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ZOMBIES BE FREE:ROMERO AND SEQUELS

I’ve been thinking back over the last few years and how the master of the living dead, George A Romero returned, at first to the cheers and wonder of all nerds and horror geeks worldwide, and then proceeded to put out a new series of zombie movies which divide and frustrate the many fans he has amassed over the decades since the initial genre mighty classic Night of the living dead.

I have still yet the watch Diary of the Living Dead (2008), though it sits in my room waiting to be seen. A few weeks ago I viewed the much criticized Survival of the Dead (2009) and I think I found it to be yes, fairly weaker than the previous two new zombie sequels of his, but I felt that it in some ways was gradually returning to a more simpler, basic approach, focusing on the smaller groups and quieter with still some lingering scenes of suspense and chills. It has it’s problems definitely, and is certainly not great, but I see an honest attempt from Romero to move on perhaps, and tell some different tale, but maybe he should have tried it without the zombies.

It would seem that the real big turning points over a decade ago now, were the movies 28 Days Later and then Shaun of the Dead, both from here in the UK, and the first Resident Evil movie. After those, the grounds were laid, audiences were freshly excited by the new post-modern revival of the well known stumbling and unstoppable monsters called Zombies.

Romero eventually returned, with the eagerly awaited Land of the Dead (2005), with much anticipation and nervousness from all interested, hoping to see a new masterpiece from the original master of zombie splatter movies. Land of the Dead, was a complicated beast, thematically difficult, brave, and darkly fearsome. At the time it had some relevant views on the Bush administration and class tensions to offer, and this maybe gave it too much from the returning film of Romero coupled with zombies after so long. Generally though, most people were very happy with this next installment in his zombie series.

While the gore master of social horror metaphors came back and gave us more, around him as the zombie trend and interest build and gathered pace, numerous other cheaper movies were released featuring zombies with usually terrible quality levels. The Resident Evil series of movies continued, though most over the age of fifteen would agree that those movies had brilliant visuals but absolutely lacked a decent script between them, after the first.

We have had dozens of bloody zombie movies, usually with the word Dead in the title, or Living, trying to desperately seem related to the films of Romero. It seems sad and a waste to see so many sloppy, bloody flicks offering zombie horrors to then just be another terrible no-budget, no-script pile of waste. If only Romero had gained the chance to finally direct and write his Resident Evil movie…

Here are some recent bizarrely named offering in the world of living dead: Bong of the Dead, Juan of the Dead, Caustic Zombies, Condition Dead, Colin-with something like two hundred pound budget, The Crazies Remake-scripted by Romero, The Living Corpse, Dawn of the Living Dead-so what they did there, Day of the Dead 2:Contagion, Day of the Dead 3:Epidemic, Dead Girl, Dead by Dawn, The Dead Undead, Dorm of the Dead, Enter the Zombie, Electric Zombies, Gay of the Dead, House of the Dead- from the reliably terrible director Uwe Boll.

We did eventually get the mega-budget latest version of the classic novel I am Legend starring Will Smith. Looking fantastic, while taming down the contaminated hoards-not actual zombies it was arguably the peak.

All usually greatly inspired by the first trilogy of classic Romero zombie films, and just about all of these cheap horror movies barely worth sitting through until the half way mark, just when will the this trend come to a fitting demise? In some way, yes the never ending zombie onslaught does seem to be gradually thinning out as other less explored sub-genres of horror are taken up and filmed.

But with George A Romero, will we get a last stunning masterpiece of zombie goodness to top all others once again? The dead don’t stay dead for long…

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About JAMES E PARSONS

Author of science fiction novels Orbital Kin and Minerva Century-also horror, literary fiction, many short stories and screenplays. Always reading, writing, watching films, playing guitar/bass, and am a husband with a coffee addiction. New horror novel due for 2017. This is my blog, offshoot from my website. It will be where I post current thoughts, opinions, views, reviews, or discussions about contemporary film, movies, books, video games, television series mostly in the horror, science fiction, fantasy and their sub-genre offshoots. The entertainment not in the mainstream (for the most part) and proud of it. Also follow me on twitter- @ParsonsFiction, and facebook - James E Parsons

7 responses to “ZOMBIES BE FREE:ROMERO AND SEQUELS

  1. I think the problem with Land of the Dead is this: How can a now wealthy filmmaker like Romero get a true sense of how us middle-class film-goers feel about corporate manipulation, favoritism and influence. It came off a little cartoonish and would have been much better if the message was more subtle. Like the Zombie movie list – didn’t know about some of these. It’s probably better that way.

    • true, I agree about the troubles of film makers who eventually become very successful possibly losing earlier view close to working class/middle class political issues, but I don’t know, he may not be so wealthy, like many musicians, many are poorer than expected.
      I agree about the cartoonish vibe of it, and maybe he might have rushed the script due to an excited but commendable urge to produce a new zombie flick commenting on present political times.

  2. Zombease

    For me Land of the Dead, wasn’t “believable” in the sense that the rate of decomposition in the Zombies would have been so fast, that a “virus” would never be able to evolve the way it did to allow them the very sudden skills they seemed to posses.

    The Zombies in Land of the Dead were much more that of Ghouls that Undead… if you know what I mean.

    • Right I get what you mean, and valid point about decomposition etc. It’s true, very ghoulish, but then a few recent movies have taken liberties with the classic zombie characteristics but then maybe their films do not rally feature ‘true’ zombies like you say.
      Land of Dead was pretty good, I mean impressive budget, cinematography etc for Romero but Like you suggest flawed in places but maybe he wanted to try to progress, with not entirely successful or convincing results.

  3. Bobby ⋅

    I’m amazed that one man’s zombie movie could father so many others. I think I’ve only watched three zombie movies, with the most recent being Diary of the Dead. To be honest I liked it, even though my cousin, who I work with at Dish, was groaning the whole time. I didn’t understand that she was miserable because Romero has done better. I appreciate you taking the time to write this; it seems that I have quite a few Romero films to watch. Thanks also for all of these other different zombie titles. I’ll likely add them all to my Blockbuster @Home queue so that I can see what you and my cousin disliked about Romero’s recent work.

  4. Very interesting post. I’ve long been that guy who tells anyone who’ll listen (and plenty who don’t) that Night is probably the greatest film ever made so as soon as I saw you Tweet about Romero, I had to have a read. I’m with you on most of this other than Survival. I found almost all of it lacking, sadly. Still, Romero deserves respect for his previous works. If anyone’s looking to check out his earlier stuff, The Crazies is a good place to start.

    • The Crazies-Romero version-is maybe his only film…no, Monkey Shines too. Those two I haven’t seen from George.
      I do agree about Survival lacking quite a bit. Maybe he was stretching himself in a way that did not suit his style, or the horror genre. Some cool zombies/deaths etc in there.
      Have to now see Crazies, and the remakes soon. Thanks

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