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Friday, September 30, 2005

"NOTLD" in shock "its crap" version.

Friday night, just got in around midnight from a nice meal out (raw flesh) and decided I did not want to go to bed. Picked up my DVD box set of the three best zombie films ever made and opened it up like it was a chocolate box. I had already watched "Dawn of the Dead" (my favourite) so it was time to pick another selection.

First, watched "Document of the Dead" the documentary. Looks dated already but some great interview stuff and a fanboy feel to it with voxpops with other directors and what the thought of "NOTLD" (Raimi, Landis, Craven etc)

Then began to watch other doc, but could not wait so stuck on "Day of the Dead". Almost jumped for joy when hearing the "helloooooooooooo.......helloooooooooooo..." bit at the begining (and thought of "28 Days Later") - widescreen, good image and sound - top movie, nuff said.

Watched the extras on this - the behind the scenes stuff is actually very good.

Still excited, I slipped in the "NOTLD" disc. Started watching the extras - "Dance of the Dead" etc and began to wonder what all the stills had to do with the movie as they were obviously not from the film.

Began to play the movie. Eh? Wheres the start sequence where Barbra and her brother drive up the long road to the cemetary? I always liked this bit as it built up the suspense brilliantly. No, instead there was some pokey home video looking pre-start bit with a couple of 90's looking bad actors (they look like 90's porn stars!) loading up a coffin onto a truck, while pretending to be in a classic horror movie set in the 60's. To my absolute shock this scene continued to the afore mentioned cemetary and the coffin happens to contain the body of the guy that attacks Barbra and bro. Sounds good. Problem is he does'nt actually look anything like the "original" guy from "NOTLD" and things look bleak already (we are approaching "Plan 9..." territory)
This scene is badly cut into the original movie, as I say, Barbra's first scene has gone - but at least we are back into what we expected. Barbra legs it, ends up at the house etc, etc. Later we are jarringly thrown into another quite obviously modern scene masquerading (badly) as part of the movie set in the 60's. A group of drunk friends with no idea how to act, oops sorry, a group of terrifying zombies (superbly acted) approach a crashed car where three people (wife and two kids) wake up and get out of the car - oh hang on, they are actually zombies, I think - its soooo badly done you can't really tell (they must have been the new directors wife and kids) A one armed nurse staggers by and begins to eat the impaled father, who's brains fall out. Sounds good doesn't it? Well, I'm afraid not, it turns out he is a dummy (doh!) and the one armed nurse quite obviously has her other arm strapped behind her! Cue the several drunk people walking by and WOW I'm almost convinced this was in the original movie.
Back to the original - good as ever with an occasional vomit inducing, badly shot added scene with the previously mentioned wife and kids (hey guys we're in a film!!) - surely it could not get any worse. Could it?
Oh yes it could.
Final scene with Ben - cut to ribbons (one of the best scenes in horror movie history mutilated) Wife and kids plus some other drunk guys get shot in the head, possibly (with no special effects its hard to tell) then some WWF wrestler from the nineties (shaved head, goatee) dressed as a vicar, oh hang on he IS meant to be a vicar, pours out some crappy teenager written dialogue to an 80's power dressed female interviewer (and we are still meant to be in the 60's!!!) - awful. Finally Ben gets shot by the hunters but the impact is lost as its mashed in with the added stuff, which inludes the vicar / judas Priest getting bitten by the "Plan 9..." zombie.
Cue epilogue (epilogue? don't remember that in the film) the priest has survived the bite!!!! The female interviewer visits him a year later (no idea what happened to "Dawn" and "Day" in the meantime - they are effectively written out from the trilogy) and he tells her that GOD, brought him through - yes children, zombies are in fact DEMONs from the pits of hell and GOD is the way to cast them out, PRAISE BE!! Everything you thought was behind the dead rising was wrong! The next two movies no longer exist and we have apparently been able to fight of infection with faith....................


FUCK OFF!!

