Remake of George A. Romero’s 1968 film, this time in color with a modern twist or two. Makeup man Tom Savini takes the director’s seat this time, with Romero writing the screenplay. It keeps the same basic plot and characters: a band of humans with higher than average survival skills board themselves up in a farmhouse (unfortunately right next to the cemetery) and fight off zombies.
There are very few innovations in the movie. It was made in 1990, so the shock value of a Black man telling a white man who’s boss and a small child killing her mother with a trowel is lessened quite a bit. It’s not gorier; there’s also less nudity than the original (but more swearing). The special effects aren’t better. Even the lines “They’re coming to get you, Barbara” and “They’re dead, they’re…all messed up” are retained. (A new bit of dialogue that never ceases to amuse yet annoy me is uttered by Ben (Tony Todd), trying to keep the zombies out: “Die…damn it.”)
Some of the deaths are reworked and changed, but mostly the only thing that changes is Barbara (Patricia Tallman). Far from being catatonic and helpless, as in the original, she becomes an ass-kicking machine, Madame Rambo of the zombie brigade. *Spoiler alert* she actually lives to the end of the movie. Even if you dislike remakes, it’s in competent hands, and Barbara’s transformation alone is well worth the watch.