Sunday, January 28, 2018

Movies: Night of the Living Dead 4k restoration

Last weekend I saw the 4k restoration of "Night of the Living Dead," George A. Romero's classic zombie film. The screening was part of the monthly Palm Beach County Grindhouse series, hosted by Morbid Movies at the Movies of Lake Worth (or, as my folks call it, the "Old People's Theater"). It was the last stop in the Janus Films limited release, before the big Criterion Blu-Ray drops in February:

As longtime readers know, I am a more of a "Dawn of the Dead" guy, but I do love "Night" and have seen the film many, many times. Unfortunately, thanks to the famous lapse of the original print into the public domain, most of the streaming versions on the Internet are capital-T Terrible, with picture so washed out and damaged that it can be hard to see what's happening.

In contrast, the 4k restoration I saw was lovingly executed by the Museum of Modern Art and supervised by the original crew (including the late George A. Romero). The picture quality was as clean as my old Elite Entertainment DVD, but much sharper - you could even read the print on bags of food in the kitchen. Maybe the only downside of the public screening was the MST3k-like snickering from the crowd (just because it's in black and white doesn't mean it's a schlocky B-movie), but even they shut up when Helen Cooper's screams echoed through the theater. 50 years later, "Night" still has the power to shock, and now it looks better than ever.


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