NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD - 30th Anniversary DVD Special Edition
Published at: Sept. 19, 1999, 8:32 p.m. CST by headgeek
I have had some pretty awful experiences in my life.
As well as quite a few wonderful ones.
The worst, I always thought, would be having to stand
in the room while the authorities pulled the melted
jewelry from my mother’s burnt corpse. That was a
Then there were the two rusty nails that slammed into
my knee to the hilt.
Oh yeah... and not being able to move my legs.
I always thought that nothing I could see in film could
even approach the misery of these personal moments.
But then, I could never in a thousand years imagine
the creative still-birth of the 30th Anniversary
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD DVD.
Now I know what you are thinking, or at least I think
I do. You may be thinking that I have grossly
overstated the level of personal offense with which I
take this DVD, but I swear to you I am having to
control myself sooo much right now from merely
ranting... How can I tell you exactly how they pissed
on this film?
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is one of my first
favorite movies. Every week, for the first 6 years of
my life, I watched NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
projected in 16mm. It was the first film that I had
It scared me away from wanting to ever frequent
cemeteries. And it made me ask my Dad how they
make movies. And he handed me my first Famous
Monsters of Filmland, along with a book on LON
CHANEY... a little thin blue book.
And that is how it began. Also at the time I was
addicted to KING KONG, GORGO and THE
ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD. I was seeing
each of those... constantly alongside LITTLE SHOP
OF HORRORS (Corman version) and REEFER
In fact earlier this day I had watched the Alamo
Drafthouse’s last night of the Cannibal fest where
they screened NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. I
was in a great mood. I’d been saving watching this
30th Anniversary edition till after I saw this screening
at the Drafthouse.
Quint came over to watch it with Father Geek and I...
and my god... the horror.
I feel as though I have just watched a personal family
member gang-raped by a pack of super sodomites.
If you love NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD don’t
even pick up the box that encases this dung heap.
First off, John Russo should be buried alive and fed
through an IV and given adequate oxygen for the next
30 years. He has butchered, defaced and ruined one
of the greatest horror films of all time. From his
additions (as well as subtractions) to NIGHT OF
THE LIVING DEAD, I can say with the utmost
confidence that talent does not in any way reside
within this shell of a so-called writer.
He has created something that at it’s best moments
perhaps achieves the utter stupidity of ‘GREEDO
FIRED FIRST’, but mostly resides with floating turds
in a city sewer system.
There is not one instance in the entirety of the DVD
that even begins to be good. And I’m even talking
about the original footage. They have ruined every
single second of the film through laughably awful
sound effects and mixing, through a HORRENDOUS
new bit of noise shat out by talentless hack, Scott
Vladimir Ligina. They have erased all grain from the
film, making it stark and crisp and in focus where it
was once gloriously creepy and atmospheric.
Sigh... Perhaps I should just begin... at the beginning.
Gone are the opening shots of the film. Instead we
begin upon the Chevy truck, that we later see Ben
driving. But for now, it is driven by two redneck
types hauling the body of the ‘cemetery ghoul’ in a
coffin in the back of their truck. Terrible dialogue
about how he was a child murderer has been created
as if to give some sort of backstory to the first zombie
we ever see.
This is HORRIBLE. REALLY REALLY
HORRIBLE. The dialogue and acting between the
two corpse handlers is terribly written and delivered
with all the subtlety and nuance of a kindergarten play
about butterflies and toast.
When we finally arrive at the cemetery we get a look
at this abominable tone deaf synthesizer addicted
skinhead, Scott Vladimir Licina. Not only did he piss
on the entire film with the single most offensive score
I have ever listened to in my life, he and his gigantic
teeth, have decided to bookend this film with an
overbearing and painfully awful portrayal of a
They have the cemetery zombie attack the two drivers
and then we cut straight to Barbara and Johnny
parked at the cemetery. All the foreboding shots of
the drive... gone. Now, new thunder sounds pounding
the entire scene. Drowning out their dialogue. This
is... awful. I really have never known the meaning of
that word till I witnessed this atrocity.
Let’s cut forward a bit.
Remember where Ben and Barbara have first gone
into the house together? When he tells her to go turn
on all the lights, and then he begins searching for
nails and hammer and wood? Well... we see him find
the toolboxes. We no longer see him put the
screwdriver in his back pocket, gone is the search for
wood... he no longer looks under the sink, the initial
nailing of wood is gone.... Oh yeah... as a matter of
fact... When Barbara leaves the room here, it instantly
cuts straight to her at the music box. All of the
in-between and dialogue has been cut.
Remember Ben relating to Barbara what happened to
him? Remember him talking about a tanker truck...
describing that? GONE. Remember Barbara telling
the story of Johnny and her? Well, they got to the
cemetery... but all of her fantastic hysterical fits...
Gone. So much character development. Gone gone
gone. Remember the scene between Harry and Helen
in the basement where Harry talks about the Radio up
stairs and Helen begins screaming at him about that.
About how they don’t like one another.
Well now... Harry goes down in the basement. Does
his initial bit about , “We’ll see who’s right. We’ll
see when they come pleading for me to let them in”
And then... cut to our all around swell guy, Tom
pleading with Harry to come on back up... a mere
minute and a half after he’s entered the cellar... there
by making it seem as if... Tom instantly had a change
of heart. Gone is the development between Harry and
Helen about their marriage problems, the issues with
Harry’s superiority complex.
