George A. Romero's '68 classic Night of the Living Dead requires no introduction. It's a motion picture that arugably started the zombie subgenre, kicked off the career of one of the greatest horror directors who ever lived, and still terrifies audiences to this day.
Shot outside of Pittsburgh over 50 years ago, Romero & Co. weren’t setting out to make film history. Really, they just wanted to make a movie, period. Utilizing a meager budget of $114,000, Night of the Living Dead was shot on nights and weekends over the course of months. Looking back on the picture, it's difficult to comprehend how it'd be a risk these days (what with The Walking Dead and a million of its current clones). However, pitting a a gaggle of living stragglers against a horde of personality-free, shambling, decaying zombies was, in fact, unheard of in the late 60s. The fact that the movie featured a black lead (a choice made out of necessity, as Duane Jones was "the best actor they knew") only lead to the movie inadvertantly becoming a legitimate social statement regarding race relations in America, as its final reel concludes in the most shocking, incendiary way possibly. In short, Night of the Living Dead is a goddamn miracle of innovation working against a lack of resources.
Now, Janus Films has restored Romero's lo-fi masterpiece in beautiful 4K, scanned from the original camera negative and supervised by Romero himself. The film is rolling out in New York this weekend, and there's a trailer you can check out here that will give you a taste of how gorgeous this new edition looks. Check it out:
The new transfer plays the Film Forum starting today, Friday the 13th, with Producer Russ Streiner, actor/sound engineer Gary Streiner and screenwriter John Russo all making appearances for Q&As. Then, the movie will roll out nationally across the country, playing art houses everywhere. This is your chance to see a horror milestone the way its never been shown before, just in time for Halloween. It'd be wise not to miss it.