George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead came out in 1968 and changed the world of horror movies by introducing the living dead as we know them today. Earlier this year, it was announced that there was a title out there by the name of Night of the Animated Dead. The film was rated R by the MPAA, but other than that, not much was known. The details are still sparse, but today, we have our first look at the animated remake of the classic zombie film.
Take a look at the new title treatment for the animated Night of the Living Dead reboot from Warner Bros below.
This gives us our first look at the style of animation we can expect. Warner Bros hasn’t yet given us a release date. It was said that the Night of the Living Dead movie will be available for Blu-ray, DVD, and digital, but nothing about streaming the movie was mentioned, though the possibility of it appearing on HBO Max is still there.
The new animated movie will feature the talents of Josh Duhamel as Harry Cooper, Nancy Travis as Helen Cooper, James Roday Rodriguez as Tom, Katee Sackhoff as Judy, Dulé Hill as Ben, Jimmi Simpson as Johnny, Katharine Isabelle as Barbara, and Will Sasso as Sheriff McClelland. The original story followed a group of people hiding out in a house together after the dead have begun popping up out of the graveyard. The reanimated corpses are hungry, and familiar to those who’ve seen any zombie films today, though in Night of the Living Dead they don’t actually use the word zombie. While zombies have a long history, Romero’s film is credited with popularizing the flesh-eating undead in film.
In fact, if things had gone differently, George A. Romero may have owned the copyright to the idea of the undead monster and we may not have had movies like Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead today. At the time of the movie’s release in 1968, it was required that you use the little trademark symbol to copyright your work. Night of the Living Dead was released without this, which meant no one owned the work anymore. This was a big oops moment. A few years later the laws changed and movies were better protected, but at the time, this movie was out of luck. If they had copyrighted the movie properly at the time, the movie itself, and the concept of zombies as they were introduced in this film, would have been off limits to other creators until at least 2024 without this mistake. As it is, the original movie is actually available to watch for free on the internet archive.
It likely made Night of the Animated Dead an easier project to make, in terms of trademarks. It’s surprising more doesn’t happen with this material to take advantage of the mistake. At the time, to Romero and others involved, it probably felt terrible. However, it also probably worked in Night of the Living Dead’s favor, in that it spawned its own genre within horror and became such a legend.