So I raised a few eyebrows a while back when I praised the 2004 colorized version of the late George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” (1968). A couple of horror fans gave me flack for it — I hope people realize that I was talking about the last (and best) colorization, adapted by Legend Films. (There were several prior color versions, and the 1986 attempt by Hal Roach Studios was broadly and justifiably condemned.)
I also hope that people realize that my preferred version will always be Romero’s black-and-white original. And it just so happens that I found an unusually good copy of it online, over at the Timeless Classic Movie Youtube channel. (There are actually some really clean copies of a few great classics there, including 1964’s “The Last Man on Earth”).
There are actually several colorized versions of George A. Romero’s 1968 classic floating around out there — the one I watched was the quite decent 2004 revision by Legend Films. (I believe it’s the truly crude 1986 Hal Roach colorized version that is so widely reviled by fans — and with good reason. Those green-skinned zombies looked awful in that one clip I watched.)
I had a blast with the Legend Films outing. I cheerfully recommend it. The colorization isn’t perfect, and it’s a little strange seeing the start of the zombie apocalypse rendered in occasionally pastel hues. But this was a fun way to revisit a beloved film I’ve seen so often before, but only in black and white. You can also finally fully appreciate how beautiful Judith O’Dea was. (And, in my opinion, she and Duane Jones were damned terrific in this movie.)
Check out the clip below.