This "new" version of the movie is complete arsegrapes. I would rather eat my own shit than recommend this to you. Be warned, DO NOT watch this - it will leave you appaled at how they have ruined one of our favourite movies. Upon research I have found that this version, the "30th Anniversary" one added 15mins of new footage (all bad) and actually REMOVED 15mins of the original to fit them in! John Russo, one of the original films makers was responsible for this mess. Seems he had his own zombie movie to promote and used "NOTLD" to be the prologue for that movie - hence the change of back-story. Romero had nothing to do with it.

To quote one review I found -

Without resorting to the violent personal attacks against John Russo and those involved in this project that have saturated the Web since Night 30 was announced, I can only be honest and truthful. This "Special Edition" is not worthy of the name Night of the Living Dead. John Russo should be ashamed of himself, as should everyone involved with this mess.
Ashamed for even attempting to pull this off, you ask? No. Russo and company should be ashamed for putting no creativity whatsoever into the new footage, for diluting and corrupting a classic film for the express purpose of promoting Children of the Dead, a sequel to Night of the Living Dead ("Dawn of the What?" I can hear Russo asking.). In lieu of effort and creativity (which they all put forth in abundance 30-some years ago), Russo and company have, in essence, transformed Night of the Living Dead into a commercial- a commercial for a very bad film, by the looks of it!
As much as it pains me to do so, I must again mention Scott Vladimir Lucina. As under-whelming as his score is, his "performance" is infinitely worse. As bad and useless as the new footage is, the character of Reverend Hicks is, well... unimaginably abominable.
One of the strengths of Romero's Night of the Living Dead is the lack of completely stereotypical characters. Despite the absurd situation in which the characters find themselves, they are nonetheless played real, played straight. As much of an ostentatious jerk as Karl Hardman's Harry Cooper is, he's played as a real person. Even with her overplayed hysterics, Judith O'Dea's Barbara comes across with a degree of believability. Ben, portrayed by the late Duane Jones, is anything but a stereotype.
Not only is Reverend Hicks a pathetic stereotype, he's also a painful-to-behold caricature. A complete anachronism, he -looking like a priest from late-80s Heavy Metal video- does not belong in this movie. Had Russo the ability to pick talent, this -like the rest of the new footage- could have worked. Had Hicks been played real, had he actually looked and behaved like an actual preacher from the late '60s, some of the newly-added scenes could have even come close to working. Some, that is, with one exception.
The final scene of Night of the Living Dead is one of the most disturbing, ironic sequences in cinema history. To a moviegoer accustomed to having every wrong put right in the closing moments of a film, Ben's fate comes like a blow to the head, a shock to the system. The viewer is left numbed by this entirely unhappy ending. As the credits roll over grainy black and white photos of posse members plunging hooks into Ben's corpse, the feeling of jarring, bitter realism is complete.
That, too, has been done away with. Concerning the new scenes, Russo states (in the booklet that comes with the DVD) that he's adding "story points that we wished we could have covered thirty years ago when we were knocking ourselves out, working on a shoestring budget." Are we meant to believe that the epilogue was something he and Romero discussed thirty years ago?
This scene (which -by virtue of that fact that it takes place one year after the events of Night- contradicts Dawn and Day of the Dead) is what changed my feelings of mild amusement toward Night 30 to feelings of disgust. Licina, every bit as bad as the worst Ed Wood Player, slams the final stake into the heart of this sad venture. Contrast his laughably executed explanation of why the dead rose with Peter's explanation in Dawn of the Dead, and you'll again see the difference between Russo and Romero. Serving only to set the stage for the aforementioned Children of the Dead, the closing moments of Night 30 is a spit in the face to George Romero, to the fans who've kept this film alive for 30+ years, and to the art of cinema, itself.
There you go. If you want to watch a remake, watch the proper remake by Savini - I actually think this is good (even Jane liked it!) an updates the movie quite well.

Overall the Trilogy box set is great value - "Dawn" is the dirctors cut and is as superb as ever. "Day" just rocks with gore. I really do warn you off watching "NOTLD" - it will leave a worse taste in your mouth than putrid flesh!

I for one have ordered the "NOTLD - Millennium Edition" by elite - Region 1 disc, stacks of extras and no mucking about with on of my fave movies.

M

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