Written by Puño Estupendo
Night Of The Living Dead is a film I go back with. I don't go back 40 years with it, but it's been one of my faves for most of my life. I've owned it on videotape, laserdisc, and DVD. I've seen it at midnight showings on Halloween and sat in audiences where George Romero talked about it at length, and I've loved it all. For the most part I'm going to assume that if you have interest in this movie that you've already seen it, possibly multiple times, and am not going to go into a summary of the film. It's Night Of The Living Dead; do you really need me to tell you what it is? Didn't think so.
What this 40th Anniversary DVD brings to the table is the disc itself. There's a very nice transfer of the film. It's crisp as hell and the Dolby 5.1 sound is a great addition to the viewing. You can crank the volume up a little bit and the effect works very well for the scares. I enjoyed this version and it's worth buying just to have your "definitive" version to watch with friends.
The supplemental features consist of a documentary that can be watched segmentally or all together: two audio commentaries, trailers, and stills. The documentary is hit and miss. I watched it as a whole and found it kind of stilted and boring. The surviving players of the film are all given talk time, separately and in pairs. The clips with Dead's director George Romero are the unsurprising highlights, but I found that Russ Streiner had some nice insight to add as well. The segments range from being interesting to kind of sad in the sense that some of the cast/crew didn't really do anything else in the medium afterwards and come off as the old guy dreaming back on his high school football days. In all fairness though, that's a great thing to have to reminisce about and I don't mean to insult. If anything, especially when the copyright issue is addressed, you just feel like they deserve more. They changed cinema with that film and they just deserved better. For those of you that don't know, there was a copyright snafu that happened when the film was released, and it has been in the public domain from day one. It's all explained on the disc.
The commentary tracks aren't new, but if you haven't already heard them, they're definitely worth listening to. One track has more or less the production people on it, the other has the cast. Both are good commentaries and nice to have when combined with the documentary. Basically what I'm saying is that if you don't already own this movie, or have an old copy that needs to be updated, this is a perfect disc to pick up.