So here’s the thing, I’ve never heard a good word spoken about Night of the Living Dead 3D. I mean, I’ve heard people trash this thing from end end. I’ve been hearing nothing but negative reviews for years. I won’t say that it’s kept me away, but it’s definitely slowed my roll. It’s put it on the back burner, the “yeah, I need to watch this one of these days list“… And that’s even with it having Sid Haig in it. I loved it, and I do recall watching it once, ages ago but not make it very far. I saw Sid up here briefly and vanished at the beginning, and assumed that was all it was… So I figured it was a one day cameo and I’ll get to it when I get to it. Well, I finally got to it, and interestingly enough… It’s actually not all that bad.
You’re always gonna have a problem when you try and remake Night of the Living Dead. That’s true in any every field, but Night of the Living Dead has been tried more times than you probably realize, particularly because it’s in the public domain. This movie though, isn’t really a remake. It’s sort of a remake and homage and maybe even a little bit of sequel… Much in the way that Superman Returns wasn’t a proper remake or homage sequel. It couldn’t decide what it wanted to be and it ended up being none of those.
Night of the Living Dead 3D starts off with a bit of a scene from the original Night of the Living Dead, and then dissolves over into the new version. Barb (Yes. They call her BARB) and Johnny are heading to a funeral… not just to place flowers on a grave. But still, the zombie breakout occurs on schedule, and Johnny jumps in the car and rushes off. We don’t see much past that, Barbara stranded in the cemetery. She runs often finds herself in a mortuary… The Tovar and Son funeral home. This is important. Because this is much more central to this series.
Oh, did I say series? Well, I’ll get to that later.
There’s zombies already there chomping on people and generally doing their thing., But suddenly Sid Haig shows up and rushes Barb off. He tells her to flee, and quite justifiably, she does… Despite being a little bit annoyed that he wouldn’t shelter her. Honestly, there’s almost a return of the living dead vibe there… And that’ll be significant later. On the road, she was ambushed by more zombies, because that’s what zombies do. But she’s rescued by a dashing young biker named Ben. He’s actually heading out to his friend, Harry Cooper’s house, over at the Cooper plant farms, and he takes her with him.
This is kind of where I do have a little bit of a beef. Because this series is very different from the original Night of the Living Dead. There’s a chance here to establish its own identity, but it undermines that by using so many of the original films names. It telegrams some of what you are going to expect, and it’s not necessarily something they needed to do.
In any event, Cooper Farms happens to be a pot growing farm. This is before it was legalized in any of the states, so we’ve got a certain degree of disreputable character going here. It’s also a great reason why they won’t call the cops to take care of the zombies that inevitably follow Barbara.
Helen isn’t Harry’s first wife, she is his second, and not the mother of the young girl that lives there. There’s also a farmhand and we do also have a “ Judy“ who is really just there to be the sexy, naked ingenue . Part of me really does take some offense to that, because Judy was far more wholesome than he was in a film, and, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting that particular actress. Nevertheless, she is there to fulfill the nudity portioned and up the body count. She’s stooping a dude in the barn, which keep her separate from most of the household shenanigans, that gives them somebody to go rescue.
We do get a number of the story beats from the original night of the living dead, there is some tension between Ben and Harry, though it’s a very different sort of tension. It’s a disagreement on the plan, and not nearly as hostile. We do get the little girl getting Zombified, but it’s played differently. All of this is second act stuff as we ratchet up the tension. The actual night of living dead film is playing on the TV, and indeed, the farmhand wasn’t sure that Barbara wasn’t crazy… And just reacting to what’s on the TV. No. She wasn’t crazy, and when the zombies start attacking, it’s apparent. It’s never more apparent though, one of refugee starts pounding on the door. It’s the third act, and Sid Haig has arrived at the farmhouse.
Tovar is an interesting character, turns out, The whole thing really did start at his mortuary… He’s not quite the mortician that his father was, and once the weird bag started appearing from the government… Well, whatever chemical was in there… There was… Leakage. It’s a good role for Haig. Simultaneously fun, and both straight man and villain. He ends up being a great deal more sinister than he seems at the beginning of the film, and this is all good stuff.It’s the sort of thing that really goes it’s on direction and separates us from the original.I miss Sid.
