Birth of the Living Dead

Production Year: 2013
Release Date: 01/07/2013
Studio: First Run Features
Collection Number: 1511

Night of the Living Dead is arguably one of the most influential horror films ever made.  With a meager budget and some homegrown talent George A Romero was able to create a film that remains relevant to this day.  A film that pretty much created it's own subgenre and has inspired countless films, comic books, and TV shows.

Given the film's impact, it's no surprise that a number of documentaries have been created over the years.  The first major documentary was released in 1993 to celebrate the film's 25th anniversary.  Night of the Living Dead: 25th Anniversary Documentary was released in a two VHS set partnered with the original film.  Almost two decades later we were blessed with One for the Fire (2008) and Autopsy of the Dead (2009).  The newest documentary is titled Birth of the Living Dead, and I can attest to it's quality.

Rob Kuhns has done a great job assembling a number of talented actors, producers, writers, and directors, all of which have been inspired or involved with Night of the Living Dead.  The film goes into great detail about the inception of the film going all the way back to when George Romero started Latent Image.  Latent Image mainly created commercials early on, the company even managed to do some work for Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.  Eventually Latent Image gave way to Image Ten, the company that would go on to create Night of the Living Dead.

From there Birth of the Living Dead goes into the creation of the film along with a lot of the hardships Romero and his investors faced.  From inexperienced actors to homemade pyrotechnics no stone is left unturned.  While it's not as extensive as some of the interviews featured in Autopsy of the Dead, I was still very impressed with the amount of work that went into this documentary.  Night of the Living Dead is a film that has a lot of layers and this documentary is the perfect companion piece.  It goes into great detail about the social climate of the mid-60's which played a big part in setting the tone of the 1968 film.

Another thing I really enjoyed about the documentary was the eclectic nature of the interviewees, Larry Fessenden for instance, was a wonderful addition and had a lot of intelligent thoughts on the film.  Gale Anne Hurd was another a good choice, Hurd is one of the main producers of television hit The Walking Dead, a show that owes quite a bit to Night of the Living Dead.

As I mentioned before there are a lot of great documentaries about NOTLD, but after viewing this documentary for a second time I can safely say it's at the top of the heap.  A must see for
any fan of Romero's work.

Extended Interview with George Romero (32:44) - A nice long interview with the horror legend.  Romero talks about everything from his childhood in New York to (briefly) mentioning that he at one point was attached to a film adaption of the Goosebumps book series.  Yeah, you read that right.  Goosebumps.  Great stuff and an essential watch for the Romero-connoisseur.

Bill Hinzman and the Monroeville Zombie Walk (07:08) - A short featurette about a record breaking zombie walk that took place at the famous Monroeville Mall.  Hinzman was at the event and discusses (in full zombie-mode) the creation of Night of the Living Dead.

Audio Interview with George A Romero at the Museum of Modern Art on 06/16/1970 (09:39) - This is an audio interview with Romero from a screening of NOTLD.  He discusses the making of the film along with doing a Q & A with the audience.

Birth of the Living Dead managed to live up to my inflated expectations, I'm more than happy to add it to my 'Living Dead collection and I can proudly give the documentary my full endorsement..