Original: Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Director: Tom Savini
Stars: Patricia Tallman, Tony Todd, Tom Towles, William Butler, Katie Finneran, McKee Anderson
George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead is a national treasure; made on a shoestring budget, the zombie movie classic stands as a crucial milestone for independent cinema, an untouchable gem amongst horror purists, and an intelligent, thought-provoking time capsule for the civil rights era. Not bad for a movie about corpses lumbering around in hopes of devouring human flesh.
So when the 1990 remake was announced, unsurprisingly, fans weren't all that ecstatic. But then the director was revealed to be Tom Savini, a long-time Romero acolyte and an accomplished makeup effects artist; basically, Savini was already horror royalty. And, fortunately, he also proved to be a rather competent filmmaker.
Though its marred by occasional flashes of spotty acting, Savini's Night of the Living Dead is nevertheless a taut piece of genre entertainment, featuring some particularly strong zombie makeup work and aided by the fascinating choice to turn central character Barbara (played by Patricia Tallman here) from a meek drone, as she was in Romero's film, into a tough, gun-toting chick ready to whoop some undead ass.