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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:18 pm 
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George A. Romero


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 Post subject: Re: Passages
PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:23 pm 
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Romero died while listening to the score of one his favorite films, 1952’s “The Quiet Man,” with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter, Tina Romero, at his side, the family said.

I love this. RIP Romero


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 Post subject: Re: Passages
PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:34 pm 
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Gutted. Maybe Criterion can include some tributes on their Night BD if it's coming from them.

RIP Sir.


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 Post subject: Re: Passages
PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:37 pm 
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Poetic. Here's to a life well lived and a great filmography. My heart sank when I read the news.


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 Post subject: Re: Passages
PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:42 pm 
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I just rewatched NotLD a few weeks ago with a friend who had never seen it and isn't a big fan of horror movies, and he came away impressed enough to be interested in seeing the sequels. A big loss.


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 Post subject: Re: Passages
PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:42 pm 
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Ah man. This one really hurts. I'm also furious that Richard Rubinstein is sitting on Romero's two best films, Dawn of the Dead and Martin.


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 Post subject: Re: Passages
PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:54 pm 
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Very sad news but I am extremely glad that he got to return to make another Dead trilogy in the 2000s with Land, Diary and Survival, all of which are as radically different from each other in tone and content as the original three films were. Not to mention in Land of the Dead giving Dennis Hopper one of his best late roles (and John Leguizamo for that matter).

The original Dead films are masterpieces, great fusings of social satire and pure entertainment with a very bleak edge. And of course Martin is also a similar masterpiece of ambiguity, vampire modernisation (with that amazing clash of this classical monster against modern settings,decor and equipment) and someone wishing to be something not being quite the same as actually being it (at least until your wider community starts validating your 'lifestyle choice'!). John Amplas is perfect in that title role and its a shame he didn't get a bigger career from it (though he's also excellent in a small support role in Day of the Dead). Then of course there's the fantastic Knightriders, which is kind of about the same reality/fantasy divide and the resilience it takes to 'live your dreams'!

The very underrated Season of the Witch (which yes does have the famous Donovan theme tune!) is the female-centred version of that same theme, especially of the fusing of repressed sexuality and horrific liberation. Its like a serious version of the recent The Love Witch!

I'm slightly less taken with the rough and ready 1973 The Crazies (but it does have fantastic, tragic performances by Lynn Lowry and Richard France in supporting roles meeting ironic fates, and some really strange editing transitions set to a military drum beat, which provides its own damning commentary on who really caused the outbreak!), but it now seems like a 25 year early premonition of all the "its not shambling zombies but fast moving 'infected' monsters" films like 28 Days Later and the Dawn of the Dead remake!

In some ways Romero's biggest theme was perhaps people trying to come to terms with the strange alienating world of the late 20th century, ignoring the wider troubles that they can't do anything about to create their own insular worlds with strange, almost incongruous, preoccupations (that lyrical consumerist paradise interlude in Dawn of the Dead, where the zombies almost get forgotten about is perhaps the supreme example of that). But no matter how much they try to block it out, those worlds are always flimsily built on sand and inevitably get overwhelmed by the bigger issues in the end.


Last edited by colinr0380 on Sun Jul 16, 2017 6:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Passages
PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 6:00 pm 
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Makes wanna watch The Quiet Man again.

We lost a great one... I thought I read somewhere he was working on another one. Sad.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 6:52 pm 
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Speaking about consumerism, here's a collection of Romero's earliest commercials, including a fun take on Fantastic Voyage to advertise washing powder!

And here's a 1997 BBC TV interview with Romero that marked the UK TV premiere of Dawn of the Dead.


