While I had to miss opening night of Night of the Living Dead Live — damn you, Dark Prince Bunnykins! — the theatrical version of the classic zombie film, put on by the fine folks of Hamilton, Ontario’s Nictophobia Films at Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille, looks to be a fun (and funny) take on George Romero’s debut feature. The DLB spoke to co-writer/director Chris Bond, the man behind Evil Dead: The Musical, and executive producer Phil Pattison about resurrecting NotLD on stage.
Archive for Night of the Living Dead
THE THEATRE BIZARRE
Directed by Richard Stanley, Douglas Buck, Buddy Giovinazzo, David Gregory, Karim Hussain, Tom Savini and Jeremy Kasten
Anthology films are by nature a mixed cinematic bag. After all, some are going to be better than others. Fortunately, in the case of The Theatre Bizarre, it’s more a matter of difference than quality, making this both a sweet and sour mix of horror bon mots that will appeal to various tastes, especially those with an appreciation of the Grand Guignol tradition.
The film’s framing tale sees a young woman (Virginia Newcomb) enter a decrepit theatre hosted by a clockwork figure played by Udo Kier. The figure introduces six tales, creeping ever close to his audience member and curiously growing more human with every story. It’s a creepy framework for a potpourri of nasty narratives.
Survival of the Dead is George A. Romero’s sixth zombie film, and its imminent theatrical run in Toronto, followed soon after by its arrival on DVD and Blu-ray, meant that the legendary horror director, now relocated to Toronto from his long-time home in Pittsburgh, was available to talk.
Set a couple of months into the zombie outbreak, Survival follows a group of soldiers as they seek refuge on Plum Island, a remote piece of land controlled by The Flynns and The Muldoons, rival families whose decades-long enmity has barely been erupted by the outbreak of the undead.
Heavily influenced by the classic 1958 Western The Big Country, Survival is more black comedy than horror film, with Romero fully indulging his love of EC Comics and Looney Tunes cartoons in some of the more outrageous kills. As usual, Romero uses his zombies to help illustrate a larger social principle, rather than simply employing them as bringers of destruction.
This is rather interesting…
AN INDIE FILM FIRST: DVD LABEL BOOTLEGS
ITS OWN RELEASE
NEW YORK, NY – In advance of its Special Edition DVD bow on July 27th, the groundbreaking Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated will first be “released” in a no-frills, not-so-special bootleg edition in May.
“Not everyone who wants to see the latest films can afford to, especially these days,” explains Wild Eye Releasing founder and principal, Rob Hauschild. “So we’re doing our part to ease the cost of entertainment for the average moviegoer.”
In an unprecedented move, Wild Eye will be distributing low-end, cheaply packaged versions of Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated to—well, to anyone who wants one. Due to the unpredictable nature of bootlegging, it’s difficult to say with precision where this DVD will surface, but checking sidewalk blankets in big cities and overloaded freebie tables at genre conventions is probably a good place to start. Once fans have their own copy, Wild Eye is encouraging them to upload it to their favorite file-sharing and Torrent sites. And this give-the-people-free-content approach is in perfect keeping with the not-for-profit Creative Commons ethos that launched the NOTLD:R project in the first place.
“Bootlegs more realistically reflect how fans are watching their favorite movies these days,” argues Hauschild. “We’re just beating the bootlegger to the punch and controlling our content.”
Although the calculated—and publicized—distribution of a bootleg might seem like a commercial oxymoron, in this case it is being pursued with the highest standards of professional craftsmanship. For example, maintaining authenticity in terms of the bootleg tradition is a key part of the project. Not surprisingly, it will boast ramshackle production values, and, having been a shot on a consumer-grade camcorder at a recent screening, will feature crowd laughter that annoyingly overlaps with the soundtrack and, of course, audience members blocking the screen as they rise to take bathroom breaks.
“Prepare for the worst,” warns Hauschild. “Astute bootleg consumers will appreciate the uneven, hastily prepared cover graphics and the grammatically incorrect marketing copy. We also made sure to use top-grade DVD-R’s to burn these copies of the film. It’s important that people view this as not just another bootleg, but the bootleg of the year.”
Described as “remix culture meets classic horror,” NOTLD:R is a curated art show of animated and comic-book style images that “hangs” on the backbone of the 1968 film by George A. Romero. Featuring the work of nearly 150 international artists in staggeringly different styles that range from CGI to sock puppets, NOTLD:R pays tribute to a pop culture landmark in wildly inventive and unpredictable ways. Since its warm reception on the festival circuit in late 2009, it has become a favorite of online horror hosts and legions of zombie fanatics the world over.
The film will be available this summer both online from Neoflux Productions and on a proper DVD, top-heavy with special features, from Wild Eye Releasing.