Join 3,439 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


It took braaaaaaains.
October 20, 2011 11:47 AM   Subscribe

Why George Romero rejected The Walking Dead to make The Zombie Autopsies
posted by Artw (31 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
I saw the title on io9 and skimmed past it, but it's actually a pretty keen little interview, with some nice insight into Romero's decisions.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:02 PM on October 20, 2011


Honestly, I'm glad Romero rejected working on the show. I love me some Romero. Pretty much anything up through the late 80's. But let's call a spade a spade: Land of the Dead was mediocre, Diary of the Dead was unwatchable (the only Romero movie I have ever turned off halfway through), and Survival of the Dead was only barely watchable. The father of zombies hasn't made a decent zombie movie since 1985.
posted by Lokheed at 12:06 PM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not zombie films of his as such, but I'm rather fond of The Dark Half and Bruiser.
posted by Artw at 12:10 PM on October 20, 2011


I love George Romero, and even got to work on some re-shoots of The Dark Half way back when. Such a nice, intelligent man... and those io9 commenters are pissing me off! No love for The Crazies or Martin? Romero's filmography is more than just the ____ of the Dead series.
posted by queensissy at 12:15 PM on October 20, 2011


MetaFilter: God has changed the rules, and somehow this thing is happening.
posted by Splunge at 12:15 PM on October 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Seems like a nice guy, if a little grumpy.

I keep wanting to like The Walking Dead, the but the characters are all so despicable.
posted by mannequito at 12:47 PM on October 20, 2011


Diary of the Dead was unwatchable

Arrrgggghh! I'm supposed to be studying but I have to do my song and dance about that movie and why it so brilliantly fits into Romero's oeuvre. Diary of the Dead is not connected to his other films, but instead it's an update and a meta-commentary on zombie films. If you had watched the film, it has plenty of tongue in cheek clichés of film language that Romero helped create interspersed throughout. But so what? Well remember we're talking about a film with a first person pov narrative. Meaning that instead of the invisible director/editor/narrator, we are given a literal one. Remember, they were film students, filming a zombie movie. If you had watched up through the end you would have seen how he manages to turn some of the stupid clichés we're still fed to this day on their head. The point wasn't to give you another gore fest or a condemnation of some social institution (unless you count horror-film making), it was to give an open ended question of how media in this day and age influences us.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:49 PM on October 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll second P.o.B.

Diary was an interesting movie and it was as effective in its examination of media creation and consumption and the enthusiasm for both as Dawn of the Dead was in its commentary on commercialism. I wouldn't call it great but it it was a better film than it gets credit for, I think.
posted by phearlez at 12:58 PM on October 20, 2011


Zombie Autopsies?

Well don't hire Lohan. She showed up to the morgue late and got turned away.
posted by stormpooper at 1:03 PM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


P. o.B.: The point wasn't to give you another gore fest or a condemnation of some social institution (unless you count horror-film making), it was to give an open ended question of how media in this day and age influences us.

So it's The Inglorious Basterds of zombie movies, then?
(I've not seen Diary, but I am thoroughly enjoying Romero's AMC mini-interviews this month).
posted by Jody Tresidder at 1:38 PM on October 20, 2011


Everyday I'm shufflin'
posted by stormpooper at 2:03 PM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I actually really enjoyed Diary, and find it re-watchable even. Survival was complete utter crap that I can never watch again though.
posted by utsutsu at 2:14 PM on October 20, 2011


Hmm. I've not seen Diary either, but it sound like you might like Charlie Brooker's Dead Set, which pulls off the neat trick of being both a media satire AND an effective zombie drama. It's also properly bleak.
posted by Artw at 2:20 PM on October 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Dead Set was enjoyable but I'd call it more a reality tv satire. And no argument with BLEAK. Goodness.
posted by phearlez at 2:38 PM on October 20, 2011


Oh, Dead Set was great. Loved every minute of it.
posted by Lokheed at 2:51 PM on October 20, 2011


Asking Romero to direct TWD is like asking John Lydon to cover a Rancid song. Which admittedly I'm sure he would do for enough money.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:16 PM on October 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


Are there any dairy products involved?
posted by Artw at 3:25 PM on October 20, 2011


I don't like George Romero stuff, but he is basically the father of zombie movies - and those I do love, with a passion. So credit given where credit is due... however, he would have ruined The Walking Dead, so I'm thrilled he passed it up.

Diary of the Dead was actually the only thing of his I ever did like, because I don't count the remakes (I did not like the originals). The one that came after that (... of the dead? I can't remember) was absolutely terrible.
posted by Malice at 3:56 PM on October 20, 2011


however, he would have ruined The Walking Dead, so I'm thrilled he passed it up.

Can I, in all seriousness, ask how? What has The Walking Dead done that Romero hadn't done first?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:22 PM on October 20, 2011


He's even done the stupid CDC thing, but better...
posted by Artw at 4:25 PM on October 20, 2011


I still haven't seen last weekend's premiere of Walking Dead, but as an avid zombie media consumer I'm just not sure about the show. It's really good at being intense and full of dread, but my god it takes forever for something to happen. It's all atmosphere, no braaaaaaains.

.... which means that it would fit perfectly with the modern Romero treatment. :P

(Added Dead Set and Diary of the Dead (really?? if you say so...) to my to-see list!)
posted by jess at 4:33 PM on October 20, 2011


Wait, he didn't want to work on The Walking Dead because he thinks those zombies are too different from his, and when asked how his are different, he says, "My zombies are purely a disaster. They are a natural disaster. God has changed the rules, and somehow this thing is happening. My stories are about the humans who deal with it stupidly, and that's what I use them for." That sounds exactly like The Walking Dead to me. I don't really get his reluctance.

