By Raymond Knowby


I have to admit, I kinda like this version. Remakes are hard to pull off, and, this being 1990 (before the HUGE trend in Hollywood to revisit classics with costly makeovers) NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD received a fairly respectful treatment. It probably helped a lot that George Romero handled the screenplay duties and gave the directing reins over to trusted make-up artist Tom Savini (who knows zombies almost as good as his master), and that quite a few of the legendary “Pittsburgh alumni” were onboard to help steer.

The other cool aspect is that it’s partially a remake, and partially a different story. While the first hour is basically a colorized retelling, the last forty five minutes go much differently–sometimes for the sake of grabbing original fans and left hooking them, and sometimes just to update with the social themes of the times. Barbara is no longer a catatonic mute…she’s ass kicking Patricia Tallman. Tom (William Butler) and Judy (Katie Finneran) are hick and hick chick bumpkins, and do serviceably well as the young naive couple who perform the terrible mistake with the gaspump and truck. Tom Towles, of HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIEL KILLER fame, molds Karl Hardman’s initial Mr. Cooper character into a new kind of drunken douchebag, and Tony Todd (CANDYMAN) channels the tough but earnest lead of Ben seamlessly from Duane Jones.

Couple of goofy lines (“You lamebrains! You bunch of yo-yo’s!!”) and a gelatin hand that’s shown wriggling a little too much, but otherwise, nicely done, with great looking and scary walking corpses. The MPAA neutered the gore effects, mostly in bullet shattering headshots, but what’s still intact is enough to get the job done.

They're still coming to get Barbara in 1990's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD remake.