Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Genre(s): Horror
Dimension Extreme || NR - 96 minutes - $19.98 || May 20, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-05-19


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: George A. Romero
Writer(s): John A. Russo and George A. Romero (screenplay)
Cast: Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne, Judith Ridley, Kyra Schon


Theatrical Release Date: October 1, 1968


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 2 Filmmakers' and Cast Commentaries
  • One For the Fire Documentary
  • Speak to the Dead: Q&A with Romero
  • Ben Speaks: Last Interview with Duane Jones
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Original Script
  • Still Gallery


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Full Screen (1.33)
  • English (Mono)
  • Subtitles: NA

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.::THE FILM::.

The movie that re-invented the horror genre 40 years ago is back in this release by Dimension Extreme.

What's there to say about Night that has not been said before? If you have any interest in horror movies you have probably already seen this movie several times already. Johnny (Russel Streiner) and Barbara (Judith O'Dea) take a trip to visit their father's grave. At the cementer Johnny is attacked by a crazy man and knocked out while Barbara makes a run for it holding up in an old house. After being freighted inside, she runs out and meets Ben (Duane Jones), our hero. For the remainder of the movie we meet several other individuals and watch this group try to defend themselves from these killers. I say killers because word zombie is never uttered once in the film yet it started a revolution of zombie knock off films shortly after.

If it was not for Romero, I would probably have no interest in horror films. As a youth (around 8) I managed to catch a showing of Dawn of the Dead on cable late at night while I was home sick and was instantly hooked. The story, the music, the characters... this film had it all. The next day, still sick and by myself at home, I rode by bike up to the mall where I convinced the local Suncoast employee that my mom was getting her hair done and to sell me that VHS copy of Night. Well, $35 later I now owned the dual cassette version of Night of the Living Dead and watched it for many months after. Along the way I picked up the version on Laserdisc (still don't even own a player to watch it) as well as Dawn and Day on VHS. This is, by far, my favorite trilogy of films. Star Wars? Indiana Jones? Back to the Future? Nope, the "Dead" series is by far the best trilogy.

By now you must wonder why there are so many releases of Night. To make a long story short, due to an error by not including a copyright indication on the theatrical prints, the copyrights lapsed and the film is now in public domain. Because of this anyone can release their own version of Night and cash in. This is why if you go to Wal-Mart you will see the $1 version of Night, and then a version by Anchor Bay, and then one by Dimension and one by... so if you really want to watch Night of the Living Dead, itís extremely easy to. What each new release tries to do is get the approval of George A. Romero (like this one) and include additional bonus features to help sell the disc to fans.

With the additional of this disc to my library, I now own six different versions of Night of the Living Dead. Not only do I own three of the black and white versions, but I own the special colored version, the 1990 remake, and the more recent "3D" version. Itís getting to the point where I wonder if I will ever need to own six different versions of the film. The answer for fans is yes.

Each version seems to include its only unique special features and this release is no different. If I want to watch the amazing 'Night of the Living Bread' documentary I turn to my red case Millennium 'Elite' Edition. If I just have to watch the 15 "bonus" minutes reshot for the film 10 years ago I pop in my 30th Anniversary Edition. This release, by Dimension, includes a excellent documentary that will definitely compliment the other releases.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Night comes with a very nice shiny slipcover to match Dimensions release of Diary of the Dead that comes out on the same day.

Not all the features are carried over from previous releases by other studios and this is due to other studios paying to create these extras. Itís a shame as the Elite version has some spectacular extras, but this still has some great stuff on it.

2 Commentaries with George A. Romero and Members of the Cast and Crew - Both of these have been featured on previous releases and still are a great listen. Track 1 features Director George A. Romero, Producer/Actor Karl Hardman, Actress Marilyn Eastman and Writer John A. Russo; Track 2 has Producer Russell W. Streiner, Production Manager Vince Survinski, Actresses Judith OíDea and Kyra Schon and Actors Bill Hinzman and Keith Wayne.

One for the Fire: Feature Length Documentary (87:00) - Now this is why you want to buy this release. Includes are 8 different featurettes for a total runtime that is just a tad shorter than the actual film. This is, by far, one of the best extras I have watched on any of the Night releases. This alone is worth the price of admission. Recommended Watch!!!!

Speak to the Dead: Q&A With Romero (15:47) - A very informative Q& with Romero that was shot a few months ago. I believe this is also a new feature. Recommended Watch!

Ben Speaks: Last interview with Duane Jones (16:44) - This was shot just a few months before Duane's death. Itís been included on several other versions already.

Theatrical Trailer - Still one of the best trailers I have seen.

Original Script - If you put this DVD into your computer you will get access to the original script (if you have a DVD-ROM Drive... but I'm sure you do).

This release also includes a still gallery.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Night is presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. There is an error on the back of the box claiming it is widescreen but itís just that, an error. To many, the 'Elite' red case edition on DVD (and Laserdisc) has the best picture quality... well, I am here to tell you we have a new champ. I compared both versions and found this release to be just a little bit sharper and cleaner. Now, the changes are not Night and Day (see what I did there?), but there are definite improvements with this release. My rating reflects what I feel is this version compared to all the other ones available for purchase. Obviously the movie is black and white and forty years old so itís not going to look like a brand new movie.

Dimensionís release also includes the original 2.0 mono audio track. Once again, there is an error on the back of the box which claims Dolby Digital 5.1... but itís just that, another error. This version sounds exactly like all the other ones. Nothing different as far as I can tell. I really think this is the best Night is ever going to sound.



.::OVERALL::.

If you're looking to replace you're old versions of Night... hold off. While this version sports a new transfer, itís missing many of the features from past editions. The red case 'Elite' version still appears to best in terms of special features. The picture quality is a slight upgrade over the 'Elite', but itís not perfect. If you don't own any of the fifty other versions of Night, get this one. Itís going to be to the version until Genius releases their rumored Blu-ray version. Once again, my ratings are comparing this release to all the other releases available. Some may disagree, but we are talking about a forty year old movie that was not meant to look that great in the first place.