It isn't often that a zombie movie rules the box office, but that's just what Warm Bodies did earlier this month, easily winning its opening weekend, joining the ranks of zombie movies like 2004's Dawn of the Dead, 2009's Zombieland and the four Resident Evil sequels, which all achieved the same distinction. With The Walking Dead returning to TV with record ratings and World War Z arriving this summer to show what Brad Pitt can do against the zombie apocalypse, it's clear that zombies are as relevant as ever in the pop culture zeitgeist, and are determined to only evolve further.
It might be easy to dismiss zombies as mindless, killing machines (and they are that, too), but over their long history, zombies have also figured out how to move, how to talk, and, in the case of Warm Bodies, how to love again. For a full history of the evolution of zombies in movies, we only ask that you have 8 hours to spare. find 8 hours and become a zombie scholar with our picks >> Posted 02.27.13 by Ryan
When it comes to zombie movies, it's hard not to think of George Romero. The "godfather" of zombies may not have created them — zombies have been around since the 1930s — but he certainly created the modern, popularized version of zombies starting with 1968's Night of the Living Dead. Now 70, Romero has finished his sixth Dead movie in his 40-year career, Survival of the Dead, which serves as a continuation of the zombie apocalypse "reboot" Romero himself started with 2007's Diary of the Dead. For the first time in Romero's zombie career, he is making a quasi-sequel, following a smaller character (played by Alan Van Sprang) from Diary, and giving his center stage in a different movie. Romero explained his motivation for Survival in a interview with ShockTillYouDrop. What inspired Romero to dabble in the Western genre? >> Posted 05.13.10 by Ryan
Survival of the Dead will be the sixth zombie movie from veteran director George Romero, and before the movie is released, Magnet Releasing has produced a final trailer.
Every Romero zombie movie is different, and Survival sees Romero combine the Western genre with horror as the movie depicts two feuding families living on an island with opposing views on how to deal with the living dead. One family believes there is a "cure" for the undead, while the other has a more violent solution for the zombies. watch the trailer, plus links to more gruesome red-band versions >> Posted 04.29.10 by Ryan
With The Crazies debut just a few days away, director Breck Eisner is spreading the word about his remake of George Romero's 1973 original. Eisner told Collider that he would describe his Crazies as "horror-thriller," and, much like Romero has done in countless horror movies, tried to mix social relevance in with the scares.
[F]or me, if you're going to remake a movie, it's got to have relevance today, as it did when it was originally made. Romero's Crazies was made in '73 under the shadow of the ending of the Vietnam War and when we started developing our Crazies, it was after 9/11, under the shadow of the George Bush presidency and the invasion of Iraq, and it seemed like a very similar time in the country and a time that was right for having this movie, which is a terror-horror ride, but one that has some commentary on the use of the military and the use of biological weaponry. So, that social message within the fabric of a genre, exciting movie is something that I think is intrinsic to Romero's early work and one which I wanted to retain in doing this version.
One way that Eisner deliberately decided not to update Romero's original was to shoot the movie in 3-D.
Obviously, I loved Avatar and I've always been a fan of CG and cutting-edge technology. In '95, I did my thesis film at USC; it was a CG-live-action combined film, very early in those days.
But I think those tools should be used on a per-film basis. So a movie like Avatar obviously is right for three dimensions, for heavy CG and digital shooting. But for the film The Crazies, I wanted to have a more traditional filmic quality, the nice tight grain of a Kodak film and the saturation of the colors and the 2-dimensional filmic world.
Despite a limited resume that boasts the poorly received action-comedy Sahara as its only existing feature, Eisner claims he is "drawn to horror."
Pure genre movies are the ones that I am most drawn to and have always been drawn to. And I'm drawn to horror movies that have good story, good character and good character journeys and concepts; I'm not necessarily a fan of movies like Friday the 13th or the reboot of Halloween,although I appreciate the sort of quality that goes into them. The kind of movies that I draw inspiration from, that I most connect to, are those ones I was talking about earlier, ones that set up a world that establish the characters, establish the environment that they live in, establish the relationships first, and then you get to watch this descent into madness as their world collapses around the characters. It feels to me like in order to keep horror fresh and to keep the audience vested in the movie, you have to get invested in the characters, invested in the world that you're creating. You can't just try and comeup with bigger and better and more graphic kills. There are people out there who can do that better than I can. I play to what I feel my strengths are and what my loves are in film and that's character journey and concept and story. Posted 02.25.10 by Ryan
Breck Eisner's The Crazies debuts this week, and while the movie shares many similarities with the 1973 original (written and directed by George Romero), Eisner told FEARnet that his version will be a "reinvention."
