Retro Horror – Night of the Living Dead (1990)

Firstly, I had a great internal struggle as to which version of this classic ‘George A Romero’ flick to review. The original 1968 version is considered the best however the first version I saw was the ‘Tom Savini’ remake which for the most part, is a very faithful remake. For me then, seeing the 90’s version first made it the definitive version for me. Let the roasting begin in the comments below!

 

Plot

The recently dead have begun coming back to life and feasting on others. These zombies are slow shuffling mindless husks who crave human flesh. Six survivors seek refuse in an old farmhouse where it becomes quickly apparent that the biggest threat is not the zombies…but humanity itself. (or lack there of).

 

Defining a Genre

What George A Romero created is little short of amazing. His early film in 1968 catapulted the zombie flick and has lead to so many copycat movies and re-imaginings over the years. Tom Savini’s retelling is very faithful to the source material while also adding one or two flairs of it’s own. Dialing up the gore slightly and getting stronger performances from it’s cast, this is well worth a watch even if you’ve already seen the original.

 

Strong Female Lead

The stand-out here from the original is our lead actress ‘Patricia Tallman’ playing Barbara. In the original, our Barbara was little more than a shrieking mess who slips into the background. Here Savini takes Barbara on a journey from victim to warrior which is a more refreshing take and a very welcome addition.

 

Tense Atmosphere

The biggest take from this movie is not the gore or the zombie invasion but the scenes in between. The tension between the action is what makes this movie special. The group of survivors show their true colors when put under duress. Tensions mount and the group’s loyalties are quickly divided. The point that gets hammered home here is that the biggest threat to their survival is their own actions and not the zombies. People can’t be trusted and relying on decency is a sure ticket to getting yourself eaten.

 

The Ending

I don’t want to spoil it (and won’t) but the ending packs one hell of a punch. The ugly side of humanity is exposed in a very dramatic way and you’re left with the knowledge that the humans are the true monsters. Superbly written and an absolute killer ending make this one a must watch.

I would encourage anyone who hasn’t watched this to give it a whirl. The original is a classic but this remake offers a great take on it. There have been many remakes and imitations but few are as good as this!

 

What is your favorite horror movie from the past? Let me know in the comments below!

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