Night Of The Living Dead

30th Anniversary Edition

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Details At A Glance

Category Horror Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - 1.37:1, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Rating r.gif (1169 bytes) Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1968/1998 Commentary Tracks Yes, 1 - John A. Russo (Writer/Director), Bill Hinzman (Executive Producer/Director of Photography/Actor) Russ Streiner (Producer/Actor) Bob Michelucci (Art Director/Associate Producer)
Running Time 92:25 Minutes
(Not 96 Minutes as per packaging)
Other Extras Main Menu Audio & Animation
Music Video - SEK: The Living Dead Beats (1.78:1, 16x9, Dolby Digital 5.1)
Featurette - Behind The Scenes (9:15)
Featurette - Original 1968 Cut (95:52)
Photo Gallery
RSDL/Flipper Dual Layer
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 4 Director John A. Russo
George A. Romero

Force Video
Starring Duane Jones
Judith O'Dea
Karl Hindman
Case Transparent Amaray
RRP $32.95 Music Scott Vladimir Licina

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None Dolby Digital 2.0
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 224 Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 224 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.37:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    After viewing Night Of The Living Dead, I am more inclined to ask what George A. Romero is, much less who he is. This is essentially the great classic that started the zombie horror genre, a style that has endured to this day in spite of some notably poor entries in the genre. Indeed, the number of times this film has been spoofed or paid tribute to is a good testimony to the film's indelible mark upon cinematic history, with even one of the sendups getting a sendup. Yet, for such an influential film, the story is exceedingly simple. The film begins with prison workers loading an executed murderer onto the back of a truck and taking him to be buried in a nearby cemetery. When the funeral is over with, however, the dead man opens his eyes and chases away the prison workers, who are also doubling as grave-diggers, before wandering around the cemetery. Meanwhile, Johnny (Russell Streiner) and his sister Barbra (Judith O'Dea) arrive at the same cemetery to put flowers on their father's grave, where they encounter the aforementioned original zombie (S. William Hinzman). This zombie manages to kill Johnny before Barbra flees to an abandoned house, where she encounters Ben (Duane Jones). From there on in, it's a long night as Ben, Barbra, and the other occupants of the house deal with the zombies as best they can.

    Night Of The Living Dead: 30th Anniversary Edition adds a number of recently-filmed scenes to the original. As one might have noticed, George Romero had nothing to do with the new scenes and the new cut that was directed by co-writer John A. Russo has suffered from heavy condemnation by fans of the film. Having seen both cuts of the film, I have to side with the detractors, because the continuity of the new edition leaves a lot to be desired, and the fact that scenes were cut from the original release to accommodate the new footage doesn't help. The aforementioned prologue is a good example of this: S. William Hinzman stands as a prominent example of the fact that his first appearance in the new edition of the film and his first appearance in the original cut were filmed thirty years apart. You could be forgiven for thinking that you were looking at two different actors, the man has aged that much. The scenes with Scott Vladimir Licina as a priest also hurt this film much more than they help it, with the subtle religious implications in the original cut being transformed into something that bashes the audience around the head with them. Thankfully, the original 1968 cut of the film is included as a separate feature, and I suspect that it will be watched more often than the 1998 remake.

    If you're seeking a definitive presentation of a horror classic, then this disc is worth having due to the inclusion of the original theatrical release. However, if you're expecting the seamless integration of restored or new footage with an ageing classic, as was the case with the new editions of the Star Wars trilogy, then the 30th Anniversary version certainly does not deliver the goods. The inclusion of the original theatrical cut of the film was a rare stroke of good sense.

Transfer Quality


    This transfer is actually of surprisingly good quality, although it isn't without the occasional problem. The transfer is presented Full Frame, and it is obviously not 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is very sharp, although not so much so that picture details will leap off your screen at you. However, for a thirty-year-old film that was shot in monochrome, this transfer is quite striking in its clarity. The shadow detail is rather ordinary, but this is more a problem with the way in which the film was shot than any fault of the transfer. There was no low-level noise in the abundant black areas in the overall picture, leading me to believe that the cover's claims of digital remastering are actually true.

    The colour saturation was even and rich enough for the components of each shot to be discernible from one another, although some scenes are little more than varying shades of dark grey.

