909 Night of the Living Dead

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: 909 Night of the Living Dead

#101 Post by MichaelB » Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:36 am

I watched it with my fifteen-year-old son the other month, deliberately not prepping him about anything in advance. It was a wonderful experience watching it with someone who was so demonstrably caught up in it - and he was properly shocked by the ending, just as Romero originally intended.

User avatar
Slaphappy
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2018 5:08 am

Re: 909 Night of the Living Dead

#102 Post by Slaphappy » Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:02 am

I still liked Night of the Living Dead a lot as a movie, but it was not half as gripping anymore. Maybe I’m just getting old, but did anyone else feel like the HD-mastering of Criterion release had gone too far polishing contrast and clarity of the picture and somewhat ruining the athmosphere? Maybe that takes the movie too far from horror towards a zombie apocalypse drama.

User avatar
CSM126
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 8:22 am
Location: The Room
Contact:

Re: 909 Night of the Living Dead

#103 Post by CSM126 » Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:03 pm

Slaphappy wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:02 am
I still liked Night of the Living Dead a lot as a movie, but it was not half as gripping anymore. Maybe I’m just getting old, but did anyone else feel like the HD-mastering of Criterion release had gone too far polishing contrast and clarity of the picture and somewhat ruining the athmosphere? Maybe that takes the movie too far from horror towards a zombie apocalypse drama.
If anything the restoration brought the film back to what it’s meant to be. They cleaned up, repaired and otherwise fixed all the damage that was never meant to be there. If it was intentional to be grimy I’m sure it still would be - Romero supervised the restoration himself, after all. What’s here is the atmosphere he wanted us to see.

User avatar
tenia
Ask Me About My Bassoon
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: 909 Night of the Living Dead

#104 Post by tenia » Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:31 pm

Viewers getting accustomed to a certain rough aspect always seemed to me as if they built a prism through which they're building their own viewing habits, unrelated to the movie itself and what its makers were willingly making. If they wanted to make it rough looking, they could have done so. Once properly restored, if it doesn't look like this, then, it just never was intended to look that way.
I also don't think it alters movies that much. Last time I watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre, it was through the marvelous 4K restoration, and it still was creepy and scary and gloomy.

User avatar
Slaphappy
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2018 5:08 am

Re: 909 Night of the Living Dead

#105 Post by Slaphappy » Sun Jan 06, 2019 5:46 pm

I don’t have that much trust in elderly directors regarding their own movies. From Lucas to Jacopetti they are too fond of revisionist views on how their movies were supposed to be.

Maybe black-and-white movies are more volurnable because so much rides on contrast, which is tempting to tweak for more details. I doubt Night of the Living Dead ever looked on film like it does on bluray, but I didn’t say, that rougher and grimmer look would have been the only correct way to do the restoration. I only asked if anyone else felt like the movie got compromised as a horror movie.

User avatar
Big Ben
Joined: Mon Feb 08, 2016 12:54 pm
Location: Great Falls, Montana

Re: 909 Night of the Living Dead

#106 Post by Big Ben » Sun Jan 06, 2019 5:53 pm

I would think that Romero would have final say here independent of what we all think. We can certainly disagree with him but it's just as creepy in this new restoration as the first time I saw it. It certainly hasn't lost it's ability to provoke and in the case of Michael's son, shock.

User avatar
tenia
Ask Me About My Bassoon
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: 909 Night of the Living Dead

#107 Post by tenia » Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:42 pm

Slaphappy wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 5:46 pm
I doubt Night of the Living Dead ever looked on film like it does on bluray
I think there is a difference between how it looked and how it should have looked if the analog process would have been better at the time. Again, if they wanted it to be different on the negative, they could have done so. Yet, it doesn't seem like it. And it's not so much a question of trusting elderly directors, but a question of how damaging the older print-making processese were VS what we can get from a negative now. I believe that's where the difference lies.
Slaphappy wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 5:46 pm
I only asked if anyone else felt like the movie got compromised as a horror movie.
I understood that, and to me, the answer is no. I just made a broader point in my answer by answering that, as a whole, I never stumbled on a gloomy creepy movie whose restoration turned into something less impactful.

Orlac
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:29 am

Re: 909 Night of the Living Dead

#108 Post by Orlac » Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:34 pm

Night is a film that could survive the process of a grainly 16mm dupe transferred to low-rent VHS in a way that, say, Sound of Music couldn't.

User avatar
Slaphappy
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2018 5:08 am

Re: 909 Night of the Living Dead

#109 Post by Slaphappy » Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:44 am

Judging by the screen shots I can’t really say, that there were poor choises made, but looking at trailers I feel like the muddy expressionist look was more gripping for me. Then again, now for the first time I fully consentrated on character dynamics and that was interesting too.

User avatar
tenia
Ask Me About My Bassoon
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: 909 Night of the Living Dead

#110 Post by tenia » Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:53 am

It's quite certain the way you're used to see some movies influence how you feel their content. It's not illogical that a movie like Night would gain somehow from being watched in, say, muddy conditions.
It's just that we now have enough experience with these older representations to know they’re extremely likely to be faithful to the original photography, but also that the newer proper restorations never really take away the potential impact of these movies (TCM being what I always felt to be the best example of that).

mteller
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:23 pm

Re: 909 Night of the Living Dead

#111 Post by mteller » Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:42 am

Slaphappy wrote:
Sun Jan 06, 2019 5:46 pm
I don’t have that much trust in elderly directors regarding their own movies.
That's some ageist bullshit right there.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: 909 Night of the Living Dead

#112 Post by MichaelB » Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:49 am

I first saw Night of the Living Dead in a decent 35mm print, so my impressions of what it should look like are somewhat different.

And I echo mteller's "ageist bullshit" comment. Unless you have hard evidence that revisionism has taken place (and such cases are usually publicised at the time), it's usually sensible to assume that it hasn't.

Still, at least he didn't go as far as the long departed Nothing, whose characteristically charming response to the news that a transfer he'd been energetically slagging off had been approved by both the director and cinematographer was to question their eyesight and sanity. A few posts later he admitted that he hadn't even watched it himself and had been going by Beaver grabs.

User avatar
tenia
Ask Me About My Bassoon
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: 909 Night of the Living Dead

#113 Post by tenia » Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:57 am

I can however understand how, considering what has been seen on the video market, some are now questioning the validity of directors' or cinematographers' approval, especially for movies made at a time where the aesthetic norms were very different.

I suspect that B&W movies are less concerned than colored movies simply because the eye is more responsive to colors in a way (ie we would have an easier time detecting a teal'ed movie than a B&W one a bit too much contrasted), but this point aside, I don't think it would be unseen of a director or a DoP heavily tweaking the grading during a restoration for a result that is closer to the current aesthetics than the original one.

Still, challenges should be made on a case by case matter, not as a general agreement or disagreement. There are some "approved" restorations that look fine and others that don't, and the opposite is true too.
Here, I think it simply is a very good 4K restoration of a movie that has often been seen in unfaithful copies, a situation many times seen in the past few years.

User avatar
Slaphappy
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2018 5:08 am

Re: 909 Night of the Living Dead

#114 Post by Slaphappy » Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:09 pm

Maybe I was aiming to be a bit humoristic using the word elderly, but trying to reconstruct one's vision after almost 50 years seems a bit far fetched sometimes and I'm not convinced, that directors and cinematographers are automatically the best person to make decisions regarding their old work. The most brutal example I know is the Finnish tv-series Rauta-aika, which is maybe the most artistic work ever made for Finnish television. It was shot 4:3 and released cropped for 16:9 on DVD by cinematographer's approval. He also did the cropping. It went from naturalistic look and pictorial compositions to look like a badly shot Sergio Leone movie.

I think it's safe to say, that Criterion bluray is closer to what was intended 1968 than the murky cable tv-transfers I saw as a kid. Digital times can just make one pretty paranoid and some people have weird preferences. This time I got spooked by reading a quote from a DVD Beaver review, which praised a transfer for being so crisp, that one "can actually see make-ups and facial costuming" on actors. I think everything that compromises immersion is a bad thing. I also feel like I've been spotting lots of bad wig lines lately, but that could be because I've watched a lot of 80's Shaw Bros. :-"

User avatar
Lowry_Sam
Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 3:35 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA

Re: 909 Night of the Living Dead

#115 Post by Lowry_Sam » Mon Jan 07, 2019 1:25 pm

What ranks this release among the best of 2018 is the inclusion of Night Of Anubis, which should satisfy one’s desire to see it in lo res.

Post Reply