Last edited by colinr0380 on Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 6:58 pm 
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I'm sure I'm far from alone in stating this, but when I first seriously got into film as a teenager, horror, suspense, and thrillers were where it was at for me. Hitchcock, Cronenberg, and Romero were probably the first filmmakers I recognized as "auteurs" in the classic sense. Romero made a lot of very good films, but Night, Dawn, and Martin alone will forever make him one of the greats for me.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:40 pm 
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Damn. Night has been my favourite horror film ever since I saw it as a terrified 10-year-old. I still attribute my occasional zombie nightmare to the influence it had over me. It was a flattening experience for a kid whose horror diet was exclusively Universal and early Hammer films by that point. I didn't see the sequels until the end of high school, but I enjoyed them immensely. Was not expecting this news at all.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:08 pm 
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What a shame. And the timing sucks. It would have been such a joy for him to see the Criterion and Arrow releases get devoured by his fans. RIP.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:24 pm 
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From an appreciation from his adopted hometown of Pittsburgh:

His Image Ten film company was started with a friend after graduation from Carnegie Mellon University. They used money from making short films for the PBS children’s TV series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood to buy a camera for a project originally titled Night of the Flesh Eaters.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:04 am 
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Sucks.

Hopefully he comes back and kicks off the real thing.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:03 am 
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That post is pretty morbii, but if “the real thing” were ever to occur, medical science be damned, I can’t think of a more appropriate scenario.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:31 am 
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Its hard to understate the influence that turning zombies from their voodoo origins into flesh-eating reanimated dead bodies had on the horror genre, cinema and particularly video games (where zombies are always a good option for human-looking antagonists who can be killed without the moral element of guilt. See the way that the Call of Duty games, with their politically iffy campaigns, often have an additional zombie mode added in! Its also because at this current stage of development of video game A.I. it is easier to create mindless 'horde' waves of enemies to fight than those who can react to the player's actions more believably. The explanation? They're zombies!), but also on pop culture in general. We'd not have a lot of other films, books, games and TV series without Romero's original trilogy.

And I also think that Night, Dawn and Day are the perfect examples of 'making a statement about issues' without being too obvious about it. The underlying themes are impossible to miss (especially in Night, where its all about relationships of all forms being 'betrayed', or at least being powerless in the situation), but I love that having a black man in the lead role in Night and at least co-lead in Dawn and Day doesn't have to be underlined any more than that. Having a woman as a co-lead in Night and Dawn, and lead in Day, doesn't need any more 'motivation' added to it. Just being present in those roles is its own powerful statement, so for example we don't need Harry and his family in the basement to be an enormous bunch of racists to underline their differences (as they were in the unfortunately too literal in all areas 1990 remake), just have Harry be an angry grump, worried that Ben is going to get them all killed! Which is understandable in the circumstances!

It makes the original trilogy seem more powerful in that it goes beyond racial and gender issues (though of course they're in the mix) and more into treating black people (and women) in the lead roles of a film as their own characters, rather than having to represent just their race or gender. Why can't Barbara be catatonic throughout Night? I would be too in the face of something like that!

(Its perhaps similar to the way that Alien later on made its own commentary about having a female lead without a big thing needing to being made about it in the film itself. It leaves room for the audience to note and celebrate the presence of a woman in that kind of role if they wish to, or even not notice it at all!)


Last edited by colinr0380 on Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:38 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:33 am 
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mfunk9786 wrote:
That post is pretty morbii, but if “the real thing” were ever to occur, medical science be damned, I can’t think of a more appropriate scenario.


Exactly! And I meant it with utmost respect.

:D


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:51 am 
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Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK
I still love that moment from Day of the Dead:
Quote:
Sarah: Maybe if we tried working together we could ease some of the tensions. We're all pulling in different directions.

John: That's the trouble with the world, Sarah darling. People got different ideas concerning what they want out of life.

Here's the shorter version of the Roy Frumkes documentary filmed during the making of Dawn of the Dead, Document of the Dead


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:32 pm 
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I love every Romero film I've seen, but Dawn of the Dead is the real stand out for me. An absolutely perfect film, balancing lightness and darkness, comedy, drama and horror brilliantly and never taking a wrong step. I'm always in awe of it every time I watch it (a Halloween tradition, obviously). It may be the most perfect film I've seen and it's been my favorite film for years.

