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Land of the Dead

August 26, 2005 ・ Blog

I went to a preview showing of John George A. (oh my god: John – what was I thinking?!) Romero’s new zombie flick, Land of the Dead, tonight. It was pretty good, though it wore its politics heavily on its sleeve. The metaphors were laid on very thickly, with talk of Jihad and showing how the little people are fucked over by The Man (i.e. the WASP).

Something that struck me as we watched it was the somewhat uncomfortable contrast between the be-good-to-each-other ethos that lies behind the film and the lovingly rendered gore and the bloodthirsty reactions of the audience (it was a fan showing, naturally) which cheered and laughed as every victim (whether zombie or human) was eviscerated.

Great shot, eh? Romero is the one in the ponytail. He looks surprisingly old.

At the end of the screening, Romero, one of the film’s producers and the main make up bloke (Gregory Nicotero, I think), came up on stage for a question and answer session, which was nice, though it focused on plugging the upcoming uncut DVD release rather a lot.

The questions were a bit dull (not that I could think of anything particularly interesting either) but Romero’s response to one about his involvement with the Resident Evil films was amusingly unambiguous. “I was basically fired from the project,” he chuckled. He then laid into the (it’s fair to say) travesties that they turned out as, saying that film he’d planned followed the game closely, starting outside the house, moving inside and then down through its levels below ground. “I stupidly felt that that’s what they wanted,” said Romero, adding that the person that runs the production company that took over the film is as good as the person that cleans up the toliet paper.

Though, as I said, Romero’s touch is hardly subtle, it would have been good to see what he’d have done with Resident Evil. As he said in the talk, it’s sad how few horror and fantasy filmmakers attempt to use the format to provide metaphors for issues in the real world, heavy handedly or otherwise.

EDIT: No wait, my chum Evan has reminded me of an entertaining question from a particularly hapless audience member. “George, would you consider doing a prequel to Night of the Living Dead?” Romero paused bemusedly before replying. “Well, that would be a film about people just going about their normal everyday life, wouldn’t it?”