Saturday, February 17, 2018

What I'm Watching: Night of the Living Dead Again

It was October 2016 when I last viewed this film, and at the same time learned that a 4k restoration had been made. After over a year of waiting, it is finally available for home viewing. Although I had the new Criterion Blu-ray version in my hot little hands on it's February 13th release date, I've waited until Saturday night to enjoy this long awaited print, to honor tradition. I expect it may feel like I'm seeing Night of the Living Dead for the very first time, even though I've seen it a hundred times before. Though I blogged as I watched last time, this time I'm putting the laptop away to give the movie my full attention. I'll be back after the flick with my impressions.

Wow! I didn't think it was possible that this film could be even more terrifying, or that I could enjoy it even more. All other copies of this film should be destroyed! Maybe that's excessive, but this is the version to watch if you truly want to see this movie. It's a whole new picture. The screenshots don't really do it justice. It is simply amazing!

1997 Elite Entertainment

4k restoration

Having the visual elements so sharply defined lends a realism to the film that makes the viewer feel even more like an unwilling participant in the action. We can see clearly see what appears to be gore stuck in between Bill Hinzman's teeth.

1997 Elite Entertainment

4k restoration

The level of detail that can now be plainly seen in the house and exterior scenes makes it all the more ominous and chilling.

But it's the improved audio that really makes this a standout release. It is so crisp and clear that you can hear every disturbing slurp and groan from the famished ghouls. There are newly discovered notes to the music that make the film even more menacing. 

It's odd that it's been this particular viewing that has really had me question why these folks are continuing to barricade the door when it's obvious that the ghouls have breached their defenses. Were they so reluctant to admit that Mr. Cooper may have been right about the cellar being a safe place that they froze when confronted with the necessary course of action to survive?

The Criterion Collection Blu-Ray version is a must have for any film aficionado's collection. It is a thing of beauty and a fitting tribute to George Romero. While it may seem surprising that Criterion has added this film to their collection, it really shouldn't be. After all, they released two versions of Carnival of Souls. I hope the success of this release will inspire Criterion to follow up with Dawn of the Dead. Check out John's thorough review of this release at bare•bones e-zine.

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