Very sad to see Mr. Romero go. I'm sure he had plenty of great movies left in his head, just waiting to get out.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:57 pm 
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By the way if anyone hasn't and is interested, I would highly recommend reading Romero's original screenplay for Day of the Dead before it was drastically cut down and rewritten for practical, budgetary reasons into the final film we have today. It features many of the same cast of characters but has a much wider scope, about on a par with Dawn of the Dead and ends up being a much different story. The opening Florida search for survivors equivalent to the film's opening turns into a Marina shootout over an escape boat, rather than a helicopter ride back to the base. This is also where Miguel loses his arm and Sarah cauterises it, which instead became the big effect sequence in the middle of the film.

Then follows an escape to an island on which there is an underground bunker where zombie experiments are at a much more advanced stage than in the film version. They've been colour co-ordinated into groups to differentiate the wilder zombies from the more benign ones, to those that can actually be controlled and ordered around like soldiers under the command of Captain Rhodes and his troops.
Quote:
MIGUEL IS HIT AGAIN. He spins, falling to his knees. His RIFLE FIRES A LINE OF BULLETS INTO THE EARTH and the kicking of the gun knocks him back on his ass. He sits there bewildered for a moment, then he looks up to find himself directly facing CAPTAIN RHODES.

THE CAPTAIN is taken by surprise by MIGUEL'S lunatic eyes. For the first time since the battle began his smile fades altogether, replaced by a flush of fear. He knows to be afraid of a madman for he, himself, is mad. He lifts his Magnum but MIGUEL is faster with his RIFLE. In the next instant the muzzle is aiming directly at RHODES' stomach.

MIGUEL "Kill the priest."

MIGUEL pulls the trigger and THE WEAPON CLICKS SHARPLY... it's empty.

THE CAPTAIN'S smile slowly returns. He holsters his Magnum and pushes the "ATTACK" BUTTON on his BELT-UNIT.

THE RED COATS advance, their PISTOLS RELOADED. THEY FIRE, stiff-armed and fumble-fingered, at MIGUEL. He sees them moving toward him. THE FIRST FEW BULLETS MISS. Something in his mind clicks and he recognizes the creatures for what they are... walking dead.

146 EXT. THE CLEARING - DAY

A BULLET HITS MIGUEL IN HIS STUMP and reality gets even clearer. He starts to scream.

Then the screenplay takes a drastic shift from the final film. It ends up closer to the much later Land of the Dead, where there is an underground bunker of scientists experimenting on zombies, whilst up above in a "Stalag" or camp all of the surviving civilians have been gathered up and regularly terrorised by the soldiers with threats of being thrown to the zombies infesting the rest of the island to keep them in their place. There are lots more people of all types (scientists, soldiers and civilians) in this screenplay than the tiny handful in the final film of Day of the Dead and they're used very much for social satire like Land's have and have-not social groups. The civilian stalag is full of bacchanalian cavorting of people trying to lose themselves in sex and drink to avoid thinking of the threat beyond the gates, and even inside the underground bunker itself things aren't much better with the few representatives of the old order gathering people for orgies and suchlike. Various groups start making plans to escape and this all leads to the inevitable collapse of the tenuous balance of power.
Quote:
323 INT. THE GYMNASIUM - NIGHT

A WOMAN'S FACE IS FULL SCREEN. She is screamingly insanely. THE ZOMBIES have invaded. They're clawing at THE FAT-CAT COUNCILORS, MAULING THEIR WOMEN. GASPARILLA AND TWO OTHER MEN are rolling around crazily, bumping into EXERCISE MACHINES, knocking over WINE BOTTLES AND TABLES FULL OF HORS D'OEUVRES. THE VEST, the single vest they are fighting over, rips apart into two pieces, its ORANGE CIRCLE severed into two halves.

