I've born witness to the first sign of the coming of the apocalypse.

Also known as:

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD: The 30th Anniversary edition.

Want to contribute to the 'filmmakers' responsible? The above link is to items on eBay from the Russo/Michelucci camp. Buy autographs from the 'new' stars of the movie.

Said edition with 15 minutes of 'new' footage, and 15 minutes of original footage excised.

Said edition with an all-new, original casio-keyboard score by Scott Vladimir Licina.

If you ask yourself, as the video liner notes request, "What do a couple of country bumpkin grave-diggers, an electrocuted child-murderer, a beautiful, but scared, young female newscaster, and a fanatical, ghoul-bitten preacher have in common?," I think it's reasonable to respond, "Nothing - where a classic horror film is concerned," and leave it at that.

But leaving it at that is a trait filmmaker John Russo is not capable of.

John Russo, who along with several other financially motivated original investors (George Romero noticeably, and thankfully, absent), decided it was high time to give the audience what they want: a NEW NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Unfortunately, John must have slept through 1990, which at the very least delivered an entertaining (and under-appreciated) remake.

Without spoiling everything (as I think everyone deserves to suffer through this sick farce on their own), let me say this. GEORGE ROMERO'S NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD will always be a classic. It was never in need of trimming for pacing. It was never in need of an 'original score they so desperately wanted' to replace its library score - a score which has since become synonymous with the film, and not the old CBS library from which it originated. And last but not least, it was never in need of new footage which serves only to setup what is surely to be John Russo's next project, his next attempt at a NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD sequel, CHILDREN OF THE DEAD. That, and to showcase his and associate producer's families in the film (not to mention contemporary 'scream queen' Debbie Rochon and who's that - yes, none other than keyboard whiz Scott Vladimir Licina).

Bill (Cemetery Ghoul) Hinzman tried this once already with his own direct-to-video disaster FLESHEATER. Now that film has earned the distinction of being better than another film.

Shame on Anchor Bay and Joseph Wolf for financing this desecration of a classic.

Shame on the original investors who were involved, for doing it for the money.

And shame on John Russo. Leaving a legacy of one classic film is more than many filmmakers could hope for. He's managed to finally strip himself of that honor. He's shown us what he would have done had the original truly been the film he had wanted to make. Let this 'film' be known from this day forward as JOHN RUSSO'S NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.

The saddest reality is that in todays world all films have an extended shelf life. An entire generation of movie viewers will inadvertantly stumble across this film, and never get to see nor appreciate the impact of the real NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.

John Scoleri
Santa Clara, CA
August 27th, 1999

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