Night Of The Living Dead Prequel From George Romero’s Son Is Moving Forward

When George A. Romero died in July, the world mourned a legendary filmmaker whose work proved to be so influential that the repercussions of his 1968 feature length debut, Night Of The Living Dead, can still be seen in cinema today. Indeed, Romero is often heralded as the ‘father of the zombie film,’ and with good reason – that debut feature created an entirely new sub-genre within the realm of horror, and made it the one of the most groundbreaking and subversive releases of its time, to boot.

As you may know, Romero’s son, Cameron, is also a filmmaker, and has a prelude to his father’s movie in the works – titled Rise Of The Living Dead – about which he has just given an update.

To recap, the younger Romero began an Indiegogo campaign in 2014 to fund the production of his script, which was then titled Origins. That fundraising campaign was successful, and achieved its $30,000 goal entirely. Many have been wondering what the status of the project is though and Romero has confirmed on Facebook this week that the film will now be known as Rise Of The Living Dead, and will indeed be made independently.

“Many of you know that I have been working to tell a story for many years. My dad read the script and called it ‘genius.’ Many have approached me about making this film and I’ve said no to many because even though I’m not a ‘precious’ artist, this one is special… this one is mine… this one… is my love letter to my dad… to his work… to the fact that he was once called the most dangerous filmmaker alive… to the fact that society in 1968 wanted to shut him up as much as they wanted to celebrate him.

“This one is the prelude to Night, the film that created the pop culture phenomenon that has inspired thousands of filmmakers from backyard auteurs to $180M features to the single longest running and most successful show in the history of television. This one has been a long time coming. And it is my absolute promise to you all that this film will be everything it needs to be.”

From what we understand, Rise is set in 1962 and explores the creation of the zombies seen in George A. Romero’s classic work. Here’s the official plot synopsis:

“In 1962, Dr. Ryan Cartwright was on the scientific and altruistic path to find a way for humans to sustain life in the event of M.A.D (Mutual Assured Destruction), a huge topic brought on by the Cuban Missile Crisis. Little did he know that over the course of the next several years of his life, he would take a well-funded and military focused journey to the darkest corners of the world… as he creates the ultimate weapon for the government and a curse that will plague mankind for the rest of days.”

There’s surely no better time than now for a return to the ideas set forth by George A. Romero in 1968. Night Of The Living Dead was famously borne of a tumultuous time of great change and conflict – particularly within American society, but also around the world. The United States had recently endured the assassinations of JFK, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Robert Kennedy and Malcolm X, and was embroiled in a controversial and brutal war in Vietnam that was increasingly unpopular among the U.S. citizenry.

These events were playing out against a backdrop of sexual revolution, a backlash against patriarchal attitudes and social policy, and a deep disillusionment with authority – and then the Night Of The Living Dead came along and skewered it all with horror-based satire and gruesome, unflinching focus. Much of this context still exists today: the unpopular overseas military actions; the backlash against patriarchal attitudes and social policies; and the deep and abiding disillusionment with authority – and so a prelude to Night Of The Living Dead is almost guaranteed to resonate with audiences.

While there’s currently no information as to when filming may begin, it does seem that cinematographer Shane Hurlbut, A.S.C (Terminator Salvation) will be involved in the project, along with Special Make-Up Effects Artist Robert Kurtzman (House On Haunted Hill, It Follows, Gerald’s Game). All in all, Rise Of The Living Dead is shaping up to be a very exciting prospect indeed.