GASPARILLA backs away across the floor, his blubber bouncing. He has a tattered piece of the vest clutched in his hands. He tries to hold it up and spread it out on his chest, but it's too late... and THE ZOMBIES are too hungry, much too hungry.

ALL OVER THE ROOM, THE ZOMBIES STRIKE!

MONTAGE: This is it, gore fans. The gross finale. The intestine-tugger. GASPARILLA AND HIS COURT GET TORN TO SHREDS AS THE ZOMBIES GET THEIR LONG-AWAITED SUPPER. THE CREATURES FEAST AMONG THE PILLOWS, looking like Romans at an orgy. MUSIC still plays over the gymnasium speaker system... rockabilly in a gleeful tempo.
The screenplay is a very interesting look at what could have been. However the final film version of Day of the Dead that we actually got, though smaller in scale, is just as good and unique in its own way (for example the film really glories more in Rhode's insane rantings, letting Joe Pilato go overboard. Rhodes also gets a better death in the film: "Choke on 'em!". Also Bub and Dr Logan never meet in this screenplay, while they have a surprisingly touching relationship in the film. And the narrowed down cast works really well in the film to add to that sense of claustrophobia), so I can't say that it was entirely a negative thing that the larger scaled screenplay never got made. But for fans, this screenplay feels like an essential read. There are copies of it out on the internet but they seem drastically cut down from the much longer version that appears as a DVD-ROM feature on Anchor Bay's Day of the Dead DVD.
Quote:
338 EXT. ANOTHER ISLAND (WIDE EST.) - MORNING

Gorgeous, a paradise. BIRDSONG fills the air.

339 EXT. A RIVER ON THE ISLAND - MORNING

THE REFUGEES ARE ALL GATHERED. THE CHILDREN walk, one by one, through the shallow water as JOHN baptizes them. SARAH, MARY AND THE NURSE carry the infants. When THE INFANT IN SARAH'S ARMS has been touched by JOHN, SARAH doesn't move. She looks up into the big man's warm eyes.

SARAH: Me too... please.

JOHN gently cups a handful of river water and pours it onto the woman's forehead.

THE OTHER ADULTS, led by LUKEY, file into the river, all lining up before the baptist, waiting for their turns to be blessed into this tiny new society.

340 EXT. A BEACH ON THE ISLAND - MORNING

THE CORPSES OF TRICKS AND THE MAPMAKER lie, covered, in the sand. THE REFUGEES are gathered again, heads bowed, while JOHN speaks.

JOHN: Satan... ain't sent these men back. Not yet, anyway... so we all hopin' that maybe they is up there with you, Lord. These might be the first decent souls that we been able ta offer ya in quite a few years. That's a fact. We just gonna... gonna pray, Lord. We gonna pray that... what seems ta be goin' on here... is really happenin'. Anyway... I'm gonna take a chance and speak these words that I ain't spoke for a long while... May they... rest in peace.

THE OTHERS: Amen.

341 EXT. THE BEACH - NIGHT

THE TWO CORPSES lie in the MOONLIGHT. NIGHT CRITTERS SCREECH AND BURBLE back in the jungle behind the sand. It's an eerie scene.

SARAH is sitting up, her RIFLE ready in her lap, guarding the corpses. JOHN steps up behind her and she startles.

JOHN: Just me. I'll take the next shift.

SARAH: How long do we watch them?

JOHN: Forever, darlin'. Forever. 'Til they turn ta dust an' blow away on the wind.

342 EXT. THE BEACH - NIGHT

THE TWO BODIES lie rigid, stiff, under the KHAKI ARMY BLANKETS that rise and fall, rise and fall with the Gulf breezes.

Suddenly, A LOUD MUSIC CHORD! A SUDDEN MOVEMENT! It's the movement of RED LETTERS that SPIN UP OFF THE CORPSES AND SETTLE BEFORE OUR EYES. The letters read: THE END (I PROMISE).


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