The Original Zombie Movie - Night of the Living Dead
Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970's exposed me to a phenomenon that is probably not unique, but it was formative. Saturday nights the local TV station - KTVU - had a slot called "Creature Features." Not the series, but this was a local host who every week would show two scary movies.
My sister and I were glued to the set, and we watched some truly disturbing movies, but none of them had the same effect on us as "Night of the Living Dead". The transfer to video tape was mediocre, the black and white format (we didn't know that it was a B&W movie, as we had a B&W TV until the mid 70's) was creepy, and the acting was just so B-list perfect.
We didn't realize at the time that this was really the genesis of the zombie apocalypse genre. It must have been in the rotation 2 or 3 times a year, and we always rewatched it.
I hadn't thought of Night of the Living Dead in forever, that is until I read a review of a new transfer to 4K UHD blu-ray. On a lark, I bought a copy, and watched it yesterday.
I am happy to say that the quality of the transfer, and the crispness of the film are top notch. While I probably hadn't see it on TV in probably 45 years, I recall it being much poorer in resolution on the small screen, especially on the low quality B&W set we had.
The gulf of time has reduced the nostalgia somewhat, I now recognize that there is a lot more depth to the movie and the story than the 8 year old me was able to understand. Writer/director George Romero weaves it into an allegory of racism, and then current cultural trends, subtly poking fun at the establishment, while delivering a cult classic film that truly created a genre (there were zombie movies before, but this is the one that I believe began the modern fascination with the living dead.)
I can highly recommend picking up a copy. I do not have a 4K television, but at standard HD resolution, this is a fantastic print. The Criterion Collection team and Janus Films did a superb clean up and transfer.
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