Sunday, October 28, 2012

At the IMAX :: They Came and Got Me, Barbara :: Night of the Colorized Ghouls -- IN 3-D!

Since not one single theater in my entire state participated in TCM and Fathom Film's double-feature of Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein this past week -- and every movie house from Omaha to Scottsbluff should be ashamed of themselves -- I took some solace in the consolation prize: a weekend screening of the original Night of the Living Dead at the local IMAX. Sure, the print showing was a colorized and retro-fitted 3-D version, but, eh, I decided I shouldn't squander an opportunity to see it on the big(ger) screen. And so, with a trio of friends, one who had never seen it before, we went and a jovially ghoulish time was had by all. 

Now, I had already seen a colorized version of NOTLD, and am happy to report that this version, at least, has been corrected and the rampaging flesh-eaters are no longer a fluorescent shade of lime green. (Though no explanation is ever given as to why Ben's sweater kept changing color from scene to scene.) Personally, I think colorizing old films is pretty pointless and a waste of both time and resources that could and should be spent restoring older prints, period, but I don't take that much umbrage when they do -- as long as the B&W versions remain available, which, when having to choose between the two is an absolute no-brainer. Here, I wasn't choosing and decided to take what I could get. And in this film's case, the initial colorization tended to derail things right off the bat when the whole cemetery scene is torpedoed because of the cemetery ghoul's all-too-obvious greenish pallor, meaning even Barbara could see that some THING was coming to get her, robbing the audience of that initial shock moment that sets the tone for everything else to come.

The 3-D conversion was pretty worthless, too. This, I think, can be blamed mostly on the source material involved. The print looked pretty horrid in spots -- make that most spots, which was then compounded when it was blown up to cover 5-stories worth of screen. Parts of it looked okay, even great in a couple of rare occasions, but this overall inconsistency of sharp focus one moment to amorphous blurry bleaugh the next made for a frustrating and eye wearying viewing experience.

But you know what? Despite all the technical complaints, and visual hiccups, I'm happy to report that Night of the Living Dead still persevered because, as we all know, the movie is just that good.

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