The offspring of the man who pretty much invented the modern zombie movie is now continuing the family business.
G. Cameron Romero, son of legendary filmmaker George A. Romero, is getting ready to direct a movie called Origins that will serve as a prequel to his father's horror landmark, Night of the Living Dead. According to Giant Freakin Robot, a crowdfunding campaign that Cameron started for Origins last fall has proven successful and he's now ready to move into production on the movie, which he also co-wrote.
Cameron said in a statement, "Origins is a great opportunity for me to continue the family tradition of creating haunting and ever-evolving depictions of the undead, and a great opportunity for Romero fans to see a story of zombie inception never portrayed before."
Cameron's dad and nine other people pooled together around $140,000 and made Night of the Living Dead in the Pittsburgh area back in 1968. Not only was the movie wildly successful (it's made over $30 million over the years), but it pushed the boundaries of explicit screen gore and almost single-handedly launched the mythology of the modern zombie as a reanimated flesh-eating corpse.
George's two sequels, 1978's Dawn of the Dead and 1985's Day of the Dead, are considered masterpieces as well. His later films in the series, Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead, have not fared nearly as well, but there is a direct line of descent from George's original movie to contemporary efforts like 28 Days Later, World War Z and The Walking Dead.
While it's interesting and kind of sweet that Cameron wants to continue in his dad's footsteps (the elder Romero seems to be semi-retired for now), one word raises a big red flag for me: "prequel."
The beauty of the original Night of the Living Dead (and most of its children) is that the zombie plague was never really explained. Yes, there was some hooey about radiation from space, but that was mentioned quickly and forgotten. With Origins, Cameron apparently wants to pin down a specific cause for the infection, as explained on his crowdfunding page:
Origins takes place in the Turmoil of the 1960's just shortly before "Night of the Living Dead", and explains how The 'Original' Romero Zombie was created.
In 1962, Dr. Ryan Cartwright was on the scientific and altruistic path to find a way for humans to sustain life in the event of M.A.D (Mutual Assured Destruction), a huge topic brought on by the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Little did he know that over the course of the next several years of his life, he would take a well-funded and military focused journey to the darkest corners of the world… as he creates the ultimate weapon for the government and a curse that will plague mankind for the rest of days.
I'm not sure if I really need to know that story, but I'll wait and see if the movie gets made first. Do you think we need a origin story for the modern zombie? And is the Romero family name enough to help such a movie cut through the vast glut of zombie-related entertainment that's out there today?