So, as far as the bad goes… The 3-D is seriously sketchy. It’s the red and blue sort it 3-D, and the DVD comes with a couple pairs of the glasses. It doesn’t really work that well. Also, this thing really undermines itself I feel, by using the names from the original film. And in name only sort of remake or something completely original inhibit self would have been preferable.
The good? This is actually a really good zombie movie. We have good and innovative kills, we’ve got a great environment, and quite frankly whenever we get exterior shots of that old farmhouse… Juxtaposed against the blue fog of an eerie night, it’s brilliant. It’s gorgeous sort of in name only sort of remake or something completely original in a bit self would have been preferable.
The good? This is actually a really good zombie movie. We have good and innovative kills, we’ve got a great environment, and quite frankly whenever we get exterior shots of that old farmhouse… Juxtaposed against the blue fog of an eerie night, it’s brilliant. It’s gorgeous imagery, and shows a real deft touched. The movie itself also kind of does it sound thing. It takes the premise, but then tells its own story… Much like Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake. This is a strength that this movie has over something like Tom Savini‘s 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead . Savini, for all of his credit, really just tried to remake the film, while perhaps adding a bit more Sarah Connor to Barbara. As much as I enjoy watching Tony Todd Chula Siri – and seriously, how brilliant was that casting? – The 1990 remake always fails to satisfy, because it’s a hollow imitation of something so brilliant as Romero‘s original masterpiece. This on the other hand doesn’t fall into that trap… Like Snider is Donna dead, it takes a name, and it takes the idea, and then it plays fast and loose with everything else. Indeed, this thing would pair up really well with the dawn of the dead remake… far better than Savinis.
It also establishes some of his own law. It comes up with his own idea for why the outbreak happened, and the introduction of Tovar and his mortuary is interesting. It’s distinctive. It helps give the film its own identity, something that this thing really needs.
If you’ve heard nothing but smack talk about this film, let me encourage you to give it a real try. If you want to don the red and blue glasses, go ahead, I sure did! But more importantly, give the film itself a chance. There’s a lot to love here, as long as you understand going into it… This is not night of the living dead… And it’s not trying to be. Approach it as it’s own thing, and I think you just might enjoy it.
I came into work this morning to the devastating news that Sid Haig is gone. I knew he’d been in the hospital, we all thought he was getting better, but lets face it – he hasn’t looked well in a long time.
His wife broke the news this morning.
On Saturday, September 21, 2019, my light, my heart, my true love, my King, the other half of my soul, Sidney, passed from this realm on to the next. He has returned to the Universe, a shining star in her heavens. He was my angel, my husband, my best friend and always will be. He adored his family, his friends and his fans. This came as a shock to all of us.
We, as a family, are asking that our privacy and time to mourn be respected.
Sidney Eddie Mosesian
7/14/39 – 9/21/19
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Friend.
Goodnight, my love. We will find each other again, next time. I love you.
Rob Zombie chimed in as well.
Last night I received a phone call I was dreading from Bill Moseley, He told me that our friend Sid Haig had died. It was shocking but unfortunately not unexpected. I’ve know for a long time how sick Sid was and what he was battling. Over the past year as I saw pictures of him still attending conventions I thought perhaps he had beat it, but last week when he returned to the hospital I feared the worst.
Sid and I had a long talk on the day that he told me of his condition and he knew 3 From Hell would most likely be his last appearance on screen. Sadly it was. I knew it was very important to Sid that Captain Spaulding make one more round and he did. Sid’s time the film is brief. He was in rough shape that day, but he gave it his all and made his scene very memorable.
I was fan of his as a kid watching Jason of Star Command all the way through our twenty years of working together. I can still clearly remember the first time we met. It was at the Edith Head Costume building at Universal. Sid came out of the dressing room wearing a clown suit which was a few sizes too small. We said hello then we both started laughing at how ridiculous he looked in his ill-fitting suit. We would find him a much better suit.
