The red band trailer for Romero's latest zombie flick, Survival of the Dead, exclusively hit IGN today and I gotta say, I am not in the least bit excited about the movie. I never thought i'd say that the idea of a new zombie tale from the guy who brought us the best zombie movies ever made would do nothing for me and in fact, I hate to say it, but it's the truth. I also hate to say the next thing i'm about to say, but again, it's just the way I feel at this point - I have pretty much given up on George Romero as a filmmaker. I think the above poster says it all - "Death isn't what it used to be".
Before you cry sacrilege, believe me, I have and always will have the utmost respect and love for George Romero, and not only for his zombie movies but for flicks like Monkey Shines, Martin, and Creepshow too. At one time, he was THE horror filmmaker, but the times they are a changin'. I don't know if he's just losing his ability to make a great horror movie in his old age or if the times have eclipsed him, but the George Romero making movies today is not the same George Romero that was making movies in decades past.
I kinda dug Land of the Dead, even though it wasn't all that special, but it was Diary of the Dead that really made me feel this way. That movie is pure trash and there's just no way in hell that the same guy who made Night, Dawn, and Day made that. It's just not the same filmmaker and while I can't pinpoint exactly what has changed, there is one element that's definitely partially to blame, and that's the use, or overuse, of new technology, in the form of CGI - and by the looks of the above trailer, particularly the flaming zombie at the end, this next installment is gonna be as CGI laden as the last couple.
Now obviously a good story and a good movie would ultimately overcome a couple moments of bad CGI, but CGI in a Romero zombie flick seems like something of extreme sacrilege to me and it has definitely contributed, in my opinion at least, to the downfall of Romero. One of the big reasons we as horror fans love Romero's early zombie efforts is because of the extreme and realistic gore, done by Tom Savini in Dawn and Day. Take out that gore, replace it with bad CGI, and even those movies would take a bit of a hurting. Throw that bad CGI into lesser quality movies, i.e. Land/Diary, and you've got a complete dud on your hands. I know that Romero has been using CGI lately because it's easier and quicker to get things done, but in my opinion there's just no excuse for it. If there's one place CGI does not belong and stands out like an incredibly sore thumb, it's in a George Romero zombie movie, and that's the problem here - the two just don't mix. Why not just bring back Savini to do the gore effects and give all of us fans what we really want?
Again, that's obviously just one reason why i've lost a majority of interest in Romero's films but I think it goes to show that the times have changed him as a filmmaker, and not in a good way. Perhaps it was the lack of technology and that young independent spirit that drove Romero to make great films in the past, perhaps he just needs to stop with the whole zombie thing, or perhaps he needs to step aside and pass the baton to a new generation. But that's just my two cents. Who knows, maybe i'm speaking too soon and maybe, just maybe, Survival of the Dead will be more of a return to form than Diary and Land were. Survival of the Dead comes to Video on Demand, X-Box Live, Playstation 3, and Amazon on April 30th and select theatres on May 28th. I will reserve judgement on the film itself until then. Believe me, i'm hoping Romero makes me eat my words. If anyone's pullin' for a Romero comeback, it's me.
I turn the tables over to you now. Are you excited about Survival of the Dead or uninterested? And if you're uninterested, what do you think George Romero has lost as a filmmaker over the years?