David Emge in Dawn of the Dead

I have been a fan of George A. Romero ever since I first watched Night of the Living Dead late one night at a friend’s house growing up. My obsession only continued to grow and reached new heights in high school when I was introduced to Dawn of the Dead, and it was pretty much over for me at that point.

So you can imagine how excited I was when I read a May 2021 article in The Hollywood Reporter about plans to revive George A. Romero’s Twilight of the Dead, a project that the horror icon first started working on prior to his 2017 death. And while the movie is still in the very early stages of development, it seems to be very much alive (or at least undead) thanks to director’s widow, Suzanne Romero, and a group of horror writers who helped expand the original treatment. There is still much to be worked out before the movie sees the light of day, but I have more than enough reasons to be excited…

Joseph Pilato in Day of the Dead

The Idea Of Watching Another George A. Romero Movie In Theaters Has Me Feeling Like A Teenager Again

When I first read THR's article about Suzanne Romero, the late horror icon’s widow, resurrecting the Twilight of the Dead project, I was immediately jumping with joy at the thought of hopefully seeing it in theaters someday. I have a long history of seeing George A. Romero’s zombie movies on the big screen, one that goes back to the summer before my senior year of high school when Land of the Dead opened at my local cinema and I became one of the first people in my town to see the horror flick.

I feel like a teenager reading about Land of the Dead for the first time in an old copy of Fangoria, and it is hard to contain my excitement for Twilight of the Dead. If and when it gets made, I will be seeing the first screening on opening day, even if it means driving five hours (to hopefully not be disappointed) again.

The Night of the Living Dead (1990) cast

George A. Romero’s Widow Has Said Twilight Of The Dead Is The Movie Her Late Husband Wanted To Make

In the aforementioned THR article, Suzanne Romero, who created the George A. Romero Foundation to preserve her husband’s legacy, explained that the late filmmaker worked on a treatment of Twilight of the Dead prior to his death, and it was later fleshed out by a trio of horror screenwriters. And even though the iconic filmmaker himself didn’t write every line of dialogue, Suzanne Romero did say the film was what he wanted to make and is still very much a Romero zombie movie.

This is similar to the case of Tom Savini's 1990 Night of the Living Dead remake, which featured a slightly new and improved script from George A. Romero. By taking the basic outline of one of the best horror movies of all time and making a few changes, the combination of the writer and director went above and beyond what was required for a remake.

Eugene Clark in Land of the Dead

It Sounds Like Twilight Of The Dead Will Continue The Evolution Of Zombies Seen In Land Of The Dead

While Land of the Dead is far from my favorite George A. Romero zombie movie, it is one of the entries in the franchise that has grown on me tremendously in the 16 years since its initial release. One of the most fascinating aspects of the movie was the evolution of the zombies, specifically Big Daddy (Eugene Clark), the gas station attendant-turned-zombie led an army of the undead to crash the ivory tower that was Fiddler’s Green. After bringing down the facade and exposing the wealthy to the reality of the world beyond their “security,” the zombies just go about their business.

This is something I have wondered about for years now, and according to Paolo Zelati, who helped write the Twilight of the Dead treatment, in the THR piece, this is something the horror icon wanted to pursue in the future. This seems like the natural progression considering the introduction of Bub (Sherman Howard), the slightly-intelligent zombie in Day of the Dead and further expansion of this idea in Land of the Dead. And while I hope we don’t get talking zombies or an undead U.S. Senator, I am eager to see where this goes.

Joshua Close in Diary of the Dead

We Can Wipe The Bad Taste Left In Our Mouths From Diary Of The Dead And Survival Of The Dead

As I mentioned earlier, I drove from one corner of the state of Louisiana to the other to see Diary of the Dead when it was released in March 2008, and to say I was let down would be an understatement of epic proportions. I went from jumping out of my friend’s van and running to find a seat before the movie started to throwing my hands up in the air in disappointment. The movie lacked that “George A. Romero” feel and honestly felt like a random zombie movie with its found footage approach to the narrative. I didn’t think it could get any worse and then I saw Survival of the Dead, a movie I try to wipe from my memory.

With the direction of Twilight of the Dead, and how it follows up the ideas from Land of the Dead, there’s a lot of potential here and maybe, just maybe I'll be able to wipe the bad taste left in my mouth from the two most recent George A. Romero movies.

Zombies walking in Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Twilight Of The Dead Will Hopefully Give Us A Fitting End To George A. Romero’s Walking Dead Series

Even though none of the characters introduced in any of George A. Romero’s zombie movies show up more than once (well, besides Tom Savini’s Dawn of the Dead character showing up as a zombie in Land of the Dead), it always felt like there was a natural progression of the world in which the visionary filmmaker built. The zombie outbreak is a new phenomenon in Night of the Living Dead, society only recently crumbled in Dawn of the Dead, things are worse off in Day of the Dead, and society has attempted to rebuild itself in Land of the Dead. Those titles also share something else: hope for a better day. And it seems like that’s the natural progression in Twilight of the Dead with the logline:

The story is set in a decimated world. Life has all but disappeared. But there still may be hope for humanity.

In THR’s breakdown of the process of putting together Twilight of the Dead, co-writer Paolo Zelati explained that the movie was George A. Romero’s way of saying goodbye to the genre he created all those years ago and bringing the series to a proper ending. What better way of doing this than by holding out for hope for humanity and watching survivors turn the corner by rebuilding a new society in a post-zombie world?

Another reason I am excited about Twilight of the Dead, which would undoubtedly be one of my most anticipated upcoming horror movies, is that it could open the door for someone to come in and make a version of Day of the Dead that is faithful to George A. Romero’s epic original script. And while we have a ways to go before we see Twilight of the Dead in theaters (we’re still in the early stages of pre-production), there are a ton of 2021 movie premiere dates to hold us over while we wait for the ensuing zombie apocalypse. In the meantime, I guess I can just try to figure out whyI can't watch Dawn of the Dead streaming...

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