When I talked with horror icon George A. Romero on May 13, 2010, it was hard to know where to begin, considering his first feature, 1968’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, earned a place on the Library of Congress’ film register in 1999. I decided to lead with the metaphorical aspect of his latest film, SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD, which deals with family feuds unmitigated by the pending end of the world, and a novel approach to the zombie problem that reads like fear versus hope. Along the way, Romero puckishly addressed his depiction of gore over the years, why he can’t resist total creative control, why his filmmaker daughter won’t be taking over the franchise, and how things have improved for those zombie extras who are filmed consuming viscera.
SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD is the latest installment of his zombie films, this one continuing the action of his last film, DIARY OF THE DEAD, by following one of the supporting characters from that film. Adding a soupcon of western tropes to the story, the film explores what happens during the zombie plague on a remote island where the threat of undeadness does nothing to heal a longstanding feud between two families, in fact, it exacerbates it. The film stars Alan Van Sprang, Kenneth Welsh, Kathleen Munroe, Devon Bostick, Richard Fitzpatrick, Athena Karkanis, Joris Jarskey and Steffano DeMatteo, among others.
A chance encounter with television’s Mr Roger’s tonsils may or may not have led to Romero’s leap into feature films of the horror persuasion, but since his first excursion with 1968’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, which was made part of the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 1999, he has explored many facets of that genre, while also taking a side-trip into modern jousting via motorcycles with 1981’s KNIGHTRIDERS and issues literal and metaphorical of losing face in 2000‘s BRUISER.