Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated George A. Romero, Mike Schneider

Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated George A. Romero, Mike Schneider
You can find at least 34 DVD and Blu-Ray editions of Night of the Living Dead (1968) on Amazon, and that is a mere sampling of the many, many home video editions George A. Romero's public domain classic has been subjected to. There are a few high-end releases (Elite's exhaustive "Millennium Edition" is still the best), plenty of scratchy, fuzzy prints on DVDs that get sold in bulk to grocery stores and Wal-Marts, and even a number of strange novelty releases that effectively turn NOTLD into a different film. You can get it paired with movies like House on Haunted Hill or The Last Man on Earth on incongruous double features, or colorized, or converted into 3-D, or with "Rifftrax" commentary by the MST3K guys, or even in a particularly lamentable "30th Anniversary Edition" with new scenes and music. It will never be one of those classics that everybody sees, but those who have seen it tend to have seen it many, many times, and the film's numerous re-contextualized video editions suggest Romero's zombies have, in their own way, become an icon as open to radical reinterpretations as Shakespeare's heroes. Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated is certainly not the least of these reinterpretations, taking the audio from Romero's film and setting it to animated re-enactments by nearly 150 artists and animators, "curated" by Mike Schneider. We see stop-motion claymation, videogame graphics, puppets, paper puppets, still drawings and more traditional animation that ranges from literal to impressionist. This is an interesting idea, and some of the animation is quite striking, but the constant shifting of styles makes it impossible to become engrossed in the story and the novelty wears off quickly. Maybe the makers of this disc would have been better off cutting out all but ten of the styles ― this might have given the best animators more time to let their styles make an impression and even let Romero's film do a bit of the heavy lifting. As it is, Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated is an experiment best appreciated in fast-forward. (Wild Eye)