Friday, October 30, 2015

Young Fears 30: The Night of the Living Dead

Each October I like to run a series of Halloween-themed posts on this blog. All this month, I'll be telling anecdotes about things which frightened me while growing up.

Throughout this month I've looked at formative moments in my childhood where something scared me. For these last two days, I'm bringing it a little closer to my present-day self. At Halloween time in my youth, I would scour the TV guides to find appropriate scary kids shows to watch (an airing of Disney's Halloween Treat being top of my wish list). In my teenage years, I might be lucky enough to watch the TNT Monstervision marathon. One Halloween my mother & I handed out candy while watching my copy of Boris Karloff's The Mummy.

On my first Halloween as an adult, living alone, I turned to that bastion of educational public television Access, where they presented: The Night of the Living Dead (the 1990 remake). Being a snob (both then & now) I recalled Roger Ebert's withering review of said film; however, not having seen the original version of the picture and recalling most of the faults Ebert found were in the comparisons, I decided it wouldn't hurt to watch the remake on its own.

Now, I've seen the original since then and I have to say, I still don't think the 1990 version is that bad. Yes, it musses up some great bits from the original; at the same time, it also offers a better treatment for some of the original material. They're both okay, I think. But the real reason why I stick up for the 1990 version is because I felt that picture. I watched it, I enjoyed it, and then I realized... I was alone. Alone in the house on a dark Halloween night. No more television worth watching. Were my windows properly latched? Better check. Hey, is the bolt drawn in the door? Check that too. Yes sir, that was my first Halloween alone; it was glorious.

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