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Romero, George (Survival of the Dead, Sequels, Zombies)

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Zombies, zombies, zombies. We’ve been in the midst of a filmic zombie invasion for quite some time now, and with “The Walking Dead” tickling fans’ fancies across the nation, it doesn’t look like the undead will be trying to find more room in Hell any time soon.

As such, it seemed like a good time to catch up with (drumroll) Mr. GEORGE! A.! ROMERO! (APPLAUSE!)

A fan of DC’s own Uncle Creepy, Romero and I broke the ice by chatting about his joint commentary track with my favorite Uncle for the Blu-Ray Survival of the Dead disc. “Oh, it was great fun. I mean, he’s very well-informed, but we couldn’t help but goof around a little bit! He’s a funny guy,” laughs Romero. “I just saw him in Boston or wherever we were there, and we always have a good time together. He’s a good guy.” Awww… I bet it’s fun hanging out with good ol’ Uncle George and Uncle Creepy.

George A. Romero Talks the Dead and More!

Delving deeper into Survival, Romero shared his thoughts on the film’s reception. “Well, the fans seem to like it a lot. I mean, it took some serious hits from critics, but the fans seem to dig it. Every time I go to these conventions, the fans are buyin’ it and liking it. My films seem to take a while to catch on – they’re different. I think some people want sort of the same thing over and over again, and it’s just no fun for me to do that. I’d much rather try to mix it up a little bit and do something different with each one. So I think sometimes there’s an initial reaction to the films, which is ‘we came to see what we saw last time.’ But that’s just not my style.”

This writer brings up the fact that Day of the Dead took quite a while to become the treasure among fans that it is today. “Yeah, it seems to take a while! I guess people just say, ‘Well, I’ll give it a try’ finally, and they wind up diggin’ it. It’s interesting because you’d think that real sort of hardcore horror fans wouldn’t pay a lot of attention to mainstream critics but it happens, and there’s an initial knee-jerk sort of reaction. If people read a couple of bad reviews on something, then they stay away from it for a while. So I think part of it is that – finally people try it on for size and decide for themselves whether they like it or not. I’ve also been extremely lucky in that [my fans] in particular want to have the whole collection of films! So my stuff seems to have a really long shelf life. I think probably some people buy ‘em and don’t even look at ‘em for a while [laughs]! It’s actually great – I have no complaints about that. My stuff has had such a long life… When I go to these conventions, I have a line-up of fans – they’re 16 years old and younger, and then there are 70-year-olds who were around when the first film came out, so I sort of stand the decades not only in my life but also in my films!

Romero next shares his thoughts on the aforementioned zombie invasion, on the big and small screen, and potential plans for his own cannibalistic creations. “Zombies seem to be, for some reason…they’re still very popular. Now we still have books coming out and [Frank] Darabont’s doing the Walking Dead thing. Actually that in itself amazes me – I wish [zombies] would go away for a while so I could go back into the woodwork and just do my own little thing. I don’t know if there’s gonna be another one. I have two storylines that I’d really like to do. Survival of the Dead uses a character from Diary and it’s sort of a spin-off in that regard. And I have two more storylines that I’d really like to do that use characters from Diary. I’d love to interweave them and have them meet each other and be able to sort of make a little box set of these four films that would all sort of go together and wind up with some kind of conclusion. I’ll never have the zombies rule the world because I don’t think zombie films are any fun unless there are some stupid humans running around.”

Like other fans, I’m curious if he’ll ever return to the darker territory of Day. “I’d love to do a dark one, a sort of brooding one. I don’t know if that is in any way commercial anymore. I mean, after Zombieland, we may be at the point where people are already starting to laugh at ‘em and they’re gonna be harder and harder to take seriously.” That doesn’t mean Romero is bummed about injecting more humor into his Dead tales. “I love the Looney Tunes stuff, man. I’ll do that till I step into, or stumble into, or fall into my own grave! It’s just, I guess, my nature to have fun. I think you can be dark enough – you can have [a lot] of humor in something and still the overall, over-arching message can be pretty dark. I mean, Christ, I had a pie fight in Dawn of the Dead – I can’t resist that stuff. They were squirting seltzer bottles!

George A. Romero Talks the Dead and More!Some fans have been curious about Romero’s sudden interest in continuity. Well, there’s an answer for that, too.

“The first four films are all owned and controlled by different companies and so I’ve never been able to repeat characters or reuse story themes to carry them over from one film to another because there were copyright issues. So now that I’m able to do that because my partner and I have ownership positions in the last two films, we’re able to [revisit themes and characters], so I’m sort of enamored by that idea and I’d really like to do it.” Any ideas for hero zombies, a la Bub or Big Daddy? “I have an idea for a character that I’d like to maybe develop as a hero that might appear actually in the next two films. Ya just don’t know – it’s all economically driven in the end. So I’m working on a script now that is a non-zombie thing – I can go either way [laughs] .”

