In 1968, George Romero and John Russo brought Night of the Living Dead to the screen. There were many sequels to follow, Romero made Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead. Russo helped bring Return of the Living Dead the same year as Day of the Dead. Both movies are great and different in many ways. But this about the Remakes of the Romero films. I think it would be very difficult the Return of the Living Dead, it is in many ways not re-makable. Think about it, if there were ever a film to call “iconic”, Return of the Living Dead is one of a kind. Not to mention it takes place in the 80s and that is a big part of the charm.
Night of the Living Dead (1990)
Tom Savini was not available to help with the effects for the original film. This time he was tasked to direct. The film sticks close to the original, but it is slightly updated. There were some changes that I think were partially made for the times we were living in. Barbara was made stronger, which was good. She adapted to what was happening around her, rather then being a mess of a person. The ending also changed with Ben, spoiler, becoming a zombie rather than surviving and being shot by some hunters. I thought this worked very well, the ending of the original really bothered me and it showed racism, even if Ben was a strong character.
On thing that really sticks out, is Tony Todd playing Ben and Tom Towles as Mr. Cooper. In the short time they know each other, these two hate each other. The class of actor may have had a hand in that. The zombies looked better and there was more blood.
Back when the film was released, it was panned by critics. Most thought it was like sitting watching original all over again. Here we are 26 years later and I believe this remake was welcome. I love Night of the Living Dead, but the 1990 version gives the original a welcome update. I love Barbara being proactive and flipping the script. Casting Tony Todd was brilliant. The remake was the first I had seen, I never saw Night of the Living Dead, but the remake made me want to see it. I love both, but the 1990s version, as similar as it is, was made at the right time and made the right way. If you avoided it, check it out. You are missing out.
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Dawn of the Dead is the best of the original “Dead” movies. Dawn of the Dead (2004), the remake is the best of the Romero remakes. Not only the best of the remakes, it could be called one of the best Zombie movies made.
While is this technically a remake, it is a film that could stand on its own. The similarities with the original begin and end with the film taking place at a mall. Overall there are not many things that are similar with the 2004 version compared to the 1978 version. Both films could exist within the same timeline if needed.
I do think 28 Days Later may have pushed the zombie film genre to a new level. A lot of people do not like running zombies, but it works in this film and adds a new level of terror to zombies. Try watching the original and then this one, let me know how it goes. Three hours of two of the best zombie movies ever made.
Day of the Dead (2008)
The original was perfect. To me, Day of the Dead could be the best zombie movie made. Each Romero movie takes place in a different point after the outbreak. Day of the Dead took place when it seems like most humans are gone.
This movie is closer to the day of the outbreak. This is one of the lesser remakes of all of horror. I bought it because I am a collector, I watched it and put it on the shelf to rot. There is not much worth watching in this one at all. Terrible effort in making a zombie movie #1 and #2 shameful in putting the title “Day of the Dead” on this movie.
The best overall movie of the series, gets the worst remake? I think it is time to try again. There was another remake in production back in 2014 and it seemed to die. I only hope we could get another shot to make this right in the next few years. The remakes of the first 2 were 14 years apart, so may be by 2022?
So, which Romero remake do you think is the best? Which do you think is the worst…its Day of the Dead. Let me know.