on April 14, 2004
I don't really think I it would make a difference to write this review, cosidering my opinion (or part of it anyway) has already been expressed in other reviews, but I may as well help inform others.
Before I go any further I would like to state that this is just my own opinion, others might quite like this version.
Anyway, this edition of the film is terrible, the beginning and end of the film has truly been ruined. Do people really care where the "cemetary zombie" came from? Why even did the filmmakers who did this feel that they had to film that. It is the same actor playing the zombie and you can tell he's thirty years older. There's no need to sya the acting is terrible. But the guy playing the reverend looks more like a criminal than a religious leader.
In the commentary, the producers say they put those new scenes in the film to state "why" the dead were rising. Excuse me if I'm wrong but wasn't the "why" element already stated in the origional version when the characters were watching the headlines on TV, it was stated on the news that it was "radiation from Venice."
Anyways this version really blows, just my opinion though. Perhaps others will like it.
on July 11, 2002
This 30th Anniversary Edition takes the original Night of the Living Dead movie and throws in a new soundtrack and new scenes. As far as I was concerned, the original movie was perfect as is and this was unnecessary, however I decided to be openminded and give this edition a chance considering that the new material was written by John Russo (who co-wrote the original movie), and has photography (and acting) by Hinzman (who also helped create the original). I was completely let down.
The new scenes include a new introduction, miscellaneous scenes of zombies marching and getting killed by rednecks, and a new epilogue. The miscellaneous scenes sometimes interfere with the flow of the movie, the makeup is less effective, and some of the new extras are terrible. They do a half decent job of editing in the new scenes, but they are still noticeable (for example, the fashions are not quite right). The new introduction and epilogue are ridiculous.
The intro merely establishes that the lead zombie (played by Hinzman) was a criminal when alive. This takes away from one of the films most effective elements: that the zombies could be your next door neighbour or a close friend or relative, but they will still mindlessly try to kill you. Hinzman is obviously older in the frontal shots (the profiles are okay). When he starts attacking two gravediggers, one of the "actors" begins running away then realizes Hinzman was supposed to grab him first, so he actually goes back to the coffin and leans down so Hinzman can grab him!!! The fact they didn't do a second take shows a lack of care.
The epilogue is a "one year later" interview with an insane hellfire and brimstone preacher who survived the carnage. It is stuck in the middle (spoiler warning) of the scene of Duane Jones being killed and the ending credits showing the rednecks disposing of his body!! Talk about interfering with a very effective ending!
You do have the option to watch the original cut (on an excellent print), but you can only watch it with the new soundtrack! The old soundtrack was made up of library music, but it worked excellently. At best, the new soundtrack is mediocre. Sometimes it doesn't even fit the mood of the scene, for example being frantic when the action is more sedate and depressive.
The booklet contains interviews mostly consisting of the actors talking about how "flawlessy" the new scenes were added and how old fans will love the new version (wrong). There is a fun commentary track, but you get the same people (plus others, including Romero) giving the same info on the commentary tracks in the far superior Elite Millennium Edition.
on December 28, 2001
There's always the sequel, or the remake, or the adaptation that somehow negatively affects the reputation of a classic film, book, etc. The Batman films became progressively worse, the remake of "Psycho" was just a pointless exercise (and pricey one) in filmmaking, and the 1995 adaptation of "The Scarlet Letter" was just an out and out disgrace. Then of course, there's the 30th anniversary edition of "NOTLD", with newly remastered sound and picture quality. Not to mention 15 minutes of newly shot scenes that are an inclusion to the film. Well, there's the old adage, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. But instead of not fixing it, how about tossing a molotov cocktail at the film and screw it up with bad acting and campy, Cinemax premiere-style storytelling to an otherwise, horror classic. Romero's 1968 film made a big fuss when it burst onto the drive-in scene by giving unexpecting viewers images they'd never forget in the midst of horrible violence. It was the first time where the hero does not win in the end, where censorship was sorely tested, and people didn't expect what they'd see. Now, countless versions of video and DVD later, the team from the original (with the strange exclusion of writer-director Romero) have teamed up, to pretty much tarnish the reputation of the original, with a ridiculous subplot surrounding the first zombie we see in the film, and an even worse character, an idiot playing a priest who would put most porn stars to shame for being such an awful actor. These 15 minutes of deleted scenes excise the original scenes, [mess] up the ending, and are most likely to hurt the reputation of the classic. The only thing the 30th anniversary has is an engrossing score that provides remarkable improvement to the original score by making it tense and scary. But the extras, which have absolutely nothing to do with the 1968 original, are just from the production surrounding the 30th anniversary. An annoying music video accompanies the likes of the DVD that's a techno version which unnecessarily repeats quotes from the flick that make it unbearable. If you're a big fan of NOTLD, and look to purchase the original, just purchase the original which you can find for less than 10 bucks on the internet. Don't get the 30th anniversary, because it certainly isn't definitive, and it certainly isn't good. Instead, pick up the Millenium Edition, which for some reason is being paired with this review instead of the actual 30th Anniversary Edition, the one that's being criticized.
