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Night of the Living Dead

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Tom Savini
Tony Todd
Patricia Tallman
Tom Towles
McKee Anderson
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 Where the hell is it? I know it's here somewhere. Perhaps it's fallen down the back of the sofa? What have I lost? The gore. Or even any form of bloodshed whatsoever.
Just what is the point of this film?! There was only one legitimate reason to remake it (as well as regaining some hold back over the NOTLD film title) and that was to show us some damn cool zombies, better effects and increased violence levels. Well, we do get some cool looking zombies BUT:
A. There is no gore. At all. What a piss-taking skank. And the film is directed by Tom Savini!
B. The zombies walk even funnier than Bill "me, me, me" Hinzman. They all jerk around in an annoying manner. Sorry, whilst this might well have seemed more "realistic" at the time it's nowhere near as frightening as the undead in the original. I don't want body-popping zombies.
Tom "Pup" Savini was under pressure from the US equivalent of the BBFC (MPAA?) so he didn't include the gore. Hang on, this guys been to Vietnam, he's personally provided some of the greatest and most violent effects ever seen, and he backed down. Bad idea Tom, 'cause this film of yours really needs it! Ironically, he notes on The Prowler's DVD commentary that no-one makes violent films like that one anymore.
You've got to feel really bad for Tony Todd. He delivers an incredible performance as Ben and betters that of the original actor. As for everyone else, oh dear. That bloke with the big ears from "Henry, Portrait Of A Serial Killer" is here and he soon becomes annoying, shouting "Yo-yo's!" all the time in a very over-the-top manner. As for Patricia Tallman, well, now I know why she's also a stunt-lady. The rest perform just as badly at the best of times.
This remake's script is penned by Romero himself who plays around with a few twists at the end, updates the dialogue and adds brand new stuff to try and surprise the viewer. And he takes care to keep the amazing trowel attack scene only in his original classic. And it's Romero that chose Savini as the director. He probably thought that Savini would fight for the gore considering his violent make-up effects background. Wouldn't you also have?
BTW It has to be said that this film was a huge influence on the Capcom Resident Evil franchise. When the lead actress toughens up and goes outside to shoot some of the hungry buggers, she is Jill Valentine. Look at the picture of Jill from the first game and compare that rendition to this film character here. They are one and the same.
The most gutting part of the disc is the otherwise enjoyable 25 minute featurette where we get to see just some of the gore footage that wasn't and should have been included. You might as well show a child a cool toy just before you take it back to the shop for a refund. These bits show a lot of print damage but I (and every other Romero fan in the world) would still have preferred to watch the film with their inclusion.
Savini shot two versions of the zombies being shot (one with squib, one without) or just cuts the camera away instead of letting us watch the action. Best deleted gore scene here shows a zombie's head rapidly disintegrate with a splash when a shotgun is fired at very close range. The film needed these parts and if I was Vulich, the make-up effects artist, I'd be really pissed with Savini.
Savini says on the featurette that he came to like this tamer version more than the violent one he could have assembled 'cause it made it closer in the tone to the original which also didn't feature much gore. Tsk. Trust me Tom, your film ain't as good. You needed the violence big time, and after watching your effects on both Dawn and Day Of The Dead, it's a real let-down. You might prefer it like this but no-one else does.
It was a fair bet that this film would blow really. As soon as you see the name "Menahem Golan" appear on the screen, you know it's all over.
This disc also contains a commentary by an affable Tom Savini, a trailer and the usual tedious extra, filmographies. The picture quality is decent enough but it gets one of those half-assed "surround" tracks rather than the 5.1 you would have liked.

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