Romero presents Deadtime Stories?

An Associated Press article, posted at Vindy.Com, tells us that George Romero is teaming up with actor-writer Jeff Monahan (who appeared in Romero’s BRUISER and THE DARK HALF) to create a direct-to-video horror anthology, titled “George A. Romero Presents…Deadtime Stories.”
According to Monahan, the anthology will consist of three half-hour episodes. The first episode is to begin filming Monday on the campus of Penn State in Fayette Country.
The article contains no quotes from Romero, nor is the extent of his involvement clarified, beyond lending his name to the title. The project is not listed among either Romero’s or Monahan’s credits at the Internet Movie Database.

Romero says Diary 2 rumors are premature

A few days ago, Horror-Fanatics.Com posted a report that George A. Romero had drafted a screenplay for a sequel to DIARY OF THE DEAD. I wrote a post in which I originally described this report as, mostly likely, “wishful thinking” – but I quickly revised my post when Hollywood Reporter posted an article supposedly confirming that DIARY 2 had been green-lighted.
Well, it seems I was right the first time. E-Splatter.Com has a quote lifted from an interview Romero gave to IGN, in which he says the sequel talk is premature:

“I’m not sure where that came from. I wouldn’t mind continuing the discussion, but nothing is decided yet. Euphoria seems to have set in even though the film has only screened about six times.
“The only way I can see it being worthwhile is if we use the same characters, which would be the first time I have done that. I don’t have an idea yet, but if the idea and the money can meet somewhere in the middle, it’s possible.”


Diary of the Dead 2? Updated: Romero says not yet

diaryofthedeadzombie.jpgHollywood Reporter confirms that DIARY OF THE DEAD 2 will be a reality:

Although “George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead” won’t be released until next year, Artfire Films and Romero-Grunwald Prods. have greenlighted a sequel that Romero will direct from his screenplay.

The instant sequel, which will be offered at the American Film Market, will pick up where the first film ends. Fighting their way out of a mansion through a horde of ravenous zombies, the survivors of “Diary” escape to a remote island only to be plunged inot another battle with the dead.
Principal photography is set to begin in the spring.

Horror-Fanatics.Com reports that writer-director George A. Romero has drafted a new script, but this seems to be a premature conclusion. According to statements he made in September at the Toronto Film Festival (which we reported here), Romero had no specific plans to begin work on a sequel.
That was over a month ago, but it seems unlikely that Romero could have gotten the greenlight and churned out a completed screenplay in so short a time. Most likely the plot synopsis in the Reporter is based on a treatment.
UPDATE: E-Splatter.Com points us to an IGN interview in which George Romero says the reports of a sequel are premature.

Diary of the Dead at Screamfest – Review

This year’s installment of Screamfest – the Hollywood horror film festival – got off to a great start on Friday evening with George A. Romero’s DIARY OF THE DEAD. The Mann Chinese 6 Theatre, located on Hollywood Boulevard, was surprisingly not sold out – which is incredible, considering that this is the new zombie film from George A. Romero, the man who pretty much invented the genre as we now know it. At least the enthusiast crowd was pumped up for the event, and several came attired as the living dead, one with a zombie baby.
Romero was a no-show at the film’s Hollywood premier. In his stead, producer Art Spigel read a note from the writer-director:

“Thank you very much for showing up to this thing. I’m in Europe; otherwise, I’d be there with you. Thanks to the Weinstein Company and to Screamfest for premiering the film on the West Coast for all of you. I loved doing DIARY OF THE DEAD; it’s really a liberating experience to make the film the way you want to. I got the idea because of the explosion of media out there. Everybody’s a reporter; everybody’s on MySpace and YouTube. There’s all these millions and millions of voices, and I wanted to do something that reflected that. So, anyway, it’s really one from the heart. I love it, and I hope you do too.”

By now, you probably know that the story involves a group of students shooting a horror film when the living dead phenomenon strikes. With its use of documentary-style hand-held cameras, the comparisons to BLAIR WITCH PROJECT are inevitable but also extremely superficial. This is not a film about some people lost in the woods; it really is about the way that new digital technology has allowed people at the ground level to bypass traditional media to get their own voices heard. Although the film is told 90% through the eyes of our central characters, glimpses of from around the globe are provided through other video that has been uploaded to the Internet, allowing a worldwide picture of the Apocalypse to emerge.