I really enjoyed the original movie and felt it was ripe for a reinvention. I liked the script, although I had a somewhat divergent take on it, so I hired another writer, Ray Wright [(Pulse)], to do a rewrite. The first draft followed the structure of the original film a little more closely. The original and the first draft both had this bifurcated view: the movie was half from the point of view of the military and half from the point of view of the townspeople. I felt that by putting any of the movie in the military's point of view, it turned the movie more towards action and less towards horror. I worked with the writers and we excised the military's point of view and focused on the point of view of the hero and the townsfolk. I think it makes the movie scarier, and makes it a darker, more mysterious journey.
Eisner says that the producers of the movie "optioned the story directly from Romero," which initially attracted him to the project. By the time he started work, however, Romero was gone.
His involvement was primarily at the beginning, before I was there. Making the deal, coming up with the basic concept, stuff like that. Once I was there, his view was that I should make the movie and do my own thing. When it was done, we set up a screening and showed him the movie. I called him up after, and he had positive things to say about the movie — he was quite excited about it. That was a nerve-wracking call for me, though! As I dialed the number, I kept thinking to myself, "Do I call him Mr. Romero? George? What do I say?"
Besides budget ("Ours was a modest budget by Hollywood standards, but still far more than Romero had for the original," says Eisner), there will also be other differences between Eisner's and Romero's versions.
Posted 02.22.10 by Ryan
It's definitely not a zombie film. That's one of the things I like about it. Obviously, when you say "Romero," you associate his name with zombies. When you see the TV ads, it feels like a zombie movie, if only due to the pure power of montage. But zombies are — in theory — undead human beings who are decaying. They all have a collective conscious. They all want to eat brains or infect, and they all act as one. The concept of the infected in The Crazies is that they all maintain some sense of their deep psyche. They all act differently, and they may act out based on their own deep-seated desires. That is what keeps it distinctly different from zombies.
There was a sort of "shuffling" quality to The Crazies in the original. It feels a little dated today, but it didn't in 1973. The challenge of watching a horror movie made in the 1970s or something is you have to try to watch it with the eyes of the audience of the day. What really emboldened my thought on remaking The Crazies — the audience is totally different today. It's a movie that still exists under the shadow of war — Vietnam for the original, Iraq for the current audience. You have to make a movie that is true to the original but also true to the audience.
George Romero has spent a good amount of time this year bringing his latest zombie movie, Survival of the Dead, around to festivals such as the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals while patiently awaiting someone to pick up the U.S. distribution rights. At long last, the wait is over. Variety reports that Magnet Releasing, the company that picked up Let the Right One In last year, has nabbed the rights to Romero's sixth Dead movie.
Romero's latest goes the Western route in a story that depicts two families living on an island with differing opinions on how to treat their refuge's living dead inhabitants. Set for release sometime next spring, Magnet will also release Survival on video-on-demand a month before the movie hits theaters. Posted 12.23.09 by Ryan
Another trailer has arrived online for Breck Eisner's remake of George Romero's 1973 horror classic The Crazies. The plot is similar for both movies. People in a small town slowly go insane after a contaminant is released in the city's water supply. Eisner's Crazies, however, is trying for more zombie-like scares, as evidenced in the trailer below. Posted 12.13.09 by Ryan
Danielle Harris is getting some help fighting off the zombie hordes in writer-director Zebediah De Soto's "re-imagining" of George Romero's horror classic Night of the Living Dead, titled Night of the Living Dead: Origins.
THR reports that Bill Moseley (1990's Night of the Living Dead), Joe Pilato (Romero's Day of the Dead), Alona Tal (Supernatural), Jesse Corti (Heroes) and Cornell Womack (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) will join the previously cast Harris to do voice work on the CGI-animated movie. Moseley will play Johnny, Harris' brother, while Pilato and Tal will play the voice of the Coopers, the couple who argue to stay in the basement in Romero's original. Corti will play a no-nonsense New York cop and Womack a news reporter.
