The Reel Cinemaniac: Got Zombies?

The modern zombie horror genre wouldn’t be what it is today without the work of George A. Romero. I think horror fans agree, by and large, that George A. Romero is singlehandedly responsible for the fact that zombies have become a cultural icon today. We wouldn’t have television shows like The Walking Dead, Z Nation, and iZombie if it wasn’t for the work of Romero’s brilliant mind. Yes, the name Romero will forever be associated with the shambling deceased. More so now that his son, George Cameron Romero, has taken up his father’s undead mantel and begun working on the ultimate tribute to his Pops. It was announced on Halloween 2017 that George C. Romero’s original screenplay, written as an origin story for his father’s zombie franchise, is officially going into production. The film’s title: Rise of the Living Dead.

For those who have been following George C. Romero on social media, the fact that he has been working on a prequel story was no big secret. I, for one, think a prequel story to Night of the Living Dead is an interesting idea. His father’s original film doesn’t really get into what caused the dead to rise from the grave. Sure, it does tease that the cause comes from an extraterrestrial source. However, the film isn’t about where it all started; the cause never warranted that much attention, I’m afraid. The Zombies are here and must be dealt with; the ‘why’ was irrelevant. I’m certainly curious to see where Romero went with this new iteration. Will the new film follow in the footsteps of its predecessors? Or will it sprout a new branch on the family tree?

As for the ins and outs, no schedule or release date for Rise of the Living Dead has been announced. However, it was announced that Terminator: Salvation and Need for Speed director of photography Shane Hurlbut will be involved in the project, along with makeup artist Robert Kurtzman. Kurtzman’s filmography includes several horror properties including From Dusk Til Dawn, Thir13en Ghosts, and John Carpenter’s Vampires. It is almost a given that Romero will be helming the film—it is his vision after all—as this project is designed to be a tribute to his father.

It looks like Rise of the Living Dead is really starting to take shape. I can’t wait to see who Romero obtains to star in the film, but he has a great start behind the scenes with Hurlbut and Kurtzman on board. It’s anybody’s guess how this new chapter in the Romero family zombie series will fare at the box office, however, as great as monetary success is, I don’t believe that is Romero’s driving factor. A son’s tribute to his father; a continuation of the family legacy. This should be amazing.

Joshua Simpkins, affectionately known as “Big” Josh to his friends and family, has resided in the scenic KRV for most of his life. He is an alumnus of Kern Valley High School Class of 1997 and graduated with honors from Cerro Coso Community College Lake Isabella Campus in 2009. Josh is a devoted husband, loving father, and extremely proud grandpa. Not to mention his great love of the cinema is apparent in his film critiques.

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