'Night of the Living Dead' and 'Silence of the Lambs' Getting the Criterion Treatment

Horror films and their cinematic achievements are often overlooked and dismissed by prestigious film organizations with the perception that their gruesome subject matter precludes them from being as highly regarded as most other films. Luckily, the Criterion Collection knows just how much the world of horror has to offer and announced that Night of the Living Dead and Silence of the Lambs would be some of the newest films that will be inducted into their catalog.

Per their website, the organization, which started in 1984, has "been dedicated to gathering the greatest films from around the world and publishing them in editions that offer the highest technical quality and award-winning, original supplements." Their vast catalog of films contains a wide swath of films, ranging from independent foreign features to the big-budget blockbuster Armageddon.

Much like all their other titles, both of these horror films will be getting the best high-definition processing available, in addition to being jam-packed with special features.

In 1968, filmmaker George Romero gave audiences Night of the Living Dead, a low-budget horror film featuring ghastly creatures that rose from the dead to torment individuals in a small farmhouse. These ghouls would go on to set the mold of the "zombie" that feasted for human flesh, featuring characteristics which movies and TV still incorporate today.

The supplemental materials are as follows:

  • 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
  • More!
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Stuart Klawans

Based on the novel of the same name, Silence of the Lambs introduced audiences to an entirely new type of horror movie, blending elements of true crime with traditional horror tropes, birthing one of the greatest on-screen villains of all-time with Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter. The film shattered audiences' expectations of what can be accomplished with a "horror movie," earning a slew of awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress at the Academy Awards.

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The supplemental materials are as follows:

  • New 4K digital restoration, approved by director of photography Tak Fujimoto, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Alternate 5.1 surround soundtrack, presented in DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray
  • Audio commentary from 1994 featuring director Jonathan Demme, actors Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, screenwriter Ted Tally, and former FBI agent John Douglas
  • New interview with critic Maitland McDonagh
  • Thirty-five minutes of deleted scenes
  • Interview from 2005 with Demme and Foster
  • Inside the Labyrinth, a 2001 documentary
  • Page to Screen, a 2002 program about the adaptation
  • Scoring “The Silence,” a 2004 interview program featuring composer Howard Shore
  • Understanding the Madness, a 2008 program featuring interviews with retired FBI special agents
  • Original behind-the-scenes featurette
  • Trailer
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Amy Taubin along with, in the Blu-ray edition, a new introduction by Foster; an account of the origins of the character Hannibal Lecter by author Thomas Harris; and a 1991 interview with Demme

Both films will be available on February 13.

[H/T Criterion]