'Night Of The Living Dead' Gets New Score From Greensboro's Modern Robot

'Night Of The Living Dead' Gets New Score From Greensboro's Modern Robot

9:00am Oct 23, 2018
The influential horror film, "Night of the Living Dead," was released in 1968, spawning the zombie film genre. (Film still/public domain)

There’s a chill in the air with Halloween just around the corner.

A/perture Cinema in Winston-Salem is getting in the spirit with a screening of the zombie classic Night Of The Living Dead. But, there’s a twist - a new original score.

It’s being performed by Modern Robot, the creative project of Greensboro musician Ben Singer. As Modern Robot, he and his collaborators have added new music to a variety of movies.

Singer tells WFDD’s Eddie Garcia that after gigs in bars and coffee shops, it was presenting at international fringe festivals that elevated Modern Robot to the performing arts level.

You can see Night of the Living Dead and hear the live film score from Modern Robot at a/perture Cinema, in Winston-Salem, on Wednesday, October 24.

Interview Highlights

On taking the film to fringe festivals:

When I took Night of the Living Dead on the fringe circuit, I edited it down to about 55 minutes from 85 minutes, which was actually very interesting, because not all the acting in Night of the Living Dead is great. Some of it's bad. But my reaction to watching the film was that some of it was really good. So that was my first project with it - essentially keeping the backbone of the movie and keeping all the things that I thought were really powerful and kind of having the freedom to chop out some of the stuff that was cheesy.

On working with the existing music in the film:

I didn't know how that would work until I watched it, and I was like, "Oh, this actually will work!" And it's because it was such a low-budget film that the music was a pretty low priority. They certainly didn't have a composer or even a separate music editor. What they ended up with in the movie generally is if there's dialogue, there's no music because they're like, "It's fine, we don't need to find anything." So, in general, the music is all during the scenes that are either zombie fights, or boarding up the house - the stuff happening, not the people interacting.

On choosing Night of the Living Dead:

When I watched it I was like, "This is a good movie. There's kind of a good movie hiding in here." It had this vibe of cheesy cult, but that's not really what I saw in it. I saw how they were trying to do the story in a way that was really kind of practical. They had the set-up of the zombies, but really then they were just kind of going step by step like, "How do we survive, right now? What would these people's reactions really be?" The whole movie continues in a very no-nonsense [way]. It's not trying to be overboard - which is kind of weird considering how gross some of the movie gets. But there's something really straightforward about it, and something just dramatically realistic in a lot of the way this movie works for me.

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