Movie sequels are totally old hat at this point, as are prequels, remakes of American movies, remakes of foreign movies, and reboots. Rarer but not unheard of are documentaries about subjects that already have documentaries. You can’t ever learn too much about one thing, I guess, even if that one thing is George Romero‘s seminal horror classic Night of the Living Dead, which already has a few retrospectives and documentaries out there, most notably Jeff Carney’s Autopsy of the Dead from 2009. Filmmaker Rob Kuhns (Enemies of War) will soon be releasing Birth of the Living Dead, a behind-the-scenes look at Romero’s highly inspirational film. Inspirational in the “now everyone thinks they can make a zombie movie” way.
You’ll be able to watch Birth of the Living Dead on October 15 on iTunes and possibly other VOD platforms. If you want to see it in theaters, you’ll have to wait three days longer, and you’ll also have to live in one of the select cities where the film is getting a limited release. I’m perfectly happy watching it at home, as it sounds like an interesting take on the film’s history.
It won’t just be focusing on Romero and his indie-before-indie-was-cool process, but on the society of the day, how it fed into the film’s seemingly slight narrative, and how the film ended up impacting society as well. Kuhns uses archival footage of the Vietnam war and racial violence in the U.S., putting a symbolically recognizable face on the entirety of the murderous zombie hordes. The zombies are The Man, or Big Business, or something like that, taking away our farmland, man! I haven’t watched the doc yet, so I can’t quote anything. But you can bet there will be quite a bit said about having black actor Duane Jones serve as a hero in the film, which was not a frequent occurrence at the time.
For the film, Kuhns talked to Romero, actor Larry Fessenden, producers Gale Anne Hurd (The Walking Dead), critic Elvis Mitchell, and journalist Mark Harris, among others. Take a look at the trailer below and see what you think.
If what you’re thinking is, “Why don’t they keep that music at a low volume throughout the whole trailer?” then we’re on the same page. But I love Romero’s film and am interested to see if there’s new information to be taken from Kuhns’ film. What do you guys think? Let us know after taking a gander at the doc’s poster, as well as the 1968 theatrical trailer for Romero’s classic.