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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Night of the Living Dead [Blu-ray]

 

(Tom Savini, 1990)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: 21st Century Film Corporation

Video: Twilight Time

 

Disc:

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:28:15.540

Disc Size: 24,914,399,692 bytes

Feature Size: 24,559,699,968 bytes

Video Bitrate: 27.48 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October, 2012

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3799 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3799 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2025 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2025 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: DTS Audio English 1509 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• Commentary by director Tom Savini (from 2000?)

Isolated Score Track

Original Trailer (1:05)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Makeup wizard Tom Savini's color remake of George A. Romero's 1968 classic follows the original almost shot-for-shot,... so quality comparisons are somewhat pointless. The film was clearly made for younger viewers who refuse to watch black-and-white films, no matter how good they may be. The result is passable, but the very fact that the original was made 22 years before makes this version seem almost dated in its restraint. By the time of its release, Romero had already geometrically raised the gore quotient with Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985), so Savini's starting back at square one further lessened the impact of this pointless retread. If this version has anything to offer, it is Patricia Tallman's engaging lead performance as a gun-toting independent woman, one of this film's few elements not lifted wholesale from Romero.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

 

The Film:

Now comes "Night of the Living Dead" 1990-style, in "living" color, of course, with Romero contributing the screenplay and co-executive producing. And if ever there was a remake that seems redundant, this is it.

Tom Savini, Romero's long-time makeup expert, makes his directing bow here and there's good news and bad news. Savini has elected to keep the goriest moments — zombies eating human flesh — in the background, just hinting at what goes on. But he's also jazzed things up, and not always for the better. The first scene, for example, a late-afternoon attack by the "living dead" in a graveyard, takes off much more rapidly. While Savini and his editors no doubt felt that would better appeal to the let's-get-moving, rapid-fire, MTV generation, the result is less time for anticipation and for tension to build.

Excerpt from Deseret News located HERE

This surprisingly successful color remake of George Romero's seminal zombie movie, scripted by Romero himself and directed by make-up effects man Savini, uses the audience's familiarity with the original to indulge, frustrate and subvert its expectations. Savini himself has said: 'It's not a remake so much as retelling... There are lots of twists and turns that aren't in the original. And, in a way, it's almost a sequel: sixty minutes into this movie you're getting, in a way, another film.' Yet despite its knowingness, there is genuine horror here, as a party of terrified survivors are trapped in a remote country house by a relentless horde of flesh-eating zombies.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film Guide located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

So the 1990 Night of the Living Dead comes to Blu-ray from Twilight Time.  The film is extremely dark and is prone to some digital noise via the single-layered transfer. It is fairly flat and dull with modest contrast. This Blu-ray is no demo but I have a feeling the original production stock was not premium.  The result is a fairly weak video by modern standards but it is consistent and for entertainment purposes the modest quality is... endearing - adding another layer of nostalgia. There is very little to be impressed with in regards to the image but it didn't detract from my enjoyment.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

The audio is well rendered - we get the choice of a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3799 kbps or a similar lossless 2.0 channel stereo track. The effects shine nicely with some crisp separations in the surround but nothing overwhelming. Paul McCollough's score is different but tends to work and sounds comfortably supportive in uncompressed. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'.

 

Extras :

We get an old commentary track by director Tom Savini - I'm guessing from around 2000 or maybe earlier. It still has merit in describing the production minutia. Twilight Time add their usual Isolated Score option and there is a short original trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Sure its the same trusted zombie story - and it has all the appeal of the original - really it's hard not to like this 1990 version. The 'zombie-horde' concept - springing from the pen of Richard Matheson seems to have no end in film regeneration. Savini does an admirable job taking Romero's original and essentially re-shooting it in color.  The Blu-ray isn't the most sterling and the a/v presentation may actually come in second place to the film. Still, fans will revel in this late night re-classic. 

Gary Tooze

October 18th, 2012

 

About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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