Birth Of The Living Dead DVD Review
What’s It About? Birth Of The Living Dead looks at how a group of youngsters managed to pull of one of the greatest guerrilla shoots of all time, to make one of (if not The) greatest zombie movie of all time. This documentary includes a new interview with George A. Romero, as well as brand new animation from Gary Pullin. Alongside archival footage to show just how politically charged Night Of The Living Dead was, and still is.
Verdict: If you ask a film fan who the godfather of zombie films is, 99% of them will respond with the answer George A. Romero. The man single-handedly raised a B-movie genre up into the echelons of Hollywood blockbusters and TV shows, thanks to his “Dead” films. It was Night Of The Living Dead that started it all, and that is what Rob Kuhns’ documentary focuses on. Romero speaks candidly about his approach to the film and how his team struggled to get it made. He is an intelligent and witty interviewee that knows the price of a good story, and we certainly get value for money from him. His detailed and informative accounts of the process are the highlights. Yet he is somewhat sidelined after a while as the doc seems to lose track of its focus and hammers on about the political issues of the late 60s and early 70s. These were emotional times around the world, especially in the United States thanks to the race riots and Vietnam, but Birth Of The Living Dead is too bogged down in talking history and trying to link it to specific scenes that in the end it feels more like a school history film.
The talking heads include TV writer/producer Gale Anne Hurd, American film critic Elvis Mitchell and horror actor Larry Fessenden. Hurd speaks about the relationship Romero’s work has on The Walking Dead TV show. Whilst Mitchell muses on the film having the balls to cast a black lead actor. Larry Fessenden gives an entire overview of his feelings on the film and what he feels Romero has done for the genre. These are interesting interviewees, but they all seem to be repeating themselves on the same subjects. The documentary does have some funky, cool animation interspersed into it, but it serves little purposes other than to enjoy a brief drawing during a voice-over.
Final Words: A documentary focusing on one of the most iconic horror films ever should be engaging, but it fails to keep fans interested through the whole 76-minute run time. This would have worked better as an extra on a DVD or Blu-ray re-issue than a standalone film.
Birth Of The Living Dead is available on DVD & VOD from 12 May 2014.