t seem to vary depending on bite location.

How to kill: Headshot, and only a headshot. Other methods may work but only if the brain is destroyed.

The remake of the classic Romero film features the same general storyline and characters. However, there are a few changes to the plot and characterisation that are probably for the better. A small group of survivors from a local outbreak hold up in an abandoned farmhouse. With dark approaching and the dead approaching, tensions run high as they attempt to survive the night.

I really enjoyed this remake (in fact it was the zombie film to get me hooked on the genre). Tom Savini as you may know is also a part time actor (he was Sex Machine in From Dusk Till Dawn and has had cameos in heaps of zombie films) and special effect/makeup artist but this is his sole movie directorship. He removes a few of the traits that the original zombie film had that didn’t survive sequels, such as a fear of fire and using weapons (until Land of the Dead of course) which gives the plot a much “meatier” feel- the zombies are more predictable, but far less controllable, and this gives the whole film a much more ominous, impending doom feel.

The characters are changed a little. In particular Barbra, who is more than a screaming vegetable, but also the other members to certain degrees. Tom Towles makes for an excellent, belligerent Harry. You really want to slap some sense into the chump and by the end of the film he’s the only character that you wouldn’t mind getting eaten. Ben is resourceful as well as a bit more pragmatic. The rest of the characters are smoothed out, and are less caricaturish, but that could be from the higher acting calibre.

The remake is everything a zombie film should be, and not much else. If you want your zombie films in colour, with all the boxes ticked and feel that the older Romero ones have a few niggling faults, then this is the one for you. It is like it’s zombies- meat and potatoes, with an added flair/gore sprinkled in decent amounts.

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~ by freeze43 on May 16, 2012.

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