As we were making House Of 1000 Corpses neither of us knew he was creating a character that would live on and grow in popularity every year. Sid told me many times how thankful he was for the Captain and how that character changed his life. He had completely given up on acting and now suddenly had found a whole new audience at the age of 60. I know he was thrilled and blown away by that fact.
The Captain is gone… but he will never be forgotten.
Rest in Peace Sid
This is a tough one. I knew Sid. So did a number of my friends. We’re both regulars n the con circuit and it’s going to feel empty with him no longer around.
I wrote to Julie Newmar ages ago and had a plan. You see, I bump into Sid Haig every now and then on the convention circuit, and I know he did an episode of buck Rogers with her. So in addition to the requisite Catwoman pic, I also enclosed this still (a screenshot I grabbed directly off my DVD) from Buck Rogers and she was nice enough to sign it as well. Suddenly Sid fell ill and wasn’t doing cons for a while It actually took a couple of years, but I finally got him on it as well!
Over the years, motor city nightmare it has become a semi regular stop for me on the convention circuit. It’s kind of like Monster Bash in that I like it but can drop it from the schedule if I get overbought and not feel too bad about it.
Motor city is one of those conventions that really does try and give attendees something for thier admission – something more than just a dealers room and guests with increasingly skyrocketing autograph charges (I think I’m just about priced out of the market now – I may be getting out of the autograph game before too long here), with panels and two movie rooms going on all day.
One of the clever things I noticed, is that the upstairs movie room appears to be playing mostly SkullHouse pictures – if you weren’t aware, those are the people who are behind this convention and it’s a great way of mixing programming and self promotion. I like Skull House by the way, and I always make a point to pick up one or two of thier films every time I head to this con – sitting in on some of those screenings was a good way to figure out which one I should grab and which ones I should perhaps avoid (Monsters of Carnage : Dinobeast -AVOID.).
Motor city is consistently growing – and they certainly want to be a bigger convention. They do try and bring in a few bigger name guests– this year inviting George Romero, Matthew Lillard and Dee Snider to the show, as well as old fan favorites like Sid haig and Lloyd Kauffman (and God bless Sid for holding to the $10 for a signature on your item and photos always free. God Bless Lloyd for always siging for free and taking photos with everyone he talks to!)They also pull the VIP upgrades that I so detest… granting better seats and special after parties to the VIP passholders. It shows greater ambitions – and indeed, motor city maybe realizing them. This year, for the first time it felt like they had outgrown your space at the Sheraton hotel. The Saturday crowd was shoulder to shoulder, and moving around was difficult. I found myself fleeing the dealer room because I couldn’t get around in any practical way. Still, it’s a good problem to have and I wouldn’t mind seeing the move to a bigger space as long as they still retain the heart – with film festival and panel programming.
I managed to catch the 31 panel – I know that Rob Zombie is a device of filmmaker, but I generally enjoy him and I thought 31 was a great return to form (I reviewed it when I came out). While interesting, the panel I have really come to see you this time around was Dee Snider.
Dee’s talk was energetic and informative and one of the most entertaining panels I’ve seen in a long time. He really connects with his audience no matter what subject he is covering – Twisted Sister, strange land, or Holliston… It doesn’t matter you find yourself riveted by his energy, his wit, and his performance.
Dee’s panel was followed by S Don of the dead panel – standing room only, filling the room to capacity. It’s the same old stories, but they never really get old.
Motor city is overhaul the panel system by the way, moving them to a different room with a much better sounding PA – my complaints in years past of not being able to hear other people speak have been well answered.
With a $30 admission and the constantly rising autograph prices – motor city nightmares is likely to remain an optional con for me rather than a can’t miss like cinema wasteland or concoction. But I’ll definitely say same thing about motor city that I say about days of the dead – I’ve never failed to have fun there. It’s never been a disappointment, it’s never been a drag… In motor city in particular is made all the nicer by the fact that I have friends who regularly visit this convention so I never have to worry about being alone.
I’ll see you later motor city. Not sure when, but I’ll be back.