Directed by George A. Romero. 96 mins.
Worth my time? Yes. (Watched on Blu-ray)
The conclusion of the Night of the Living Dead trilogy (the later movies in the series aren’t worth the time) is just as effective as its predecessors. The film manages to out-bleak even the original. This time around, the end of the world isn’t near – it’s already come and gone. And while the film ends with more survivors than any of the previous installments, the final shot is pretty devastating.
The movie’s most glaring flaw is Captain Rhodes (played by Joseph Pilato). The dude’s such a cartoon villain that he may as well have a Jon Polito pencil mustache. While Romero’s zombie films contain some lousy people, Rhodes has no depth as a character. Even NotLD’s Harry Cooper, despite being nasty and selfish, exhibited plausible motivations such as panic, internalized bigotry, and sincere concern for his daughter’s wellbeing. Rhodes is just a dick, and it doesn’t make for very compelling drama.
Tom Savini returns for the makeup effects, and damn, they’re fantastic. From the very first moment a zombie walks onscreen (its tongue hanging from what little face it still has), you know these aren’t going to be the meek, blue zombies of Dawn. These things are ugly and far more pissed than in the other films and are responsible for some of the best death scenes in all of American horror.
Aside: I get a kick out of John Harrison’s score. The tropical flourished may seem out of place, but I think they’re meant to clue the viewers into the characters’ dreams and fantasies á la Badlands.
(Seen on 2013-11-12, written on 2013-11-15)