|Category||Horror||Theatrical Trailer(s)||Yes, 1 - 1.37:1, Dolby Digital 2.0 mono|
|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)
|Region||4||Director||John A. Russo
George A. Romero
|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||
|Subtitles||None||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
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.
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.
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 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.
(30th Anniv Ed)
|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)|
|Speakers||Panasonic S-J1500D Front Speakers, Philips PH931SSS Rear Speakers, Philips FB206WC Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Subwoofer|