After racing ahead of the competition for decades with his groundbreaking take on zombie movies, director George Romero's next film may be about to turn the genre on its head once more. Described as "'Fast and the Furious’ [sic] with zombies at the wheel," Road of the Dead proves that Romero isn't content just resurrecting the same old ideas, time and time again. Whether you're excited to see zombies in cars or not, it's clear that Romero is keen to inject new life into the genre.
Bizarrely though, Romero claims that Road of the Dead might be dead on arrival... because of TV phenomenon The Walking Dead.
It's Been A Long Road... Of The Dead
During a new interview conducted by IndieWire, Romero fast and furiously laid into Robert Kirkman's ongoing saga, claiming that Road of the Dead is yet to secure financing because of the hit show.
"I harbor a lot of resentment…I used to be the only guy on the zombie playground, and unfortunately Brad Pitt and ‘The Walking Dead’ have made it Hollywood-ized. I was ready to do another one, a $2-3 million one, and nobody will finance a zombie film now.”
This isn't the first time that Romero has complained about these popular zombie ventures either. Back in October 2016, the horror maestro claimed that it was no longer possible to create zombie movies that contain a socio-political slant without having Brad Pitt thrown into the mix. While most zombie fans are chomping at the bit to see World War Z 2 and Season 8 of The Walking Dead shuffle onto our screens, it seems as though Romero would like nothing more than to see both projects shot in the head, once and for all.
Is It Fair To Blame The Walking Dead & World War Z For Romero's Financial Concerns?
While it's undoubtedly frustrating to fight for financial backing in a genre that you helped create, Romero's words do ring of sour grapes. Despite later backtracking and explaining that "it’s not really resentment,” there's clearly no love lost between Romero and these new chapters in the evolution of #zombies.
Quite frankly, it was only a matter of time before others would rise from the grave to put their own stake in the zombie genre. After all, it's been almost fifty years since Romero first stepped out onto the zombie playground with Night of the Living Dead, and the genre has only increased in popularity since then, swelling like an extremely well-fed horde of zombies. Romero himself has helmed six zombie movies in that time, so it's only fair that others have the chance to take a bite out of those undead earnings.
It seems as though the problem isn't just the competition either. In the last ten years or so, our screens have been inundated with the undead, so it takes a truly special project to shine like a lone white skull in a sea of corpses. Unfortunately, Romero's series no longer lives up to its former glory days. Note how the collated scores on Rotten Tomatoes steadily decline with each instalment:
- Night of the Living Dead (1968) 96%
- Dawn of the Dead (1979) 92%
- Day of the Dead (1985) 82%
- Land of the Dead (2005) 73%
- Diary of the Dead (2007) 62%
- Survival of the Dead (2010) 29%
Where the corpses were once fresh and exciting, time has left them to decay something far more gruesome. Unfortunately, Road of the Dead may very well continue this trend, diving deep into absurdity with its undead Mad Max vibes.
Sure, Romero can't be faulted in terms of originality — he remains keen as ever to comment on how the zombie apocalypse reflects our society today — but it's difficult to see how Road of the Dead will compete with the likes of The Walking Dead. Of course, it's still early days, and now that The Walking Dead has begun to build it's own horde of detractors, perhaps Romero and director Matt Birman will have a shot after all — assuming that they can raise enough funds at the Fantasia International Film Festival later this month.
If it secures financing, will you be watching Road of the Dead? Let us know in the comments!