Birth of the Living Dead on DVD

Sunday, 11 May 2014 23:00

Birth of the Living Dead on DVDIn 1967 George A Romero shot a low budget, black and white horror film with some butcher's entrails and a black star. It became a cult classic and spawned the modern zombie genre. This documentary tells the tale of “Night of the Living Dead”, including an extensive interview with Romero himself and observations from a host of movie scholars. In this age of The Walking Dead and “Resident Evil”, the godfather of the zombies will surely outlive us all.

Directed by Rob Kuhns over a span of five years between 2006 and 2011, the documentary introduces us to Romero’s early TV advertising work before embarking on the wonderful and sometimes ghoulish story of how “Night” was made, distributed and what its initial critical reception was like. The production's backdrop is the socio-political climate in the USA in the late 1960s, including the war in Vietnam, civil rights riots and the media's portrayal of them.

Into this crucible came “Night of the Living Dead”, a zombie film like nothing seen before, full of edgy realism and a bleak apocalyptic world where death is seemingly inevitable, either at the hands of the legion of zombies or gung-ho lynch mobs who enjoy the sport of a good head-shot.

Whilst you might think that everything that could be said about Romero and his classic horror movie has already been said, this documentary delivers its material with such gusto and professionalism that even the best known anecdotes entertain. Animated comic book animations that intersperse the live footage capture the look and feel of the film perfectly, whilst the interviews are excellently lit, shot and edited.

Highlights include tales of investors in the film volunteering to be set on fire without protective gear (with instructions to simply roll on the ground when it gets too hot), and also eat real entails supplied by a butcher. One teacher with a film background delights in screening the film for his young (surely underage!) pupils who are then encouraged to discuss rigor mortis and to shuffle around their classroom. Who knew how much educational value could come from such a humble movie?

This production provides a perfect introduction to the film, and is equally great stimulation to dig out your copy of “Night of the Living Dead” to relive the nightmare all over again.

The DVD does not include any bonus features.

“Birth of the Living Dead” (2013) is out now on DVD and VOD, courtesy of Solo Media. The main feature has a running time of 76 minutes approx, carries a ‘15’ certificate and retails for £12.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 28 May 2014 10:46

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