Moseley and Pilato's ties to Romero are no coincidence, and De Soto calls the casting "a nod to Romero fans. Horror is a genre and zombie movies are a subgenre that people have been following for years and years." However, De Soto has plans to make his Night of the Living Dead different from the original.
I wanted to make this look like a living Monet; it's expressionism. It's going to be the first zombie movie played on a epic scale. This is the Empire of the Sun of zombie films. I lived through the L.A. riots and saw the city on fire; I remember seeing people running, people getting pulled out of cars. And with 9/11, these images have been ingrained on people of my generation. I just thought that is the way it would really be, a lot of chaos.
Mos Def has also been rumored as another addition to the cast, but no confirmation has been made. Posted 12.05.09 by Ryan
Writer-director Zebediah De Soto isn't the first person to remake Night of the Living Dead, he's just the latest. When George Romero created his zombie classic in 1968, copyright indications were left off of prints, putting the movie into public domain, which is why the movie has been subject to so many revisions and remakes.
Make-up effects guru Tom Savini remade the movie in color in 1990. A low-budget 3-D version was made in 2006, and now De Soto wants to make a CGI-heavy Night of the Living Dead, again in 3-D, that he describes as an "American-style anime." De Soto tried to settle the fears of zombie fans concerned with yet another remake in an interview with ShockTillYouDrop, explaining that his "expansion" of the original will not destroy what Romero originally created.
I know so many people get pissed off about this movie being redone again, but it's not the same regurgitated bulls**t. We're taking this seriously. I loved Romero's movie and there are so many people out there raping it to death, I didn't want to be next in line to the gang bang. But I really wanted to do something that was a little creative but an homage to what he was doing. I want to see a zombie movie on the scale of [the Max Brooks novel] World War Z and the only thing I changed in terms of the terrain is that we go into New York City. This is a post-9/11 world we live in and how would people react to this if it really happened? How would they respond? For me, one of the things missing from zombie films is effects done on a level no one has ever seen before like Spider-Man or The Hulk. Those effects applied to a zombie film.
And how will the effects De Soto use impact the outcome?
[Origins] lends itself more to the movie 9 in that I want this to look like a living painting. The only thing that ever came close to that idea is Zack Snyder's 300 but this is a bit more stylized than that. I originally came from comic books and I was a graphic artist for nine or ten years. I always wanted to see something like this.
The considerable amount of CGI might help De Soto pull off some of his ideas for the movie.
I want to see a helicopter clipping its propeller on a building and careening into a crowd of people. Zombies going through the streets. A thousand people tearing each other apart, zombies tearing them apart, total chaos. [In the original] they were always describing these really big scenes, like Ben says a truck is chased down by a horde of zombies. I always wished I could have seen that.
De Soto has already cast Danielle Harris as Barbara, and is close to bringing in Mos Def to play Ben. De Soto says they have made the actor an offer and are waiting to hear back. "We'll see," said De Soto.
Night of the Living Dead: Origins is currently in production. De Soto and producer Simon West are eying a 2010 release date. Posted 10.05.09 by Ryan
This is a busy year for George Romero. Only two years removed from his last zombie epic, Diary of the Dead, Romero has been making the rounds at film festivals with his latest zombie flick, Survival of the Dead. However, there's another Romero movie out there as well, a remake of Romero's 1973 movie The Crazies, though Romero is only serving as Executive Producer. Breck Eisner (Sahara) is directing this Crazies from a script by Ray Wright (Pulse) and, no stranger to remakes, Scott Kosar (The Amityville Horror and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre).
While the remake is similar in plot to the original — townspeople slowly go insane after a contaminant is released in the city's water supply — both the new poster and the trailer of the remake look ironically more in keeping with the zombie genre than the Romero original, which focused more on the military's inability to control the situation than infected people chasing the non-infected.
The Crazies has a solid cast of horror actors with Timothy Olyphant (Scream 2), Radha Mitchell (Surrogates), Danielle Panabaker (Friday the 13th), and Justin Welborn (The Final Destination), and unlike Survival of the Dead, which is still currently seeking domestic distribution, The Crazies already has a release date in 2010's horror season. You know, February, the month where studios decide to release all their genre pictures to counteract the Oscar hangover.
Enjoy the trailer below: Posted 10.02.09 by Ryan