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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Birth of the Living Dead (2013)

As a fan of horror movies, I enjoy seeing how the genre has evolved over the years, and learning a bit about how some of the most influential movies came to be made, and the role they played in making horror what it is today.

In the final years of the turbulent 1960's, when race riots, decreasing support of the Vietnam War, and growing social unrest were spreading like a virus across the United States, a small, low-budget horror film was made.  Despite uncertainty about it's reception and ultimate Fate, this little film made by some guys from Pittsburgh, went on to change the world of horror forever.

This film was, "Night of the Living Dead"... and this is its story...

If you've read my review of  "Night of the Living Dead" (1968), you'll know that it's one of my favorite horror movies of all time.  Well, let me tell this:  "Birth of the Living Dead" is a great little companion piece to that movie.

One of the things I really liked about this documentary is that it wasn't as stuffy as many movie documentaries.  It doesn't set out to wax poetic about the importance of the film, and the skill and expertise that went into making it.  It's a very informal sort of presentation.  This is accentuated by the scenes where they interview the Director George A. Romero.  The tone of the whole film is very relaxed.  I found it easy to sit down with a cup of coffee and watch.

The overall feel of the film is assisted by the editing.  It has a great pacing due to the mixture of historical film footage, still shots, animation, footage from the subject movie, and interview pieces.  I especially liked the style of the animated sequences.  They were artistic, creative, and suited the atmosphere of the original movie.

The narration flowed well with the editing.  The narrator had an engaging voice, without sounding like they were giving a lecture.  His invited you to listen. The smooth visual ride and audio made the documentary feel less than the one hour it was.

"Birth of the Living Dead" also presented it's information in a fair, unbiased manner.  It was insightful about how and why the film managed to overcome initial bad reviews and difficulties getting shown in order to become a genre changing movie.  Romero really seemed to enjoy recounting the things had to be done to make the film, and the people involved.

Overall, I'm going to have to say that I would definitely recommend this film to fans of "Night of the Living Dead", though I probably wouldn't watch it more than once or twice a year.  "Birth of the Living Dead" gets a Good from me.

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