George Romero's Night of the Living Dead is one of the most influential pieces of horror cinema of all time, with many images from the film burned into the memories of countless horror fans. The film was shot in stark black and white, harkening back to the early days of cinema, evoking visceral reactions similar to those experienced while watching Nosferatu or The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. One horror fan recently shared a few full-color photos from the film's set, making viewers have a completely different perception of the production experience.
I'd never seen these color photos from the set of Night of the Living Dead before and they're kind of destroying my brain pic.twitter.com/N6ZfudJKXe— don (@donswaynos) January 11, 2018
Many black-and-white movies were filmed that way due to color processing being unavailable, yet Romero used this monochromatic palette due to the minimal budget.
In the years since its release, various methods have been used in an attempt to craft a "colorized" version of the film, none of which capture the bleak outlook and feel of the original film.
If the film isn't memorable enough for its own legacy, another reason many of the film's images are burned into audiences' memories is that an error with the copyrighting process resulted in the film falling into public domain. This means that there are no legal ramifications if anyone wants to produce copies of the film to independently sell, and also allows filmmakers to incorporate images from the film into their own films, often resulting in characters watching Night of the Living Dead on TV whenever a scene calls for a character to be watching a horror movie.
Despite the decades of lackluster home video releases of the film, last November the Criterion Collection announced it would induct the film into its archive, celebrating it with a comprehensive home video release. The Blu-ray, which will debut on February 13, will include the following features:
- New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director George A. Romero, co-screenwriter John A. Russo, sound engineer Gary R. Streiner, and producer Russell W. Streiner
- New restoration of the monaural soundtrack, supervised by Romero and Gary R. Streiner, and presented uncompressed on the Blu-ray
- 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 ghouls
- New interviews with Gary R. Streiner and Russel W. Streiner
- Trailer, radio spots, and TV spots
- PLUS: An essay by critic Stuart Klawans
You can head to Criterion's website to grab your copy of Night of the Living Dead.