Every year around Halloween, the guys at RiffTrax host their annual horror “RiffTrax Live” event, spoofing some of the most well-known or terrible horror films of all time. Last year, the horrendously awesome “Birdemic” was the subject of the event. This year, instead of finding a movie on the same level of atrociousness, the Rifftrax guys ripped into George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead.”
The film, which debuted in 1968, sits in public domain due to an idiotic rule existing at that time that required a copyright year to show on the film reel on the screen, which the editors left out. Because of this, it is legal for anyone to sell, remake or make fun of it. That is both a blessing and a curse. The film still holds up today. Sure, the female lead, Barbara, has about as much as charisma as a tombstone, but the plot still resonates because of the character’s interactions. This makes spoofing the original hard to do in many places.
The master RiffTrax spoofers do a decent job of cutting into Barbara, but rely on the zombie “brains” meme, which is rarely uttered in any zombie movie starting with Romero’s zombie original, too much. Any fan of the zombie genre will see through many of the themes touched on as stereotypical tropes that, for the most part, do not apply to “Night.”
Spoofing works best on two kinds of movies. They either have to be the worst piece of art ever or something like Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room” that is so serious that it becomes funny when the movie turns out bad . “Night of the Living Dead,” a good movie that does not really fall into either category, which is readily available for free across the Internet, is not a good subject for an event of this type. I suggest watching the original without RiffTrax commentary and it’s stellar 1990 remake.