Night of the Living Dead is a zombie horror film released in 1990. It is a remake of George A. Romero's 1968 classic, Night of the Living Dead, and was directed by horror make-up legend Tom Savini. Romero himself rewrote the original film's 1968 screenplay that he had co-authored with John A. Russo. Although the initial reaction to the film was wholly negative, it's reputation has changed over the years and the movie is now accepted a minor gem of nineties zombie horror. Acclaimed horror film critic Alan Jones, for example, has previously said "...with great zombie effects and gripping suspense, this is one remake that's better than anyone had a right to expect."
This remake remained fairly faithful to the 1968 classic and Savini did not make any drastic changes to the plot (unlike Zack Snyder, who completely changed the concept of the slow-moving zombie plague in the 2004 Dawn Of The Dead remake). Beginning with a cemetery scene that replicates the original film's opening, we learn that the recently dead have started rising from their graves in search of human meat. Leading lady Barbara (Patricia Tallman) runs away from a zombie who attempts to attack her and she finds refuge in a seemingly deserted farmhouse. Soon other people arrive and, together, the group try to survive the night and fend off the ever-increasing hordes of the slavering living-dead.
|Tom Towles||Harry Cooper|
|McKee Anderson||Helen Cooper|
|William Butler||Tom Landry|
|Katie Finneran||Judy Rose Larson|
|Walter Berry||Mr. McGruder|
Chronological death list
This list is written in the order of which character died first.
- Johnnie: Barbara's brother. While struggling with a zombie in the cemetery, he fell, cracking his head against a gravestone . Later that night, after returning as a zombie, he found his way to the farmhouse and was shot in the head.
- Tom Landry & Judy Rose Larson: Tom shot the lock off the farmhouse's gas pump, spraying gasoline over the flaming torch that lay in the bed of the truck that Judy Rose was driving. The truck catches fire and explodes, incinerating both of them. Later, when Barbara made her escape, she saw the undead feasting upon their burnt remains.
- Sarah Cooper: When we first see Sarah, she has already been bitten by one of the zombies and was lying comatose in the basement. Later, she reanimated, bit her mother, and was then shot in the head by Barbara.
- Helen Cooper: Helen was bitten by Sarah and killed. When Ben entered the basement, he shot her in the head.
- Ben: Ben was shot by Harry Cooper but locked himself in the basement. The next morning, after Barbara had fled the house and found the rednecks, she returned to the house to find that Ben had bled to death, becoming a zombie. The rednecks used a machine gun to shoot him in the head.
- Harry Cooper: Sarah's father and Helen's husband. After sparking most of the arguments in the house, he hid in the attic after his wife and daughter died -- but not before shooting at Ben and Barbara). When Barbara returned to the house in the morning, she found Harry wounded, but still alive. Barbara shot him in the head in retribution for his actions.
- It is Barbara's champagne bottle that her brother trips over before hitting his head on the gravestone.
- A plaque outside the front door of the farmhouse reads "M. Celeste." Director Tom Savini stated on the DVD's commentary that this is a reference to the Mary Celeste. Further details include scenes of still smoldering cigars in ashtrays and food still cooking on the stoves, but the residents missing.
- In the original Night of the Living Dead, the Cooper's daughter was named Karen.
- Additionally, the character of "Johnny" is renamed "Johnnie" in this version
- Roughly 13 minutes into the film, when Ben is fighting with the zombie, a reflection of the camera man can be seen in the window of the door.
- Romero did the radio voiceover that Ben is listening to towards the film's end.
- To avoid an X rating, Savini had to cut several scenes from the film, some of which can be seen on the DVD. Savini sometimes shows the entirety of the cut scenes at conventions.
- Laurence Fishburne, Ving Rhames and Eriq La Salle were all considered for the role of Ben. Subsequently, Rhames would go on to play the male lead in the remakes of Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead.
- Tom wears an "Iron City Beer" shirt, the same brand that can be seen in the original Dawn of the Dead.
- Original cast members Bill Cardille and Russ Streiner make cameo appearances.
- Romero served as producer for the remake, with the primary reason being that he could help gain some control of the rights to the original film, which had fallen into the public domain.
- Family members of the zombie McGruder (Walter Berry) also appeared as zombies in the film including his brother (Philip Berry) and father (Charles Berry).