After seeing so many movies, there are moments where I can’t recall if I’ve seen something or not. In most cases where I’m not sure, I’ve found I may have seen part of the movie but not all of it. Flipping through the channels and stopping to watch a scene or two. In the case of today’s film, Night of the Living Dead (1990), I had watched the opening scene and random bits and pieces throughout the rest of the 90-minute running. I’m honestly not sure what the horror community thinks about this one as it really doesn’t get talked about much. For me, I have to admit I was a little underwhelmed.
As a remake of George A. Romero’s original from 1968, it follows almost scene-for-scene with some differences here and there. Johnnie (Bill Moseley, The Devil’s Rejects) is killed in the cemetery while his sister Barbara (Patricia Tallman, Babylon 5) barely escapes the zombies as she makes her way to a farm house. Ben (Tony Todd, Candyman) soon arrives as we discover others are hiding in the basement. They make their stand as the number of zombies increase.
George Romero wrote the new screenplay and served as an executive producer while special effects guru Tom Savini directed. Essentially, this movie plays out very much like the original with a couple of key differences. The gore is amped up a little but really not as much as you might think. The original was pretty graphic but it was not as apparent due to the black and white film. The red blood flows pretty freely here. The other key difference is the ending. In the original, Barbara is devoured by zombies while Ben survives only to be shot the next morning, being mistaken for a zombie. Here, Barbara becomes a much stronger character and escapes. She returns to the farmhouse where we see Ben has become a zombie. Barbara also kills the character of Harry Cooper out of revenge whereas he was killed by Ben in the original once he starts turning into a zombie.
Fans of horror host Chilly Billy Cardille will enjoy seeing him back as a TV news reporter while Russell Steiner, the original Johnny, plays a sheriff here. All-in-all, not a bad film, it just seemed a little pointless. I prefer the original as the atmosphere it holds just feels creepier. I was also a little bit annoyed by Patricia Tallman’s overacting at times. However, I love seeing Tony Todd, so he makes up for her annoyance. This was fun just not as good as the original. The DVD is usually found under $10, if you desire to add it to your collection. It’s also available on YouTube (for now), so check it out while you can! And, top off your journey by listening to a classic episode of Derek M. Koch’s Mail Order Zombie Podcast! If anyone knows about zombies, it’s the legendary Brother D!