on October 24, 2001
The original Night of the Living Dead is still a horror masterpeice, and it is presented it wonderful, clear DVD format in this version. The soundtrack was partially remastered, and rather badly. The synth score totally rapes any kind of ancient and spooky atmosphere the original gave.
Now, as for the 30th Aniversary Cut. I'm sure since the release of this horrificly stupid edit that the dead have risen more often just to shatter copies of this edit. Theres 15 minutes of added footage that is absolutely appalingly unnessessary, stupid, trite, badly acted and totally out of place. The music is even WORSE than the original since the score has a drum loop through it, making it sound like a 14 year old's Yanni nightmare.
The score was composed by the man who plays the priest in the extra footage... Personally, I'd've liked to have taken a bite out of his face for his insipid, uninspiring and lame score.
This edition also comes with a Music Score DVD that makes me twitch it's so...damned...bad. The last track is original title redo (from the 1998 cut of the film for DVD) but the one before that is the worst peice of "techno" you could possibly hear. It loops tiny dialouge tracks into a very, very bad dance loop and it makes me want to tie small woodland animals to the back of my car and drag them for several miles, if it would only make this re-mastered score go away.
on April 26, 2001
Like more than a few other poor souls who fell for this "Special Super-Duper 30th Anniversary Edition" of NOTLD, I thought this would be the best release yet from Anchor Bay (a company which, this title aside, can do no wrong). Man, was I wrong. I just finished watching the 30th Anniversary version of the movie, and it is--like many have already stated here--an excising of 15 minutes of original footage en lieu of some ridiculous padding (an overacting priest, a family in an auto wreck, 'new' zombies wandering the countryside) that in no way adds to the storyline. Unfortunately, the picture quality of the new footage is inconsistent with the 1968 version, so everything that's been added is unfortunately hard to miss. The New & Improved soundtrack had me groaning at first, but got better as the film progressed (even though it resembled Tangerine Dream on a cheap keyboard). I must commend whoever re-recorded the sound efx (gunshots, punches, etc.), because that's the one aspect of this edition that's OUTSTANDING.
The extras, which consist of a trailer, a making-of segment, a still gallery, and a pointless video clip from some obscure movie are pretty underwhelming. This Bill Hinzman guy shouldn't be holding his head up too high for whatever involvement he had here, along with buddy-boy John Russo.
In short, I thought I'd get this and maybe do away with my 10+ year old video copy, but I think I'll stick with it. By comparison, this is the "Definitive Inferior Version."
on April 17, 2001
I bought this DVD,and was really dissapointed. Well,this new scenes, you can see that cemetary zombie look much older in one scene,and in next(original scene) he suddenly looks younger. And new added scenes are ofcourse in black and white,but the brightness is different,so you can see which part is new scene evev if you see this film as first time. And new music,well it wasn't that bad,but it seems like they tried to put the music in any scenes they can.And the music was little too loud.That had destroyed the good,intention of the scenes.if they used it less,and little more quiet,it could be better. But most annoying thing about this 30th anniversary edition is, that priest. Who hired him? He is the worst actor I have ever seen in my life! If they hired someone better for this caractor,I could give one more star to rate this movie. And the ending,I did not get it at all. It looked like those clappy TV priest propaganda show. Well,I may keep this DVD ONLY for the bright picture quority, but nothing else.
