George Romero's classic Night of the Living Dead from 1968 is a fantastic movie in it's own right. It goes without saying that it is a highly regarded piece of horror cinema, that served as an inspiration to so many actors and horror enthusiasts. One of which was Tom Savini, the horror effects guru of Hollywood. At the time it seemed that Tom Savini had gotten together a group of quasi-nobodies in the horror game. Bill Mosley, Tony Todd, Patricia Tallman, Tom Toweles, and William Butler all came together to both pay tribute and update this cornerstone in Zombie horror.
The film is mostly a shot for shot remake with an emphasis on the new gory effects. Barbara and Ben take refuge inside of an old creepy house from a horde of hungry zombies outside. They find a refugee family and couple living in the basement. Now, together they must work together to survive the onslaught of undead that hordes around the house. This is all parallel with the original Living Dead. Savini did a really fine job of not taking Romero's original movie and ruining it. The zombies, although now complete with fresh gore and blood, are actually exactly what George Romero was shooting for with his picture. The characters are all very well developed in this movie too. They feel more flushed out. With all of these things helping it along this is definitely one of the best remakes of the last thirty years.
I really found myself getting into this movie a lot more than the original. Night of the Living Dead (1968) is a really creepy movie that relies on what it doesn't have to drive the mystery along. All that Tom Savini did here was come along and fill in the cracks. He didn't do anything to this movie aside from add to it and make it that much better. I know that most people are pretty harsh on this interpretation, but what is the actual problem with it? The actors all seem to hit their queues on time, they are punctual and they play the scenes very well. The movie even adds suspense and a lot of missing fright. If you have seen the original, then this is just a good refresher to keep you on the edge of your seat.
- Tom Savini had actually intended to film the movie in black and white and gradually transition to color.
- Zombie is never uttered in this movie. As if they live in some bizarre world where no one has heard of Zombies.
- The character of Tom played by William Butler wears a T-shirt with the "Iron City" beer logo on the front. This is the same drink consumed in the original Dawn of the Dead by the redneck militia, and is also the same brand of beer that George A. Romero's production company "The Latent Image" had produced a commercial for during their early years.