It sounds like maybe he's only interested in using zombies to explore political and societal issues, whereas The Walking Dead is more focused on the small-scale and the personal. It's more soap opera than social commentary.
posted by painquale at 6:21 PM on October 20, 2011


Maybe that's it, painquale. I thought his response was a bit strange to. And jess - that's totally the point of The Walking Dead! The very, maybe only, reason I like this show (and the few comics I read) is because of how slowly it moves. What we see of zombie apocalypse in (all?) zombie movies is the most action packed few months after zombies took over the world. I think the much more interesting point is what continues to happen, considering the fact that most brushes with zombies will be a little unnerving but probably not near-fatal. Walking Dead nails it.
posted by Buckt at 7:12 PM on October 20, 2011


I don't really get these defenses of Diary of the Dead. I wanted it to be this incisive, devastating satire, as billed by my much-respected then-local-film-critic. Instead its earnest insistence on being about something makes even the excruciatingly heavy-handed Land of the Dead seem subtle by comparison, and I haven't even mentioned the acting. What I will say is that, before I turned it off about 40 minutes in, Survival of the Dead seemed no better or worse than Diary, and I'm surprised that others make the distinction. Actually, would it be fair to say Survival has, if anything, better acting? Am I misremembering this?
posted by Rustmouth Snakedrill at 8:31 PM on October 20, 2011


I still haven't seen last weekend's premiere of Walking Dead
I was really looking forward to it but it was a major disappointment.
posted by unliteral at 10:13 PM on October 20, 2011


The Walking Dead is easily the most overrated show in a decade. The writing is terrible, the acting is terrible. I gave up two episodes in and tried to like it again this year but it is a trainwreck of a show, redeemed only by the presence of zombies. It is the Twilight of the genre.
posted by mek at 11:14 PM on October 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't call it great but it it was a better film than it gets credit for, I think.

It's certainly better than Land of the Dead, which I considered the worst of the Romero "Of the Dead" series until I saw Survival of the Dead. Talk about movie-for-a-rained-out-ballgame. Just terrible.
posted by IvoShandor at 3:11 AM on October 21, 2011


I think the much more interesting point is what continues to happen, considering the fact that most brushes with zombies will be a little unnerving but probably not near-fatal. Walking Dead nails it.

Kirkman has said that 'the walking dead' (and I think Rick Grimes says it in the book much later) refers not to the zombies but the survivors.
posted by phearlez at 8:44 AM on October 21, 2011


I don't really get these defenses of Diary of the Dead.

Let me try again. As an audience we are taken from a general point of 3rd person omniscience and put into a rather restrictive place of 1st person pov. It gives us a unique perspective on what we see. Of course Romero wasn't the first to really try to use the camera as a character but he's probably the only one that's done it successfully. So I could go on about this but I think it's only part of what really makes this movie for me.

Before I go on to that, I just want to say that probably in the past 3 months I've had at least a dozen conversations about zombies. You know what that eventually leads to? Talking about killing them and the best way to do it. Jokey, jokey, "yeah I'd show them", you know how it goes. But would it really go down like that?

(SPOILER HERE) Alright, so early on in the film there's a scene were our group of characters end up at a hospital, and, yeah, it's not the smartest place to be during a zombie apocalypse. So it gets creepy and they have to fight a couple of zombies. This is still a point when they don't know what is going down, and a couple of them end up taking some of the zombies down. At one point the geeky kid has to get in on the action and you are made to face the full spectrum of realization from "Oh shit, I have to fight for my life!" to "Oh, shit, did I just kill something?"
So, yes, I would say that is an awesome scene to watch in a zombie movie, and is a damn good reason to see the whole thing. It makes it that much more scary; you may be killing monsters but you still have to face the fact you are killing.
That's a pretty cool thing to see in a zombie movie. It's about as far as you can get away from Zach Snyder's zombies that are portrayed in one scene as disassociated parodies of celebrities. That scene also shows us that the main characters of that movie are the worst kinds of people in Romero's movies.
Clunky acting? *shrug*Meh. That actually works better in this movie just as it worked well in the UK's The Office. It's actually easier to empathize with the characters feelings rather than agree with a characterization. It's the difference between watching a sad and realistic depiction of how people act and thereby laughing because it's the easiest way to not have to be sad about the situation; rather than watching a straight sitcom with you as part of the audience being pandered to with jokes.

I guess I don't get the hate on for this movie. There are a lot of great things about it that haven't been really explored in other films like this.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:40 AM on October 22, 2011


P.o.B., it does sound like we saw the same film. I guess where we differ is more what we are or are not willing to overlook. I remember the moments you mention, but I can't help but see their genre-broadening potential as having been squandered by the overall poor quality of the film. I mean, to call the acting merely clunky is being pretty charitable. In terms of really effective 1st person POV in a zombie film, I would totally recommend Rec. if you haven't seen it.
Also, props for so succinctly phrasing the problems of the Snyder remake.
posted by Rustmouth Snakedrill at 11:48 AM on October 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I honestly don't think the acting was that bad, or at least don't remember it being that bad. To be fair here, we are talking about a zombie flick. The bar for bad acting is reeeaaaallllyyy low.

Rec is a fantastic film but the sequel is kind of a letdown plot-wise.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:19 PM on October 22, 2011


« Older NPR doesn't like affiliate reporters participating...  |  Building a Computer 1: Numeral... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments