Double Feature: Night of the Living Dead (1968) & Night of the Living Dead (1990)

Its’s October!! And that means its time for the kick-off of the annual Halloween Marathon. This year is going to continuing on with the normal format of double features, released (hopefully) every other day. The focus in the the Living Dead franchise as well as finishing off the Insidious franchise which I had reviewed the first movie a few years ago.

Time for the first post of the marathon and of course, what other way to do it than to do a Night of the Living Dead original and remake double feature!

Let’s check it out!

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Director (and co-writer): George A. Romero

Cast: Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne, Judith Ridley, Kyra Schon

A ragtag group of Pennsylvanians barricade themselves in an old farmhouse to remain safe from a bloodthirsty, flesh-eating breed of monsters who are ravaging the East Coast of the United States. – IMDB

George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead is a movie that is a blindspot on my list. Everyone likes to refer to it when talking about classic zombie movies so it was time to give this one a go. 1960s film so its essentially a black and white film. Black and white does do horror quite a good favor as it boosts a bit of the creepiness which is the main focus of what Night of the Living Dead portrays in its story with its slow-moving zombies. The movie is a rather revolutionary film as Romero casts a black actor as his main male lead that delivers quite the performance. At the same time, some of the characters especially the female character is kind of useless who remains in still shock or screaming panic. At the same time, the the “damsel in distress” does add a little to the tension since she essentially can’t help with the situation much and probably creates more problems than solutions.

Romero’s zombies are slow and attracted by the sense of human flesh about. At this point, these people who end up at this house together don’t know what is going on except that the dead aren’t staying dead (I think one of the posters uses that tagline). Of course, at this day and age, what zombies have we not seen and perhaps because of how the zombies themselves have gotten so much better with technology its easier to nitpick on how not scary they all are. Its unfair to compare it to current technology but my point is that watching it as a first watch now is a little harder to appreciate it for all its glory when it was released in the 1960s.

However, Night of the Living Dead as I think back to this viewing does start to be one that I would revisit. I’m not a huge fan of black and white films, somehow it adds a little something to the horror element naturally perhaps because it plays with the darker tones and hides things in the shadows easier. At the same time, the main character Ben, played by Duane Jones is pretty good and resourceful. As the group splits up because of their own need to survive by what they believe is best for the situation, the story does turn up. I’m not a huge fan of this type of ending but its definitely a shocking and unexpected one. Credit where its due.

Night of the Living Dead (1990)

Night of the Living Dead 1990

Director: Tom Savini

Cast: Tony Todd, Patricia Tallman, Tom Towles, McKee Anderson, William Butler, Katie Finneran, Bill Moseley, Heather Mazur, David W. Butler

The unburied dead return to life and seek human victims. – IMDB

Night of the Living Dead remake is exactly what it is. Its definitely one of the most similar-to-the-original remakes that is out there. There isn’t a whole lot of differences other than the female character’s personality and the ending. I can see that the writers probably were on the same wavelengths at the time as they changed the two things that I didn’t enjoy as much from the original. Its a coincidence but then did the changes make the remake better than the original? In reality, the two actually score about the same for myself after having some time to mull over it.

See as the story is the same with very minor details being changed (aside from the ending that I will talk about later), the first point will be to talk about the change in the female character Barbara played by Patricia Tallman who I found much more engaging and fun to watch since she’s a stronger female lead who works together with Ben, played by Tony Todd. While I understand in the 60s, it was normal for women in the original to be damsel in distress, in the 90s its a different story that does work fairly well. With that said, Tony Todd is not just the Candyman and its nice to see him in this role (which I didn’t know about prior to the viewing) since he’s a decent actor and takes on the role pretty well. I actually did think the role of Harry was better portrayed in this one also. There are some bigger scenes with bigger moments as the characters try to survive.

If we take a look at the second significant change and that being the ending, the original might be a little more surprising than this one. This one was a tad predictable. While its a more acceptable ending for myself, is it really better than the original? That is really based on preference. In general, the remake is a decent one although there were some parts that had some scenes that were a little meh showing especially its age as well. Plus, perhaps its the fact that this one is in color that the flaws and eeriness of the zombies is less effective than its original. Its hard to not compare the two films seeing as its essentially the same movie but done in a different decade with a better developed cinematography and effects.

Ultimate 70s Blogathon: The Exorcist (1973) by Emma K Wall (Explains It All)

Ultimate 70s Blogathon

Our next participant joining us for the Ultimate 70s Blogathon is Emma from Emma K Wall (Explains It All) with her review of The Exorcist. Before we talk about how iconic The Exorcist is since we have two entries for it already, remember to check out Emma’s amazing blog where she talks about movies, TV, music and books and injects a great personality and style to it all. Its always a fun time over there.

Without further ado, here’s her review of horror classic, The Exorcist.


Thank you to Drew and Kim for hosting such a great blogathon! And what a cool, psychedelic banner you created too (if I may add – see my right-hand column for proof).