on March 4, 2001
someone who reads this review and is a fan of the original NOTLD and its sequels "dawn of the dead" and "day of the dead", is probably wondering if i was crazy when giving this film only a 2 star rating. i'd agree that i would be crazy for giving the original 1968 version of this film only a 2 star rating, but i am not rating the original version, i'm critiquing the special 30th anniversary re-issue of the film.
if you have been fortunate enough not to see this version, you're probably wondering what the big difference between the original and this one is. and believe me there is a BIG difference.
if you're reading this, i'm just going to assume that you've seen the original version of the film so i don't have to give a big long summary. if you've never seen NOTLD and have no clue as to what i'm talking about in this review, i apologize. please don't let it stop you from seeing the original version of this cinematic masterpiece.
anyway, to those who have been long term fans of the series let me say this: the 30th anniversary ed. of NOTLD, i found out, is a huge disappointment.
#1 yes, this version contains about 15 minutes of brand new footage that is supposed to make the film better. however, the running time has not changed to an hour and 45 minutes. on the contrary, it still clocks in at roughly 90 minutes. how is this possible you might wonder? simple, the producers decided to take out 15 minutes of original classic footage and throw in 15 minutes of brand new footage (most of which is annoying and pointless). the only segment of new footage that i found to be enlightening comes at the beginning of the film and explains how the "cemetery zombie" came to just be wondering around the graveyard, something the original version never explained.
however, the rest of the added footage is just more scenes of zombies wondering through the night (as if the film needed anymore of that), and a cheesy new ending depicting a scene in which a reporter is interviewing a priest who supposedly survived being bitten by a zombie (any fan of the series knows that no one ever actually survives after being bitten by a zombie). the new ending is pointless and laughable, completely destroying the feeling of uneasiness created by the original version's shocking conclusion.
#2 portions of the music heard in this anniv. ed. have been changed, too. again, portions of the original film have been taken out to make room for new material. as a fan of the original version i think nothing should have been changed for this re-release, especially the music. the music for the original version (although not specifically written for the film) worked well because it only helped to add to the tension and suspense of the film by sounding old and dated.
the new portions of music written specifically for this re-release sound anything but old and dated. i wish that they would've just left everything alone just as it was, but if they were going to replace any of the music at all, i wish they would have re-done the whole score. instead, they left some of the original music in and threw new music in around it apparently hoping that it sound as though it had always been like that. on the contrary, any fan of the original film will immediately be able to tell where the old music ends and the new begins, probably as well as anyone who hasn't seen the original version. the two different scores just don't mix well.
those are basically all the problems with this version of romero's classic film. by the way, romero doesn't deserve any blame for this anniv. ed. because he was not involved in any way with its production. according to the video's liner notes, there were disagreements between members of the production crew during the filming of the original movie back in '68, and since romero was the chosen director his vision of the film was the one that ended up being realized. this new ed. was produced by the members of the crew who disagreed with romero's finished product, and supposedly inserted the new footage in order to present the story as it was originally meant to be told.
from one hard core fan of the series to the rest: skip the 30th anniversary edition of NOTLD. you'd be much better off just watching a marathon of the original 3 films. even the '90 remake of NOTLD looks good compared this piece of garbage (and that's not saying much).
on August 20, 2000
After purchasing this 2 disc set and watching the 30th Anniversary Edition I find myself asking the following questions: Why are the new sequences inserted into the film so badly? (the joins stand out a mile). Why on earth did they take a decision to reuse the graveyard zombie as a "feature zombie" - the bloke who plays him is now 30 years older and believe me you *can* tell the difference! Why is the lip sync on the 30th Anniversary Edition (in particular the new sequences) more poorly dubbed than a Japanese Godzilla flick? This film *was* made in English wasn't it? Why did they add an Epilogue? The bald bloke ain't no Anthony Perkins from the end of Psycho and his dialogue adds nothing to the Living Dead trilogy. Why didn't they add an additional soundtrack to the "98 version" which contained the original musical score? Isn't that the sort of thing that DVD was invented for? and my final question: WHY did I waste my money on this?