The faux documentary approach – with action recorded in long, uninterrupted takes – seems diametrically opposed to Romero’s usual style (he has often said that he would rather have 100 bad shots than ten good shots, because with that much coverage he can make the scene work in the editing room), but it perfectly suits the material and thoroughly re-invigorates Romero’s approach to it. If you didn’t know that Romero himself directed this film, you would think it had been fashioned by some young brilliant young wunderkind director, reared on Romero’s work and eager to stake out his own claim to the territory.
The pacing is not great. Romero has points he wants to make and he takes his time making them. But the characterizations and performances are strong and the overall effect is one of chilling despair – the world is going to Hell, and it’s not clear that there is anything worth saving.
Obviously, Romero has aspirations that extend beyond simple splatter, but he does deliver. This is not a gore film, although it is punctuated with a series of shocking moments that should please the hard-core horror crowd. Along the way, Romero pokes fun at genre expectations (the film-within-a-film is filled with silly cliches, like a running girl who conveniently falls down so that the slow-moving mummy can catch up with her and rip her dress), then fulfills them (still in costume, the actor playing the mummy turns into a zombie near the end – and recreates his movie scene for real).
These witty asides – along with the occasional scythe through the skull, and a remarkable scene wherein a zombies eyes blow out when defibrillators are applied to her head – provide the horror movie shtick that fans expect. But the real horror comes from watching a document of the death of civilization, a nightmarish depiction of the world as we know it falling apart, while our characters struggle for survival and dance around the question of whether there is even any reason left to survive.

Dawn of the Dead (1979) – A Retrospective

[EDITOR’S NOTE: DAWN OF THE DEAD makes another appearance on home video today, this time in the Blu-ray format, so we took this opportunity to post a retrospective-review of the film, including an interview with writer-director George Romero.]
DAWN OF THE DEAD (1979) billed itself as “the most intensely shocking motion picture experience for all times,” and this was a rare instance of a film that lived up to its advertising hyperbole. This sequel to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968) abandoned the shadowy black-and-white creepiness of its progenitor in favor of a brightly lit color canvas that was bigger, broader, and bloodier. The film established a new record for explicit on-screen carnage, but it also extended the scope of the original film, taking the living dead phenomenon out of the farmhouse and unleashing it upon the world at large. This time out, the production values are superior; the acting performances are uniformly strong; and the script develops its themes more explicitly, with obvious satirical jabs at modern consumer society, as epitomized by the indoor shopping mall where a small band of human survivors take shelter from the zombie plague sweeping the country.
Continue reading “Dawn of the Dead (1979) – A Retrospective”

Land of the Dead (2005) – Film & DVD Review

George Romero’s return to the LAND OF THE DEAD proves that the writer-director has lost none of the talent that made him one of the most important figures in the history of horror movies. His film is a witty, clever, action-packed piece of violent pop art that benefits from the backing of a major studio (slick production values and a bigger scope than any of his previous zombie films) without succumbing to many of the pitfalls. Which is to say, Romero retains his bite: not only does the excessive gore show little signs of compromise to get an R-rating; more importantly, he creates a radically subversive scenario that few contemporary filmmakers would dare to emulate.

Continue reading “Land of the Dead (2005) – Film & DVD Review”

Will Romero write a new page in Diary of the Dead?

Bloody-Disgusting.Com has a vague kind of scoop gleaned from George A. Romero, whose latest film, the independently shot DIARY OF THE DEAD, was picked up for theatrical release by the Weinstein Company at the Toronto International Film Festival:

[Romero] tells us that IF the film is a success the Weinsteins will want him to write another one, which will begin directly after the conclusion to DIARY. Unfortunately you won’t know what I’m talking about until you see the film, but it’s a pretty cool finale that leaves our lead characters in a very uncomfortable and tight position.
Otherwise Romero explained that he doesn’t really have any direct plans to go forth with the franchise right now and has other projects he’d rather be doing, like SEASON OF THE WITCH. So the fans will have a huge impact on when we might see more of the undead!

Pretty weak tea, if you ask me. Despite the emphatic headline on the post (“Romero Has Plan for SIXTH Zombie Film!”), we are actually told that he does no such specific plan, but he expects the distrbibutor to ask him to make a sequel if DIARY OF THE DEAD is a success.