Friday, August 29, 2008

Land of the Dead 2005

2005 was a busy year for us. We attended the premiere of Revenge of the Sith in San Francisco, went to the George Lucas AFI lifetime achievement presentation in Hollywood, and attended the premiere screening of Land of the Dead at the Palms in Las Vegas, with George Romero in attendance.

Once again, Romero brought us a thoughtful zombie film for a new generation. The living had become so overrun with the dead, that they had begun to ignore the problem. Separated from the living dead by bodies of water on three sides, and an electrified fence running the land based perimeter, a new human society prospers. Or do they - the haves live in luxury, the have-nots live in the gutter, working for the man - in this case played by Dennis Hopper.

Romero furthers his concept of the dead retaining some knowledge of their past existence by taking the remerging intelligence of the living dead to the next level. And he continues to populate his films with appropriate, feasible behaviors - such as the living using fireworks to distract the zombies so they can loot the formerly populated areas that are now in the land of the dead.

The film came at a time when the question kept coming up - how is it that zombies have become so popular in our culture, and yet the man responsible for the trend can get financing to make them. Well, with Universal behind him, Romero was given the chance to make his biggest budget zombie film. Unfortunately, being a major studio production brought with it all the related baggage.

As a fan who never though he'd live to see Romero produce another zombie film, I was quite disappointed to learn that the film would not be shot in Pittsburgh (where as far back as 1985 I had pledged I would go for the chance to appear as a zombie in a Romero movie). For purely financial reasons (considering the film was designed around the specific locale of Pittsburgh), it was shot in Canada.

I still find Land of the Dead to be an extremely thoughtful and entertaining addition to the series.

We hope you'll join us for George Romero's biggest budget zombie epic.

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