Back from the Dead

Remakes of the Romero Zombie Films as Markers of Their Times

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About the Book

Since 1968, the name of motion picture director George Romero has been synonymous with the living dead. His landmark film Night of the Living Dead formed the paradigm of modern zombie cinema; often cited as a metaphor for America during the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement, the film used the tenets of the drive-in horror movie genre to engage the sociophobics of late–1960s culture. Subsequently Romero has created five more zombie films, and other directors, including Tom Savini and Zack Snyder, have remade Romero’s movies. This survey of those remakes examines ways in which the sociocultural contexts of different time periods are reflected by changes to the narrative (and the zombies) of Romero’s original versions.

About the Author(s)

Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr., is a professional actor and director whose previous books have covered topics ranging from Star Wars to Renaissance faires. He is a professor and chair of the theater department at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California.

Bibliographic Details

Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr.
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 252
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, filmography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4642-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8721-9
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Contributions to Zombie Studies

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi
Introduction: The Dead Are Rising      1

I. Night
1. “We may not enjoy living together, but dying together isn’t going to solve anything”:
Night of the Living Dead (1968)      29
2. “I’m fighting; I’m not panicking”:
Night of the Living Dead (1990)      47
3. “This has got to be the strangest load you’ve ever hauled!”:
30th Anniversary Special Edition (1998) and Children of the Living Dead (2001)      64
4. “Hey, are you, like, freaked out about zombie movies?”:
Night of the Living Dead 3-D (2006)      78
5. “Now you better watch this and try to understand what’s going on”:
Night of the Living Dead: Survivor’s Cut (2005)
Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated (2009)
Night of the Living Dead: Origins (2011)      94

INTERLUDE: LIVING DEAD, LIVE!
Night of the Living Dead on Stage and in Other Media      103

II. Dawn
6. “We’re blowing it ourselves”:
Dawn of the Dead (1978)      121
7. “Number One: Trust”:
Dawn of the Dead (2004)      136

INTERLUDE: “DID YOU KNOW THAT MOVIE WAS BASED ON A TRUE CASE?”
Return of the Living Dead (1985)      154

III. Day
8. “From now on, everyone is under martial law!”:
Day of the Dead (1985)      171
9. “Somebody will come. They have to”:
Day of the Dead (2008)      187

IV. Back for the Dead
10. “Isn’t that what we’re doing? Pretending to be alive?”:
Land, Diary, Surviving and the World of the Dead      201

Conclusion      226
Filmography      231
Bibliography      235
Index      241

Book Reviews & Awards

“analyzes the zombie films of George Romero and their remakes by other directors in order to see how the shifting ecology of the undead over time resonates with the audience’s fear of war, terrorism, social malaise, and spiritual apocalypse…Wetmore’s close reading of these films weds the passion of a fanboy with the objectivity of an academic and results in a dissection that is both insightful and entertaining.”—C&RL News; “intelligently written, thoroughly researched and immediately engaging…will interest and enthrall anyone from the casual observer to the hardcore zombie enthusiast”—Scarlet; “an engaged account”—Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts.