Last fall we wrote about how George Romero’s son was trying to crowdfund a new addition to the Living Dead canon. Dead old dad has added plenty over the years, from the original trilogy of Night of… Dawn of…, and Day of…, to the more modern installments, like Land of…, Diary of…, and Survival of…. His son, G. Cameron Romero, however, wants to create a prequel, and the project is successfully moving forward.
Simply called Origins, Cameron, who will direct, developed the story and wrote the screenplay with Darrin Reed and Bryce C. Campbell. If the idea of a prequel to Night of the Living Dead sounds like it will just be a bunch of people wandering around in the mid-1960s going about their daily business, you’re not alone, but apparently there’s more to it.
Origins, which is, admittedly, a generic name, is set at the height of the Cold War and digs into the beginnings of the zombie phenomenon that we all know so well at this point. As so often happens in these tales, someone trying to do something good instead creates something terrible, and that’s the case here as one scientist trying to help the world survive unleashes what may be its ultimate doom.
Set in the social and political upheaval in 1962, Dr. Ryan Cartwright is a brilliant scientist who makes a deal with the military, which, as we all know from having seen a movie before, is like selling your soul to the devil. He wants to further his research into helping humans survive after a massive nuclear catastrophe everyone expected in the era, but the government has different ideas, like making a super soldier. The result is, as you probably guessed, the first “Romero” zombie, which is largely credited for shifting the genre away from voodoo, which had dominated up to that point. And we know how that ends.
Romero’s crowdfunding campaign raised more than $30,000 dollars to cover the various preproduction costs, and after that, Radar Pictures had come on board to produce. In a statement, the younger Romero said:
Origins is a great opportunity for me to continue the family tradition of creating haunting and ever-evolving depictions of the undead, and a great opportunity for Romero fans to see a story of zombie inception never portrayed before.
George Romero is the father of the modern zombie movie, changing the game forever, and while I’ll always be indebted to the man, his last few outings have been rather lackluster. But so are most zombie movies these days. The genre is so flooded that it’s hard to do something original. Hopefully a period piece like Origins, one that sounds like it has other aims rather that simply being a standard undead flick, will be able to bring something fresh to the table.