The Exorcist (1973) – Film Review

The Exorcist

Though not one of my absolute personal favourites (like top 20 or something), I still believe that The Exorcist is one of the greatest horror films, if not THE greatest horror film ever made. And I realise that’s an incredibly bold statement but it’s hard to imagine anything else ever being as infamous, chilling and powerful. It’s the ultimate battle between good and evil. It has an amazing atmosphere, pairing great writing with genuine terror and is still scary to this day (45 years after its original release – actually that might be the scariest fact of all!). Anyway, twinned with the fact I’d watched it fairly recently it was an easy choice for the Ultimate 70s Blogathon.

I first watched The Exorcist as a teenager (almost a rite of passage) and it did really scare me. But let’s just get this out the way now – of course it won’t ‘scare’ everyone. And of course it won’t scare you if you watch it with your stoner mates and laugh loudly through the crucifix scene. But that doesn’t make it shit, okay? I don’t often get on my high horse with movies (not unless someone starts slagging of Face Off or Zoolander) but it genuinely irritates me when people say “The Exorcist? That’s shit! I thought it was funny”. Er, no mate. It wasn’t the first ever horror film nominated for a Best Picture Oscar for nothing you know (though it didn’t win). Aaaaand exhale.

The Exorcist is an Absolute Classic – plain and simple. I refuse to hear otherwise. Apart from some valid points already mentioned, there are other various reasons it deserves the jagged, bloody crown of horror.

The Exorcist

Based on a novel, it has a super, valid and coherent story. Made in the 70s it has those beautiful on-screen retro effects. You know when they’re all freezing cold in Regan’s room and their breath comes out white? Well the room really was like an ice box. And you know Regan’s horrible gravely ‘possessed’ voice? That really was done by a voice actress – who chain smoked and drank whiskey to get the tone right (you gotta love that relaxed 1970s outlook).

It’s also very well directed and I can only assume William Friedkin pissed off the entire set with his gung-ho attitude. Examples include firing a real gun next to someone’s head to get a ‘real’ reaction and the bit where Regan’s mother (Ellen Burstyn) is attacked by her possessed daughter, well she really WAS in pain – and shouting angrily at Friedkin as she landed on the floor, screaming and clutching her back. It was a genuine reaction – and cheerfully kept in the film. If you care to check out the IMDB trivia page you’ll find lots of similar stories. And then of course there’s the cool mystery, intrigue and real life horror that generally surrounds The Exorcist. Like the myth that there was evil ‘written into the pages’ of the script, making it a cursed movie from the beginning. With deaths on the set and a fire that halted production for a number of weeks, interestingly there was actually a real life exorcism ON SET – that’s how freaked out they all were. And the terror definitely continued with the audience, with reports of people fainting, throwing up and running out of the cinema, one guy apparently actually broke his jaw as he collapsed in shear, dramatic fear.

Aside from all that, it also seems important to point out that The Exorcist is also scary, simply because it’s just that – SCARY. It’s dark, it’s claustrophobic, there’s creepy eyes and demonic voices, evil laughter, dark corners and tension. We’re talking about a cute little girl possessed by a malevolent demon for goodness sake. And though it’s now been done many, many (yawn) times, back in 1973, can you imagine how effing terrifying it was?

                                                                                                                                 The Exorcist

So, what more proof do we need that The Exorcist is a terrifying and brilliant delight? We have a great story, a mental director, superb old effects and a genuine feel of evil. Well, I suppose we could do with a world famous theme tune? Something that everyone now associates with the film? Happily The Exorcist also succeeds this, in the shape of Mike Oldfield’s the Tubular Bells. Not a score written for the movie, but a piece of music used in the movie and now basically as famous as the movie. And in places, just as scary.

Movies From the Hat IV – #1 – Kim’s Pick – How To Steal a Million (1966)

MovieRob is a true movie watching monster in all the best ways! He is quickly approaching his 2500th movie review and to commemorate the amazing and outstanding milestone, he did another Movies From the Hat. MovieRob and I don’t quite have the same tastes in movies especially since the first time around, I recommended a movie that he downright hated and remains one that I love a lot. So far, its not too bad. I figured for 2500th milestone that I’d go with a classic with my fave actress Audrey Hepburn. I’m honestly surprised he hadn’t seen it before. Head over and check out his review of How to Steal a Million! 🙂

If you don’t follow MovieRob, remember to follow him and check out his awesome reviews!

MovieRob

This is my 2460th Review

Thanks to Kim of Tranquil Dreams for this recommendation.

Here are her thoughts on the film.


how to steal a million “Don’t you know that in his lifetime Van Gogh only sold one painting? While I, in loving memory of his tragic genius, have already sold two. ” – Charles

Number of Times Seen – 1 (28 Aug 2016)

Brief Synopsis – A forger and his granddaughter enlist the help of a professional thief to help steal a copy of a priceless piece of art before it is examined which will lead to their undoing.

My Take on it – When Kim recommended this to me, I was quite surprised that I had never heard of this one before because it fits the genre of crime caper/comedy that I have always enjoyed.

The fact that it was directed by William Wyler was the real clincher for me to want…

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