George Romero's zombies to walk again in Twilight of the Dead
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George Romero’s zombies to walk again in Twilight of the Dead

George Romero’s zombies are set to live again — or walk around again, anyway — six years after the director passed away. The production company Roundtable Entertainment announced today that it is partnering with the Romero estate to make the film Twilight of the Dead, based on a treatment by the filmmaker and Paolo Zelati.

The screenplay for the movie, which is described as “the seventh and final installment of the seminal Living Dead film franchise,” is by Zelati, Joe Knetter, and Robert Lucas. Roundtable plans on shooting the movie, whose plot is currently under wraps, in Puerto Rico later this year.

“I’m delighted to be joining forces with Roundtable to bring the eerie evolution of Romero’s universe to the screen,” Romero’s widow Suzanne said in a statement. “Roundtable impressed me with their long-term and deep love of George Romero’s work. I believe they have the vision to produce the best version of this movie that honors the Romero legacy. I can’t wait to start filming!”

Romero effectively invented the modern flesh-eating zombie with 1968’s Night of the Living Dead, which he co-wrote with John Russo. In 2010, Romero’s friend Russ Streiner, who produced and starred in the film, recalled to EW how he and the director were inspired to make the movie. “George and I happened to be watching some particularly poorly-made horror films on the NBC affiliate in Pittsburgh,” said Streiner. “And we said, ‘Look, some TV station paid money for that thing. If we can’t do something that’s at least equal to that, we’d better hang it up and stick to making TV commercials!'”

Romero repeatedly returned to the zombie genre through his career, directing 1978’s Dawn of the Dead, 1985’s Day of the Dead, 2005’s Land of the Dead, 2007’s Diary of the Dead, and 2009’s Survival of the Dead. “I really thought it was a one-off,” Romero told EW, referring to Night of the Living Dead. “I wasn’t thinking in terms of going on with this. Starting with the second film I said, ‘Well, I have to lay down some rules, because I might wind up having to make more of these. Which I have…”

The director’s zombie films would prove hugely influential on the horror genre. The movies directly inspired both The Walking Dead comic and TV shows and Edgar Wright’s 2004 horror-comedy Shaun of the Dead, which he and cowriter Simon Pegg arranged for Romero to watch ahead of release.

“They screened it for him at some cinema, with a Universal security guard,” Wright told EW in 2017. ” I remember thinking, ‘Even if George Romero did pirate it, he’s the one person who’d be entitled to some of the profits.’ I got the call and George goes, ‘Oh, it’s wild, man. I love it.’ It was like the movie was for an audience of one — and he liked it.”

In 2020, Tor published The Living Dead, a zombie novel which Romero had begun before his death and was subsequently completed by writer Daniel Kraus.

“I got a call from his manager and his wife Suzanne,” Kraus told EW. “They were going through some of George’s unfinished work and they came upon the novel. It was an important work for George because it book-ended the six zombie films that he had made.” Kraus was asked if he would be interested in finishing the novel. “Romero was my favorite artist in any medium, so it was beyond a dream come true for me.”

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