Commentary by Andrew Manning|
In 1968, filmmaker George A. Romero unleashed what has become one of the defining standards of the zombie horror sub-genre: Night of the Living Dead. It was basic and straight-to-the-point: brain-eating zombies were outside and trying to get at the still-living survivors inside. Though it looked crude, especially by today's standards, it had a profound impact on its genre and became a pop culture classic.
Night spawned two direct sequels in subsequent decades: 1978's Dawn of the Dead, which found the zombie disease beginning to spread like wildfire across America, and 1985's Day of the Dead, in which the undead had pretty much taken over the world. Personally, I thought that the bad acting made these two movies unwatchable, and that the "slicker" production values wiped away the eerie documentary feel of the original.
1985's The Return of the Living Dead, though similarly titled and obviously influenced by Romero's films, is not another sequel. This somewhat more comical horror was the start of a different franchise that had a few sequels of its own.
In 1990, Romero's original Night of the Living Dead was remade in color. (Yes, that new-fangled technology all the latest talkies are catching on to...color!)
That brings us to today, in the futuristic world of 2004. The new Dawn of the Dead is an updated remake of Romero's second Dead film, and a remake of Day of the Dead is reportedly in the works.