A non-zombie project? That Romero promises to be pure fright? Do tell, Mr. Romero, do tell…

“The only thing I can really say about it is…I don’t think of my films as scary. People say to me, ‘Aw, man, that scared the hell out of me,’ and I don’t think of my stuff as particularly scary. I’m not trying to be scary – they’re a little more comic-booky. It’s not the kind of scares that get under your skin. I never really have tried [to be scary] except maybe with the original [Night of the Living Dead] which I think has some creepy moments. I’ve never really tried to do balls-out scares and the [non-zombie] project I’m working on now is strictly a scare show. It’s something that I hope will scare the crap outta you.

When we return to zombie talk, I bring up the fact that the tension between the humans builds the dread towards the next zombie attack, which is where I feel actual fear comes from in his Dead films. Romero has an intriguing response:

“That’s interesting – I never sort of related it that way. I guess my view going in is that, well, it’s inevitable that the [humans] are gonna screw themselves up. And so I’m just waiting for the fatal screw-up that causes the zombies to get the access, finally break through and have their lunch [laughs]! So it’s hard for me to gain appreciation for the tension in it, the stuff you’re talking about. It’s really hard when you’re up close to even fully appreciate what’s going on there or how that’s working on an audience. I fully expect the problems to come in the end so it’s no big surprise to me!

Lastly, Romero’s rumored Deep Red remake project is totally squashed as far as the director is concerned. Seems Dario Argento’s brother, Claudio, contacted Romero about doing the film without approval from Dario himself, who was definitely not into it. When Romero found out about Claudio’s little stunt, he immediately called it quits. “It’s terrible how these things happen, actually,” Romero sighs.

On a brighter note, however, Romero fans can be expecting more from the rejuvenated director soon, whether it’s zombies or otherwise. “I’m having fun doing these things! It’s like going back to the old days – it’s great to have creative control over these projects. It’s almost like a vacation.

Chris Haberman

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Alien: Covenant’s Carmen Ejogo Joins True Detective Season 3

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“From the dusty mesa her looming shadow grows…”

The first season of HBO’s “True Detective” was one of the best seasons ever put on a TV screen. Hands down. The second season was another story altogether. While not a complete waste of time (Colin Farrell owed) the season was basically merely ‘meh’.

But what about “True Detective” season 3?

Well, a few months back it was announced that the third season had been greenlit by HBO, with creator Nic Pizzolatto returning to pen the series and director Jeremy Saulnier (Green Room) taking the helm of the episodes.

Today we have news that Carmen Ejogo – who you may recognize Ejogo from such recent fright flicks as It Comes at Night, Alien: Covenant, and The Purge: Anarchy – will be joining the previously announced Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) for Season 3.

Ejogo will play the female lead, Amelia Reardon, who THR describes as “an Arkansas schoolteacher with a connection to two missing children in 1980.”

Nice Pizzolatto will serve as showrunner and direct alongside Jeremy Saulnier. Executive producers include Pizzolatto, Saulnier, Scott Stephens and season one stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as well as original director Cary Joji Fukunaga. Steve Golin, Bard Dorros and Richard Brown are also credited as exec producers.

Synopsis:

A macabre crime in the heart of the Ozarks and a mystery that deepens over decades and plays out in three separate time periods.

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Danielle Harris Tried to Get Jamie Lloyd into New Halloween Movie

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One of the top films all of us are looking forward to the most here at Dread Central is Blumhouse’s upcoming sequel/reboot thing to John Carpenter’s Halloween.

The new Halloween (2018) film is written by Danny McBride and David Gordon Green and is all set to be directed by Green this year. Recently we learned that original Halloween star Jamie Lee Curtis was going to be returning to the new film.

Not only that, but Curtis’ classic character Laurie Strode would have a daughter… played by Judy Greer. But what about Danielle Harris?

After all, Harris was the star of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5: The Curse of Michael Myers. Let alone, she had a starring role in both Rob Zombie’s remake and it’s sequel. So how about the new film?

Turns out Harris tried to get her character Jamie Llyod (aka the daughter of Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode) from Halloween 4 and 5 into the new film… but she was turned down by Blumhouse and the new creative team. That sucks.

Harris was pretty bummed about the whole deal and took to Facebook recently to clear the air. You can check out quotes from her video, along with the video itself, below.

After that make sure to hit us up and let us know how much you would have liked to see Harris return to Halloween in the comments below or on social media!

“What I am bummed about is… [Laurie] has a daughter,” Harris says. “I was okay with it when she had a son… but they’re saying it’s the last one and… she has a daughter. And it’s not Jamie. It’s just kind of a bummer, I guess. I think somebody had said, it wouldn’t have hurt the movie to have Jamie reunited with [Laurie]. But that didn’t happen.”

