George Romero's Night of the Living Dead is one of the undisputed classics of the horror genre, and the folks over at Warner Animation took the opportunity to bring a new version to the screen in time for Halloween this year. In Night of the Animated Dead, contemporary animators and actors bring an unchanged version of Romero's script to life in animation form. Among the stars of the animated version is Katharine Isabelle. Best known for scream queen roles in movies like Ginger Snaps and American Mary, the actress took on the role of Barbara, the lead woman in the film, who is dramatically different to most of Isabelle's characters.
In Night of the Living Dead, Barbara starts the movie by seeing a zombie murder her brother, and is essentially catatonic for most of the movie, infrequently talking and often panicking and crying when she does. Isabelle says that while she loves being a feminist horror icon, she appreciated the opportunity to represent the many people who would basically shut down when faced with that level of stress."
Among other things, Isabelle said, it doesn't mean Barbara is weak. The level of stress that she is under in the context of the story is pretty incredible, and she is reacting to that more or less in the way a lot people would.
"Barbara the amount of shock that she goes into, the catatonic bits...I mean, I think for her to be that way is believable," Isabelle told ComicBook. "We're used to seeing these great strong female characters who really fight back and really give it everything they've got, but to be honest, in reality humans all react very differently, and a good portion of us would probably react exactly like Barbara, and just go into complete shock, pretend none of this is happening, and just lay on a couch for a while."
"I do love these crazy women that I've portrayed in the Ginger Snaps, the American Marys, but to be true to a particular set of humans who would just absolutely just phase out if something like this happened, I found that very realistic," Isabelle added. "I'm not always searching for the biggest, most aggressive characters. I'm really always just searching for true humanity at the bottom of it."
Night of the Animated Dead is now available on Digital, DVD, and Blu-ray.