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Reliving Night of the Living Dead at the Dryden Theatre

Night of the Living DeadRecently I had the pleasure of reliving the late, great, George A. Romero’s seminal fright film Night of the Living Dead at the Dryden Theatre, located in Rochester, NY, my home town.

I’d seen Night of the Living Dead countless times before, but never on film — and never on the big screen.

The first time I saw Night of the Living Dead was when I was 12. I had purchased a cheap copy of the film from Wegmans (a supermarket chain that originated and is headquartered in Rochester) after discovering it in a boxed set sandwiched between five other public domain zombie films, all of which featured the first wave of zombies (drugged Haitian men and woman, under the influence of voodoo magic, mindlessly doing their master’s bidding).

This first viewing of Night of the Living Dead, (on a crappy copy of a copy of a copy) forever changed me.

It signaled a step forward in my evolution as a horror fan, and this screening at the Dryden signaled another step. An important step. Namely it signaled that I had evolved from a horror fan content with seeing cheap facsimiles of fright films on scratched DVDs and VHS tapes with wonky aspect ratios, to going and seeing those same fright films as they were meant to be seen, on the big screen, on film.

Not that there’s anything wrong with seeing horror films, or any films for that matter, on DVD, VHS and or Blu-ray. I recently bought 14 new horror VHS tapes for my collection, and at this moment I am in the process of buying more shelves for all the Blu-rays and DVDS I have piled up, waiting to be properly put away.

The difference is, when you see a film, like Night of the Living Dead, at the Dryden Theatre, you’re experiencing the film on the medium it was shot, with people (other than you and your cat) who, like you, love the film and have decided to show their love by going out and seeing the film the way the director wanted it seen in the first place.

This screening of Night of Living dead at the Dryden Theatre is but one of three screenings that will pay tribute to Romero and the celluloid legacy he left behind. I couldn’t have been happier with this first screening of arguably his most well-known, important, and celebrated film. The intro was informative, the print was perfect, and the audience was enthusiastic.

As always I went to the screening with my co-reviewer Josh Blodgett, and as always we shot a video, which you can check out below.

A special thanks to the Dryden Theatre and the George Eastman Museum for allowing me and my co-reviewer Josh to see this historical film and for paying tribute to one of the kindest and intelligent filmmakers to have ever lived.

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