Friday, 2 March 2018

Criterion of the Living Dead

I watched Criterion edition last night and was very pleased with the presentation - to beat a cliche of the HD era - the film looks so fresh it could well have been shot yesterday. Along with along with Thundercrack!, the Criterion Night of the Living Dead is perhaps my most eagerly awaited title - I first heard speculation that Criterion were putting it out some years so this edition seems like a long time coming. The addition of the Criterion Blu brings an inevitable touch of sadness as it spells the retirement of my cherished Elite DVD, which has seen active duty for nearly 16 years, and a disc that still looked very impressive when I saw the film again last year. Now, I can almost hear the Criterion disc bellow: "Now get the hell down in the cellar. You can be the boss down there, but I'm boss up here!". Wonderful too, that the film with its coveted Criterion spine-number will introduce the film to viewers who may have previously shrugged off the film as B-movie trash, and its place in the Criterion collection will do much to banish memories of the shoddy treatment of previous home video versions, namely the horrendous colorized edition and the abomination that was the so-called 30th Anniversary with its added scenes - "anal-raped" as Todd Doogan memorably described this assault on Romero's film when writing about the various editions DVD editions of the film for The Digital Bits. So, all good ? Well not quite. The transfer may be outstanding but I'm less enthused about Criterion's packaging. I remain lukewarm about Sean Phillips' artwork (and in fairness, it's no easy task to come up with an original piece of artwork for this the umpteenth video release), but shame on Criterion for putting out the film in a thoroughly flimsy digipak sleeve, with the two discs stacked on top of one another. It's fortunate at least that it comes in a protective slipcase because, this one goes up pretty easy....


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