In defence of this product I have to say that I quite like the new soundtrack but I shall never watch the 30th anniversary version again - '98 version all the way, but to be honest I wish I'd saved some cash and just bought the original version!
on May 10, 2000
One day when I was about 13, I bought a old VHS of Night of the Living Dead at Wal-Mart for $5. I had no idea what I was buying and no idea what kind of horror I was about to witness. I made the mistake of watching the movie by myself in a dark room that night. Halfway through the movie I had the light on and was peering out the window and looking at the door to the TV room. This movie scared the heck out of me. Anything to do with Zombies would forever scare me especially when I watched the other movies by Romero and played the Resident Evil Games on Playstation. That was then and now I am 27. I still have the VHS copy of Night of the Living Dead. I will never get rid of it because that movie still scares me to this day. Then I am looking thru the DVD movies and I come across this movie. Night of the Living Dead - 30th Anniversary Edition. My first thoughts were, Awsome! I then sat and watched all the aspects of this DVD. I cannot believe they tried to milk this movie again and all they accomplished was defiling this great horror classic. The only reason I gave it 2 stars was because the new score music was pretty cool, but did not belong in this movie. What they should have really done was code this movie to DVD without altering it at all. The new re-edited, re-scored, extras scene added version of this horror classic is a horror to watch. The new added scenes actually had me laughing at the bad acting. I know many of you are saying, bah! What do you know! Let me explain.
1. The added scenes where completly horrible and full of bad acting. Yes the scenes were added seamlessly because they remastered the movie. The preacher was a horrible Billy Zane wannabe and the zombies in the new footage could not even walk like a zombie. Another scene had a car crash where the driver hit the winshield and lost his brain, and the wife in the passenger seat and two daughters in the back of the car have no injuries and seemed to have remained in their seats and not sprawled all over the car after a head on collision with a tree. They were not even wearing seatbelts! Many of the Zombies just walked normally, how horrible! And they spent money to add this footage? Total rip-off! 2. The added score is completely awful. This is a old movie and needed the old sounding music from the orginal. They try to add the new score everywhere in this movie! Someplaces in the movie need to have no music! This sets the mood and has the audience on edge. The orginal score, what they called "library music", was better than the junk they added. 3. The totally ripped and hacked the movie cuting out dead scenes that took up space. This space is needed to again keep the audience on edge and have them thinking what will happen next. So what do you get? I hacked and cut movie where some parts are cut to add the 15 minutes of new footage. A total waste. 4. All the extras are just a waste of time to watch. If you have to have this DVD to add to your collection, don't say I warned you. It is horrible, horrible, horrible. You are better off finding the movie un-edited. Yes the re-mastering cleared it up, but the blurryness of the orginal added to the horror of the movie. On a final note, if it aint broke, DON'T FIX IT!
on December 30, 1999
Despite how hard it is to sit through NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD after all these years (some movies just get "old," same stay fresh forever, NIGHT's superior sequel DAWN OF THE DEAD being one of the latter), I still would have appreciated a better DVD transfer.
The interactive "trivia" questions, what few there are, are too easy and focus on just the plot, never challenging horror fans with behind-the-scenes and production-related questions (this would have been far more interesting). It also appears to me that the production team behind the NOTLD DVD didn't put much effort into this transfer. The credit list lacks detail, and the only biography they have is on Duane Jones (Ben). What happened to George A. Romero?
Also, the quality of the film itself is unsatisfactory, fuzzy at best. Maybe it's because my TV doesn't have that blasted S-Video configuration (but I doubt it, as other DVDs in my collection are visually stunning despite the lack of "S-Video"), but this print of NOTLD did nothing to progress the quality that DVDs are suppost to bring to old classics.
All in all, an unsatisfactory buy, but probably still worth your time for the original film inside.