    MPEG artefacts were not present in the transfer. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some occasional aliasing on car grilles, but this artefact is quite rare due to the lack of opportunities. Film artefacts consisted of some occasional marks on the negative and one or two instances of what appears to be large pieces missing from parts of the negative. Overall, it is hard to believe that this film has ever looked this good, especially in light of some of the things said during the commentary.

    This disc is dual-layered, but it appears that each version of the film has been mastered onto a layer of its own. There certainly isn't any layer change pause to worry about.


    There are two soundtracks on this disc, both of which are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono: the original English soundtrack, and a commentary by several members of the cast and crew.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times, although the level of the dialogue in the overall soundtrack varies somewhat during some sequences. Audio sync is not a problem during the original 1968 footage, but the new footage seemed to be slightly out of sync for one reason or another.

    The original score music was comprised of canned music from other sources due to the fact that the makers could not afford to pay someone to write a score for the film. They addressed this in both versions of the film on this disc by commissioning a score from Scott Vladimir Licina. I would have vastly preferred to hear the original music, such as it is, because the soundtrack has suffered for having the original music removed and the new music inserted. When the music is present, some fidelity seems to have been lost from the other sound effects. Whether this is merely my imagination or a real problem with the soundtrack, I will leave to the viewer, but it is of some concern.

    Being that this is a mono mix, there was no surround presence to speak of, which makes the 5.1 logo on the back of the cover somewhat misleading. Granted, there is an extra on this disc that is encoded with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, but the film most certainly isn't. The subwoofer was also silent during the film, which was a real pity considering how much the soundtrack could have used the extra punch.



    The main menu contains some animation, and all menus are accompanied by some audio. The menus are not 16x9 enhanced.

Commentary - John A. Russo (Writer/Director), Bill Hinzman (Executive Producer/Director of Photography/Actor) Russ Streiner (Producer/Actor) Bob Michelucci (Art Director/Associate Producer)

    Given the lack of input from the real creative talent behind this film, George A. Romero, this commentary is a little flat. The constant statements about how the new footage was integrated so well with the old footage don't help matters much, although much of the remaining commentary is actually quite interesting. The comments about how the film was treated by the original distributor are especially revealing.

Featurette - Original 1968 Theatrical Cut (95:52)

    This is the real reason why one should buy this disc, as the original version of this film is far superior. This digitally remastered version of the film is much the same as the 1998 version, except that there occasionally appears to be some motion blur. Sadly, this version does not escape the crappy new musical score that was applied to the 1998 remake.

Featurette - Behind The Scenes (9:15)

    This is presented Full Frame, with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, and without 16x9 enhancement. The sound is frequently marred by low-frequency hum.

Music Video - SEK: The Living Dead Beats (3:29)

    This is a lame excuse for a song, with a boring, stock standard techno beat using samples from the film. It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, with 16x9 enhancement and a choice between Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.

Photo Gallery (4:10)

    Selecting the option labelled "Movie Picks" plays back this featurette-style photo gallery, which displays a series of unannotated stills from the production of the new footage. It is accompanied by Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, which makes the gallery much easier to sit through.

R4 vs R1

    There are several versions of this disc available in Region 1. The version of choice would appear to be the Elite Entertainment version which is simply a remastered version of the original Night Of The Living Dead, and includes two audio commentaries, including one from George A. Romero himself.


    Night Of The Living Dead is a classic, and it is easy to see why it has spawned countless imitations. The 30th anniversary re-edit, on the other hand, is a travesty, and this disc only saves itself by including the original theatrical cut as a separate featurette.

    The video quality is surprisingly good.

    The audio quality is okay, but the manner in which the new score music was inserted leaves something to be desired.

    The extras are very good, considering that an alternate version of the film is among them.

Ratings (out of 5)

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Plot sr.gif (100 bytes)sr.gif (100 bytes) (30th Anniv Ed)
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© Dean McIntosh (my bio sucks... read it anyway)
August 24, 2000 
Review Equipment
DVD Grundig GDV 100 D, using composite output; Toshiba SD-2109, using S-video output
Display Panasonic TC-29R20 (68 cm), 4:3 mode, using composite input; Samsung CS-823AMF (80 cm), 16:9 mode/4:3 mode, using composite and S-video inputs
Audio Decoder Built In (Amplifier)
Amplification Sony STR-DE835
Speakers Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Philips PH931SSS Rear Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer