Criterion puts out some spiffy discs. Lots of bells and whistles. It’s a little surprising that George Romero’s seminal NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD didn’t have a Criterion release already. Maybe it’s because the film is in the public domain–how it ended up there could serve as the basis for an article all its own–and you can find it on any old Horror flick compilation available in the bargain bin at your nearest Walmart. Maybe Criterion figured nobody would buy a spiffy BluRay with bells and whistles if they already own the film or could buy it on the cheap. If that was their thinking, they must have changed their minds. I’m betting the rethink will pay off for them.
The forthcoming NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD BluRay from Criterion will feature a 4K restoration and a remastering of the film’s original soundtrack. Also featured (and I’m taking this straight off the press release): “NIGHT OF ANUBIS, a never-before-presented work-print edit of the film; new program featuring filmmakers Frank Darabont, Guillermo del Toro, and Robert Rodriguez; Never-before-seen 16 mm dailies reel; New piece featuring Russo about the commercial and industrial-film production company where key NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD filmmakers got their start; Two audio commentaries from 1994, featuring Romero, Russo, producer Karl Hardman, actor Judith O’Dea, and more; Archival interviews with Romero and actors Duane Jones and Judith Ridley; New programs about the editing, the score, and directing the ghouls; New interviews with Gary R. Streiner and Russel W. Streiner; Trailer, radio spots, and TV spots; An essay by critic Stuart Klawans.”
The overhaul was supervised by Romero himself, along with producer Russell W. Streiner, sound engineer Gary R. Streiner, and screenwriter John A. Russo. It releases on February 13th, 2018–just in time to be the perfect Valentine’s gift!