Last summer I explored the one simple mistake that cost George Romero's Night of the Living Dead everything and here is why this mistake makes John Carpenter's recent comments unwarranted.
In case you missed John Carpenters' shade that he has been throwing around, I'll give it to you in a nutshell. Basically, he doesn't like anything that is going on in the horror genre right now, especially The Walking Dead. On a recent podcast Carpenter said that "[The Walking Dead] was a movie that George Romero made back in ’68 [Night of the Living Dead] and they have milked…people have milked it and they’re STILL milking it. It’s unreal.”
OK, Carpenter. We get it that you are the horror master with movies like The Thing and Halloween under your belt, but you are missing one important detail. The Walking Dead is allowed to rip off Night of the Living Dead. Actually anyone is allowed to rip it off and let me explain why with an excerpt from the article of mine that I mentioned above:
"When the movie was in production it went by the working title 'Night of the Flesh Eaters,' which also had the copyright information. Before the movie's release, the name was changed to the infamous 'Night of the Living Dead'; however the distribution company forgot ONE MAJOR DETAIL...they forgot to include the copyright information on the final release. I mean, I bet someone had to have lost their job..."
You May Ask Yourself, 'So What's The Big Deal About A Copyright Issue?'
Just because the movie was missing the copyright doesn't mean that it isn't protected, right? Well, not in 1968. In 1968, this meant that the movie was now public domain and not protected by any copyrights. It wasn't until almost an entire decade later that the Copyright Act of 1976 was put in place to protect instances exactly like this from happening. So now this famous movie was up for grabs! Anyone can start making unofficial sequels, selling VHS's, DVDs, merchandise — all without paying up. So, if you want to make a Night of the Living Dead sequel, go for it! Think about this, the "Romero Zombie" has influenced every zombie movie that has ever been made — or any zombie book, TV show, etc. And all of these stories can do so without having to pay.
I don't know about you, but I'm a fan of The Walking Dead and pretty much all things zombie, so I say keep them coming! What do you think?