George Romero, the original Father of the Dead, has built quite the legacy over the last almost half century. What started as a very low-budget but extremely well executed project, Night of the Living Dead (1968) proved to be the building foundation for something much larger than itself. This 28 year-old native New Yorker saw art in the most unlikely place, that would be the living dead feasting on the flesh of the living. This controversial horror sub-genre became an ever growing phenomenon over the years, thus providing inspiration to countless future movies. While this franchise was born at “Night”, as the sun rose it continued to thrive. Dawn of the Dead (1978), widely seen as the most commercially successful film of the franchise (as well as my personal favorite), gained mass appeal and brought growing expectations along with it.
As it turned out, that success would be short lived as disappointment after disappointment became the new trend going forward. Day of the Dead (1985), Land of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2007) and Survival of the Dead (2009) poetically mimicked their onscreen personas in regards their box office lives. They each died horrible deaths but yet somehow they just keep coming back to life, only to die again and again. This is the motto of the beloved zombie so it’s fitting that the franchise follows in the same footsteps.
Romero is nothing if not persistent with an unwavering commitment to his vision. Now, at least, there are signs that he may be willing to make some compromises. As a very first, he has bequeathed his directorial chair to someone NOT named George Romero. Meet Matt Birman, the potential new face of the Dead. To say that Birman doesn’t have an extensive resume would be an understatement but Romero sees something in him. A new film is on the horizon and eager fans grow more curious by the minute. George A. Romero Presents: Road of the Dead will be making its debut at the Fantasia International Film Festival which is being held in Montreal from July 13 through August 2. The plot is listed as “The story is set on an island where zombie prisoners race cars in an arena for the sole purpose of entertaining the rich.” Yawn, but hopefully someone’s just setting the bar low, very low. Check out the source link for additional information.