The film industry was left in mourning on Sunday evening when horror mastermind George A. Romero passed away at the age of 77.
Often cited as the founding father of the zombie genre, Romero was a creator ahead of his time, and his living dead defied convention to inspire a generation of actors and filmmakers including Edgar Wright (see: Shaun of the Dead), Ben Wheatley, and Alice Lowe.
What makes George A. Romero’s death particularly saddening is that the illustrious filmmaker was due to attend the annual Fantasia Film Festival to promote Road of the Dead, an apocalyptic thriller from the mind of Matt Birman that blends Fast and Furious, Mad Max, and the undead. Romero had planned to produce the film, prompting Birman to relay a heartfelt message to IndieWire.
The second unit director and stuntman had worked for George A. Romero aboard Survival of the Dead, Diary of the Dead, and Land of the Dead, but it seems Matt Birman now wants to release some of Romero’s unfinished work posthumously. As IndieWire’s report reveals, there are four unproduced, “fantastic” screenplays out there in the ether, and Birman has taken it upon himself to ensure they see the light of day.
“I will stop at nothing to get them made! For him and with him. [George A. Romero] said to me, ‘Let’s get this done so we can get on to the other stuff!’” Birman said, calling the screenplays “fantastic scripts.”
As for Road of the Dead, specifically, Birman still plans to pitch the apocalyptic road movie to investors at Fantasia, and delivered this poignant message via IndieWire:
“Road of the Dead now becomes a legacy film. We won’t only be making the film for him, it will also be with him. He will be by my side and in my ear for the rest of my career, I have no doubt.”
George A. Romero passed away on Sunday at the age of 77 and is survived by a horror legacy that is practically unrivalled.