Posted on October 27th, 2008 in A Horror A Day, Brick Prior, Movies by Brick Prior

I’m back, and I’m a little more calm after ranting about Diary of the Dead yesterday.  The week is winding down, and while getting through the initial slate of 31 films for the month won’t be a problem, due to some personal circumstances, it looks like I might not be able to take a look at everything I had planned by Saturday.

Cross your fingers, though- I might be able to stumble upon some spare free time and make some magic happen.

Anyway, on with the show. 

TODAY’S FILMS:  Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Night of the Living Dead 1990

Remakes are always going to happen.  But why was one of the best horror films of all time remade?  Let’s take a look!

THE TRAILERS

1968:

1990:

THE RECAP, BRICK PRIOR STYLE

Everyone knows the story- for some inexplicable reason, the recently dead now walk the earth.  Some say it was a space probe, others say it was radiation, but the recently deceased walk… and they hunger.  Several strangers band together at an abandoned farmhouse… but will they survive the night?

Now, I’m going to say something rather "shocking": Night of the Living Dead 1968 is pretty much bulletproof- it was the beginning of a complete subgenre of horror, revolutionary for its time with its character choices and bleak-as-all-fuck ending… and you know what, I might be crazy but that cemetery zombie is running like a motherfucker for a bit.

Things that make you go… hmmm.

So, the big question is… why was this groundbreaking film remade twenty-two years later? 

I couldn’t tell you- Hollywood matters confuse me… but here’s a theory.

Every film-going generation needs its own "Night of the Living Dead"- something that unnerves and shocks people; don’t worry, I’ll tell you my personal pick for current times just a tad bit later, but that’s neither here nor there.  My take on the remake is this- it’s a chance to rectify an old story for George Romero.  Just like Stephen King went back and touched up the "Dark Tower" series, Romero took his opus and fleshed things out a bit; with a different social climate back then (understatement of the year), Ben’s story as it was existed in the Sixties, so in the Nineties, it was Barbara’s turn to get her story beefed up and fleshed out with a zombie killing tale of empowerment.

Ah, Barbara- she was practically comatose and several different kinds of worthless in 1968.  The character existed to push the plot along in the beginning, and then faded to the background as Ben took over, only to be dragged out of the house by her dead brother and the rest of the ghouls.

In the Nineties version, that shit ain’t happening.  This particular version of Barbara does have a bit of a setback in the cemetery, but manages to overcome that, become proactive, and survive the night.  Even Ben, who was such a figure of heroism in the first film, gets caught up in a war of possessions- him running the living room versus Cooper in the basement, with the winner claiming the whole house and in the end, this version of Ben takes the ultimate loss.  It becomes Barbara’s duty to carry on and move forward- she’s the only character that refuses to be confined by the situation, as she actually leaves the farmhouse determined to not get wiped out.  She becomes the only character that takes control of her own destiny- even though Cooper’s smart to hide in the attic, she makes sure that he pays for all the strife he caused at the end of the film.

All in all, I think Night of the Living Dead 1990 is pretty underrated.  And if you think it ends happily because Barbara survives, here’s a scary thought.

Once again, the rednecks take things a bit too far…

BRICK’S FINAL WORDS FOR THE DAY

I think in a way, Night of the Living Dead 1990 tries to atone for the ending of the original version with a much more proactive ending.  I don’t think either film is better than the other- both are solid entries in the zombie genre… and hey, Tom Savini’s direction in the remake is pretty damn solid.  If you’ve refused to see it before, give it a second chance.  You might be surprised…

Oh, and my pick for the NOTLD award from recent horror movies?

The Mist.

Watch it in black and white…

TOMORROW

Suspiria!  Dario Argento’s "Three Mothers" trilogy begins!

What are people saying about "A Horror A Day"?

Brick Prior
Re: A Horror A Day

Day 2!
DrDetroit
Re: A Horror A Day

I enjoy A Horror A Day!
Brick Prior
Re: A Horror A Day

I'm happy that you enjoy it!  Here is Day 3!
Brick Prior
Re: A Horror A Day

It's like the fate of the world depends on me!  Day 4!
DrDetroit
Re: A Horror A Day

This is awesome.  This is making me want to bust out some old zombie movies and take a mental health day.  Maybe next week!

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