If fact... throughout the entire film all of this basic
fundamentally important to the story work is GONE,
to be replaced with Reverend Wide Teeth and his
bunch of morons.
Also... all the radio broadcasts are now different. It
no longer feels like a radio broadcast from the period,
but now feels like someone trying to impersonate a
radio broadcast. Gone is most of the Venus probe
stuff. Gone is the information about the Rescue
Centers. Gone Gone Gone.
They hacked the hell out of this film. Remember the
naked zombie? GONE!
Instead we have additional stumblers. No useful or
even intriguing zombie additions.
You remember how the film ends?
Well, Ben still does what Ben does, but the instant
still photography stuff is gone. Now. Oh boy... Now
we get this insanely stupid...
“ONE YEAR LATER” bullshit where Reverend Big
Teeth begins ranting about how GOD has saved him
from the plague sweeping the nation like St Michael
before him, and yada yada yada. See Reverend Big
Teeth gets bit on the cheek by Cemetery Ghoul... and
now it seems as if the whole film is a religious
sermon about God.
What bollocks! This wankerous piece of shite should
be burned like the dead.
All extras on this piece of shit DVD are created
Extras. Annoying newly created trailer. Awful
DANCE OF THE DEAD music video. Interviews
and documentary footage with a bunch of nimrods
and idiots that took a shit on this great film.
The sound effects alone should be enough to sentence
them all to jail. Combine that with the utter contempt
with which they treat the original film.
IMAGINE: if in addition to the little things George
Lucas did to Star Wars, he cut out the scenes between
Luke and Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. Imagine if
half the dialogue between Luke and OB1 was
removed. If a third of all dialogue between R2 and
3PO was removed. If all new sound effects were
brought in. If additional music written by
Christopher Young was added (In a Different Style).
If Light Sabers sounded DIFFERENT. If Darth
Vader’s heavy breathing was done by an asthmatic
with a microphone. THEN they added in scenes with
a new character called Voltent and Wodstar, and they
were on another planet all together where everything
was fine. Then they added additional Stormtroopers
running around halls and bumping into one another.
GOD, this is the most repellent evil thing ever
created. George Romero should be allowed to sue
and win the master negative for this shit heap and
then set it ablaze. It is an abomination to the eyes of
It ruins not only NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD,
but fucks up the entire arc of the trilogy.
THIS IS THE WORST FILM I HAVE EVER SEEN
IN MY LIFE!
Beware. If you have to see it.... DON’T! It will hurt
you. You’ll froth at the mouth and you are likely to
break something. If you tried to ruin a film. Set out
to destroy it. You could not do a worse job. I
promise you that. This is unbearable and
I tried to leave 4 times during the showing, and Dad
wouldn’t let me. Said it wouldn’t be fair for me to rip
it apart if I didn’t watch the whole thing.
I did. I not only want my money back, but I want
compensatory damages to my psyche by this... this sin
to man. I HATE EVERYONE THAT IS
RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS THING!
I am not kidding. I’m not ‘being funny’. I’m deadly
serious. NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD is one of
my favorite all time films. When you read the review
of watching the old scratched to hell print that was
screened in 16 mm at the Alamo Drafthouse... you’ll
see my love for this film. But this is not that movie.
Not for one single second. This is another, bizarro
world adaptation made by a bunch of evil frat rats
that wanted to be in a classic movie and somehow got
the chance to live their fucked up dream then spit it
into our stores for us... Lovers of the film to be soiled
Never in my life have I been more angry. Nothing
that Joe Farrell or Jack Valenti or any studio head or
any human on the planet in history has done anything
that has angered me more. SURE... My priorities are
pretty much OUT OF WHACK. I should probably be
far more upset about that sicko up in Ft Worth that
killed those people.
BUT I don’t know those people. I know NIGHT OF
THE LIVING DEAD. I love this film. It’s one of the
first films that made me love filmgoing and film
fandom. And these perverted fucking assholes have
fucked that, and I goddamn bought the piece of shit,
and I’m broke right now and I’M PISSED CAUSE I
WOULD RATHER BUY AN EXTRA 100
PACKETS OF TOILET PAPER AND TAMPONS
FOR MY SISTER. I would rather own those things...
hell.... even keep em once they are soiled, than own
this piece of shit. It is festering in my house and
getting me into a fit of anger just knowing I’m sharing
the same house as it. In fact, I am going to tell Dad to
go put it in the Brown Van. A vehicle that is
DEAD... Worthless..... The place where worthless
shite should be stored. THIS IS ABOMINABLE!
Beware. I will ban anyone that likes this piece of shit
from my talkback. WHY? Simply because If you
like this piece of shit abortion of a product, I could
really give a shit if you ever read my site. No nice
words will be spoken about John Russo or that
Reverend Big Teeth in any place that I have created.
Those intellectually deprived, artistically bankrupt
hacks should be shunned from society. ANY
magazine that has promoted this festering pussbucket
of a product should be BURNED! It is terrible in the
ways that ... I don’t know what way. Cause I’ve
never experienced anything that sucked this hard.
Do not order it. Don’t buy it for a dollar... 50 cents
or even a penny. That shiny coppery Lincoln will be
worth more someday than this.