We can hardly imagine how shocking this film was when it first broke into the film scene in 1968. There's never been anything quite like it again, though there have been numerous pale imitations. Part of the terror lies in... more » the fact that it is shot in such a raw and unadorned fashion that it feels like a home movie, and is all the more authentic because of that. It draws us into its world gradually, content to establish a merely spooky atmosphere before leading us through a horrifically logical progression that we hardly could have anticipated. The story is simple: Radiation from a fallen satellite has caused the dead to walk, and hunger for human flesh. Once bitten, you become one of them. And the only way to kill one is by a shot or blow to the head. We follow a group holed up in a small farmhouse who are trying to fend off the inevitable onslaught of the dead. The tension between the members of this unstable, makeshift community drives the film. Night of the Living Dead establishes savagery as a necessary condition of life. Marked by fatality and a grim humor, the film gnaws through to the bone, then proceeds on to the marrow. --Jim Gay« less
BEWARE!! Stay away from the 30th Anniversary edition!
Michael K. Beusch | San Mateo, California United States | 10/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The five star rating I gave Night of the Living Dead is, of course, for the original, uncut, unadulterated edition. The original is, quite simply, the most terrifying movie I've ever seen, even when compared to horror classics like Diabolique (the original French version), Psycho, Rosemary's Baby, Halloween and The Shining. I saw NOTLD when I was 9 years old on Creature Features at midnight after a funeral. I had nightmares for the next two nights. The film still gives me the chills whenever I see it (usually at Halloween).
When the 30th Anniversary Edition came out, I bought it on VHS as I was curious to see what they termed as "new footage." What I got was a horrible mess that butchered the original film, removed the original music for a terrible synthesizer score and added pointless footage that makes the viewer want to grind his teeth down to the gums. One of the additions is a new character: a fire and brimstone preacher. While the acting in the original is amateurish, at best, the "actor" who plays the preacher makes the original cast look like Oscar winners by comparison. He snarls, and howls and gnashes his teeth like he has rabies. Even more ridiculous is the extra footage of Bill Hinzman -- the "cemetary zombie" in the original. The extra footage shows Hinzman's character emerging from the grave, then cuts to the original 1968 opening footage with Judith O'Dea and Russell Streiner. It's absolutely ridiculous as Hinzman looks 30 years older in the new footage. In addition, there are more zombies and a new ending to the film that makes no sense whatsoever. This "new" version is a piece of trash that desecrates the most frightening film of all time. Avoid it like the plague!
ORIGINAL VERSION: ***** 30 Anniversary version: No Stars"
The Millennium edition is really good.
D. Mok | Los Angeles, CA | 07/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This review pertains only to the Millennium Edition DVD of Night of the Living Dead.Okay...as I'd feared, my negative review of the John Russo-massacred "30th Anniversary Edition" of Night of the Living Dead has been lumped unwittingly into this product's review, so I' m writing this one to clarify.This DVD edition is the best edition I've seen of the film yet. Anchor Bay may have raised the ires of legions of Living Dead fans by releasing the sacrilegious 30th Anniversary Edition, but Elite Entertainment did right by this new edition.George A. Romero's personal appreciation appears in the back of this DVD -- this immediately restores our faith. And the contents don't disappoint -- the picture and sound are good, and though this doesn't exactly contain the richest batch of bonus materials (sets like the excellent 3-disc edition of Dario Argento's Suspiria and the recent double-disc Re-Animator both feature loads of extras), it is a nice solid collection. You get a Duane Jones interview (sadly with only audio and no image, but still great); an on-camera chat between Judith Ridley (Judy) and Marilyn Eastman (Helen); the hilarious student-film spoof "Night of the Living Bread" by Kevin S. O'Brien (which also appeared in the double-cassette VHS edition); two commentary tracks with Romero, Russo, Russ Streiner, Eastman, Karl Hardman and others. One very illuminating portion of this DVD for non-film-scholars is visually boring but informative -- several histories outlining the beginning of Romero's Latent Image company, on Hardman and Eastman's company, and how the two were married to produce Night of the Living Dead.THIS is the right edition of Night of the Living Dead, the one to get for both fans and non-fans alike. It includes all the necessary people (notice that Russo, Streiner and Bill Hinzman were included in this release, despite their criminal participation in the 30th Anniversary Edition), and it presents the film the way it wants to be seen.
Now I'm waiting for a deluxe release of Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead..."
Forget the rest--go with the best!
Edward Moore | Chicago, IL | 07/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are plenty of DVDs out there for George Romero's original classic "Night of the Living Dead," most of which are just as nasty as those VHS versions you used to find in the discount bin at your local video store: scratchy, grainy, unfocused video with muddy, muffled audio. There is also the now-infamous "30th Anniversary" DVD, which needlessly jams new scenes into the original movie (kind of like George Lucas's "Star Wars Special Editions," but with more flesh-eating). But the only--I repeat, ONLY--DVD of "Night" worth touching is one released by Elite Entertainment. This gorgeous DVD is essentially the same package as the one Elite released on VHS through Anchor Bay a few years back: a pristine print of "Night," along with trailers & an amusing parody film called "Night of the Living Bread" (get it? get it?). This DVD also includes two audio commentary tracks featuring various members of the cast & crew & commercials that George Romero directed back in the '60s! All in all, this is far superior to anything else on the market. Seek it out--it's well worth the effort!"
Elite is the only way to go!
michael r. webb | elkton, maryland United States | 01/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are many versions of "Night of the Living Dead" on DVD but there is only one that you should buy! The Special Collectors Edition put out by Elite is the ONLY version of this film that's worth anything. The transfer to DVD is so sharp and clear that you'll feel like you're watching it for the first time. One word of warning to anyone out there shopping for this DVD, there are many online auction sites and online stores claiming that this DVD is "rare and out of print"...DON'T YOU BELIEVE IT! This DVD is still being produced by Elite but not many online stores keep it in stock. Go ahead and order it...you'll get it. Don't be fooled into paying double for something that you could buy right here at Amazon.com. Oh ...and another thing...stay away from the 30th Annivesary Edition. This DVD is a shameful attempt by the "other half" of the folks who made this movie, to milk more money off it. I think that everyone who bought this horrible thing should break it in half, mail it to John Russo and write a note telling him that this is what you think of his and others attempt at desecrating a horror masterpiece. Russo, Hardman, and Striener need to understand that if they we're really as talented as George Romero then they wouldn't have to keep trying to make money off this film. Romero moved on to bigger and better things (Martin,Dawn of the Dead,Creepshow,Bruiser) but these other guys are still trying to nickel and dime everybody off thier ONE claim to fame."
This is the edition you have been looking for!
Edward Moore | 12/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a fan of "Night of the Living Dead", you are already aware of the potential hazards in trying to purchase a copy of this great film. There are literally dozens of editions to sift through (some colorized -- yech!). Adding to the confusion is the (pointless) remake of the same name that was released in the 90's, and the (unforgivable) attempt at a "special edition" for the 30th anniversary, which cut & pasted new footage and sound effects into the 1968 original, (it is universally hated by all who have seen it.) I am here to tell you the search is over. If you are buying a copy of "Night of the Living Dead", look no further than the Elite Collector's Edition DVD. The transfer is absolutely beautiful, with nary a scratch on it. The audio is THX certified. There are TWO commentary tracks (both entertaining and enlightening) by mixed groups of cast and crew. Of course, both theatrical trailers are attached as well. This is absolutely the best presentation I've ever seen, and well worth the price. Throw everything else on the fire!"