Sunday, September 6, 2009

Comparing 'Night of the living Dead' (1968) and (1990) Version.

Original Released in 1968 Directed and written By: George Romero alongside John A Russo (Screenplay)
Later Released in 1990: Directed by: Tom Savini

‘Night of the living Dead’, the black and white version is definitely the one that started the entire zombie craze and still remains a classic till this day. The 90’s version stays somewhat true to the original but there are a few changes including the ending. In the original film Barbara and her brother Johnny are visiting their father’s grave and Johnny starts scaring Barbara telling her that the dead are going to come for her. Suddenly there’s a man approaching Barbara; he tries to attack her, instead Johnny gets killed ---Johnny later returns as a zombie. Barbara tries to take off in her car and crashes it. She then runs towards a house encountering Ben and others.

There are a lot of differences in the characters in the 90’s film. These changes appear to be better for the latter film. In the black and white version Barbara appears to be in shock during most of the movie, she doesn’t even attempt to help Ben out. Ben is the main character; he appears to be tough and won’t take shit from no one. In one scene Barbara is demanding from Ben that they must go look for her brother. Ben tells Barbra her brother is dead and Barbra slaps him. Without hesitation Ben returns the slap. Barbra is then knocked out unconscious for a while. (Barbara becomes the main character in the latter film.)

In the 90’s version Barbara is a lot tougher, she is willing to help out. She isn’t scared except for the beginning when she’s asking her brother to stop teasing her. She even knows how to use a shotgun and does a mean job by killing off the zombies and shooting them in the head. Ben is more sensitive and understanding towards Barbara.During the film there’s a couple people that come out of the Basement Harry, his character remains the same; a kind of asshole that only thinks of himself and isn’t willing to help the rest of the people in the house.

There’s also Harry’s wife Helen and his daughter whom throughout the movie is unconscious and later rises as a member of the undead. In the original the daughter repeatedly stabs the mom in the chest. This was something amazing to watch because it demonstrated that although horror has evolved, it all started somewhere and this zombie movie shaped every other zombie movie there is. Even for a black and white film George Romero didn’t care if it was going to be brutal for audiences assuming during that time this movie scared many. Now not so much, it just helps one appreciate classic horror.

The 90’s version became slightly humorous when you look at it now. The zombies had more makeup and we preferred to watch the original where the zombies looked a little like humans and slowly evolved into the undead near the end of the film. Two other characters also appeared alongside harry and Helen which were Tom and Judy. In the original Judy seemed more willing to do whatever was asked of her although she didn’t help out much. In the remake Judy was very annoying to watch as a character always yelling and screaming but definitely helped out in boarding the house. We forgot to mention that Harry’s wife Helen is feistier in the remake and stands up for herself opposed to where she has to listen and do as she is told by Harry in the original.

Overall, the original was the best even though the 90’s version of the characters and story were a little more developed and there was more explanation. The actors were also more believable as characters. Tony Todd (Candyman) played Ben in the 90’s version and did a great job. We enjoyed watching the remake, but the 1968 version was the one that initiated it all and showcased the zombies as vicious and inhuman. There was more concentration in showing the zombies really eating flesh in the original version ---something that was slightly shown in the remake. The ending was also different but I won’t give anymore away. If you haven’t seen them you should and decide for yourself which one is your favorite.


cockney0_1 said...

The original is still the best. Savini's remake was good, but very restrained considering it's pedigree. It also doesn't seem to have aged well. The original is still effective with it's claustrophobic atmosphere and subtle gothic undertones. Both recommended but the original is still the daddy of them all.

TheHorrorPress said...

Yes complete agree with you.

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