“We did put in a call, thought it’d be kinda cool even just to have a little flashback…” She continues. “They were not interested. So. I tried.”

Blumhouse’s Halloween hits theaters October 19, 2018.

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Posted by Danielle Harris on Monday, November 6, 2017

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Through the Cracks – Trick or Treat (1986) Review

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Starring Marc Price, Tony Fields, Lisa Orgolini, Glen Morgan, Gene Simmons, and Ozzy Osbourne

Directed by Charles Martin Smith


I have been a horror fan for more than half of my life at this point. Meaning I have seen most of the quality horror offerings under the sun. But that said, every once in awhile a classic sneaks past so we wanted to create this “Through the Cracks” review section for such films.

Case in point, I had never seen the Halloween horror flick Trick or Treat until last night. I know, right? How the hell did that happen? But these things do happen and so for everyone that has seen the flick a million times, this will be a review of the movie from a super horror fan that – at the age of 33 – is seeing Trick or Treat for the very first time.

Now let’s get to it.

First off you have to love the movie’s plot. Mixing horror and heavy metal seems like a given, yet preciously few films Frankenstein these two great tastes together.

Like many of you out there, I am a big metal fan as well as a big horror fan. The two seem to go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Or Jason and horny campers.

I dig bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and even those hair metal bands (Dokken forever!) and I’m well aware of the legends surrounding playing these records backward.

Off the top of my head, the only other flick that combines the two to this degree is the (relatively) recent horror-comedy Deathgasm. I say more horror-metal flicks! Or should we call it Metal-Horror? Yeah, that’s a much more metal title.

It only makes sense that someone, somewhere would take the idea of “What if Ozzy Osbourne really was evil and came back from the dead (you know, if he had passed away during his heyday) to torment a loner fan?” Great premise for a movie!

And Trick or Treat delivers on the promise of this premise in spades. Sammi Curr is an epic hybrid of the best of the best metal frontmen and his resurrection via speaker is one of the great horror birthing scenes I have seen in all my years.

Add to that the film feels like a lost entry in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. More specifically the film feels like it would fit snugly in between two of my favorite entries in that series, Dream Warriors and The Dream Master.

This movie is 80’s as all f*ck and I loved every minute of it.

And speaking of how this film brought other minor classics to the forefront of my brain, let’s talk about the film’s central villain, Sammi Curr. This guy looks like he could share an epic horror band with the likes of Mary Lou from Hello Mary Lou: Prom Night II and the Drill Killer rocker from Slumber Party Massacre Part II.

Picture that band for a moment and tell me they aren’t currently playing the most epic set in Hell as we speak. I say let’s see an Avengers-style series of films based on these minor horror icons sharing the stage and touring the country’s high school proms!

In the end Trick or Treat has more than it’s fair share of issues. Sammi Curr doesn’t enter the film until much too late and is dispatched way too easily. Water? Really? That’s it?

That said, the film is still a blast as director Charles Martin Smith keeps the movie rocking like an 80’s music video with highlights being Sammi’s rock show massacre at the prom and his final assault on our hero teens in the family bathroom.

Rockstar lighting for days.

Even though the film has issues (zero blood, a rushed ending) none of that mattered much to this horror hound as the film was filled to the brim with striking horror/metal imagery and a killer soundtrack via Fastway and composer Christopher Young.

Plus you’ve got to love the cameos by Gene Simmons (boy, his character just dropped right out of the movie, huh?) and Ozzy Osbourne as a mad-as-hell Preacher that isn’t going to take any more of this devil music. P.S. Watch for the post-credits tag.

More than a few of my closest horror buddies have this film placed high on their annual Halloween must-watch lists. And after (finally) viewing the film for myself, I think I just may have to add the film to mine as well. Preferably on VHS.

Trick or Treat is an 80’s horror classic. If you dig films like Popcornand if you put the film off like I did, remedy that tonight and slap a copy in the old VHS/DVD player.

Just don’t play it backward… God knows what could happen.

All said and done, I enjoyed the hell out of my first viewing of Trick or Treat. But what do YOU think of the film? Make sure to hit us up and let us know below or on social media!

Now bring on Trick or Treat 2: The Prom Band from Hell, featuring Sammi Curr, Mary Lou Maloney, and Atanas Ilitch’s Driller Killer from Slumber Party Massacre Part II!

  • Trick or Treat (1986) 3.5
3.5

Summary

Charles Martin Smith’s Trick or Treat is a sure-fire Halloween treat for fans of 80’s horror flicks, as well as fans of heavy metal music.

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User Rating 3.25 (12 votes)
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