Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Night of the Living Dead (1990 Remake) and Flying Dog Double Dog

Tonight i feel like filling in the gaps in my reviews a bit.  I will be watching the Night of the Living Dead remake.  This film came out in 1990 and was directed by Tom Savini.  For those who don't know Tom Savini I'll fill you in on a little of his resume.  His special effects work can be seen on the original Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Creepshow, and the wonderful Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.  He also has done some extensive acting, mostly cameos, in tons of horror movies.  He's in Planet Terror, From Dusk Till Dawn, and if you look close Machete, Land of the Dead, and the Dawn of the Dead Remake.  What did i decide to pair this movie with?  Flying Dog Double Dog Pale Ale!  This is my post to redemption.  I received a slew of hate mail from the Flying Dog Brewery after i wrote my Diary of the Dead and Gonzo post.  I have received numerous death threats saying if i don't review more Flying Dog beer then i will be hastily dispatched.  Actually none of that's true. 
I wanted to confess that i've been feeling a bit of guilt after my Diary of the Dead/Flying Dog Gonzo post.  Perhaps I never gave Flying Dog a real chance.  I keep passing by the Double Dog Double Pale Ale and wrinkling my nose at it as I search for Avery's Dry Hopped Barleywine.  That's no way to treat a beer, with neglect, contempt, and an unfair stereotype.  So i decided to try and make amends by picking up a bottle with a mix your own six pack at our local specialty beer and wine shop La Bodega.  It sat waiting in the fridge as i pecked around in nervously.  First the Leffe, then the Celebration.  By this point it knows I'm avoiding it.  Finally i can hide no more.  I pop it open and pour it into my 12 oz snifter.  It's a crystal clear light copper/orange color with a one finger white head.  The initial aroma is not the blast in the face i expected.  Definitely a lot of piny, resiny hops but not nearly the American Double IPA experience i was expecting.  Not that this is a bad thing.  But it sure was a sign of things to come.
I swirl to see if i can't unlock more hop goodness.  More of the same!  Maybe a little more grapefruit from the background but by and large the same!  So i dive into my first sip, keeping my nose deep in the glass.  Not bad!  It's got a big bitter backbone but not that barbs on the tongue slap that most IIPAs have.  In fact this beer is extremely well balanced.  There is a nice sweet caramel malt back that splashes my taste buds with the nostalgia of tiramisus gone by.  This beer isn't boozy at all.  And at 11.5% abv that's saying a lot.  Careful fermentation and brewing processes have smoothed this bad boy out.  It's a very drinkable beer for it's strength.  With medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation it goes down very easy....too easy.  Would i but this again?  Maybe?  Was it worth the $1.50 for the bottle?  Hell yea it was.  Another page in my beer adventure book printed.
I forgot how good this movie was.  I know it’s in bad taste to say this, but I think I like the remake better than the original.  The quality was much better than I remembered from my parents 27 inch tv as a kid.  The movie followed closely enough to the original to please the lovers of the classic but also threw in enough new twists to surprise people.  The cemetery scene comes as close as any Romero Movie gets to explaining the outbreak.  A man stumbles up to Barbara and keeps saying he’s sorry.  So maybe he did it?  That’s not bad right?  I like how subtle it was and it still left the questions of legitimacy and didn’t give away any specifics.  Unlike the 3-D remake which I would like to poop on.
The first scene at the farm house has got some nice new additions.  Barbara is still terrified and hysterical for the first part.  But unlike the original movie she snaps out of it.  All of the sudden she’s bashing Hershel the farmer zombie to undeath with a fire poker.  Director Tom Savini would like you to meet the new and improved Barbara now with balls.  She ditches the church sweater and trades her ankle length skirt for a pair of the farmers old trousers.  Now she’s ready to rock.  She’s not just the master of her own destiny she’s also taking charge.  She grabs the rifle and is Anne Oakley.  She nails headshot after headshot without blinking.
The Ben character has also seen a few changes.  He’s not as cool and deliberate as he was in the original.  He’s more affected by the zombies this time showing frustration, fear, and hate as he curses god for bringing this upon them.  Ben has more flaws than the original but at the same time he’s also more powerful of a leader and an overall stronger character.  But there is no Ben without Cooper.
I’ve tried to find his side.  I’ve watched this movie and searched my heart for some sort of impartiality.  But I can’t rid myself of the bias.  You’re already on Ben’s side after he helped Barbara and took charge trying to figure things out.  It’s hard to change sides at that point.  Cooper enters abruptly as Ben and Barbara are trying to board up the windows.  First impressions aren’t great as he lies right off the bat saying that they couldn’t tell if it was zombies or people upstairs.  But good old Tommy fesses up that they were just scared.  It’s official, Cooper is an asshole.  From there things get worse Cooper won’t help secure the upstairs and claims the basement as his.  When Ben needs to get into the Basement to get doors (that Cooper isn’t using anyway mind you) Cooper won’t let him in.  The sides are drawn as distinctly as they are in the American political system.  The thing that frustrates me most about Cooper isn’t his obtuse nature, or the way he refuses to contribute to the efforts of the group.  It’s his language.  Who calls people lame brains?  That’s just poor.
The zombies are well done in this film.  The zombie with the broken back on the lawn and the autopsy zombie are two great ones.  The gore is graphic but not over the top.  My best example being the girl with the teddy bear that Barbara shoots in the head.  When the girl gets shot, instead of her head exploding it just sort of pours out the back.  Much classier.

The Beer:
Aroma – 7/10
Appearance – 4/5
Taste – 7/10
Palate – 4/5
   Overall – 16/20
Total = 38/50

The Movie:
Production – 4/5
Plot – 5/5
Gore – 4/5
Zombies – 4/5
  Overall – 4/5


  1. I just happened to stumble upon your site and I dig it! I'm also a fellow fan of NOTLD 90. Very, very much unrated. I run a site/podcast called stop by and check us out. We are not quite the beer connaisseur that you are. But very much enjoy a cold brew or two with our movies.

  2. Thanks James! I like your site. I see you have reviewed City of the Living Dead. It inspired me to dust it off and bump it up in the queue a bit. I'll have to think of a good pairing for a movie so gory. Keep up the good work.