All you have to do is mention legendary horror icon Tom Savini’s name and you’ve got my instant attention. Savini’s lone full directorial effort was the awesome 1990 remake of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, and he’s long made it clear that he wouldn’t direct another zombies movie until he came up with a way to make them deathly scary again. And now he has, with a project called Death Island, and he’s looking for your help to fund it through Indiegogo. For the bargain basement price of $1 million, we can all be a part of the film that may remind people why zombies were scary in the first place, something The Walking Dead amiably tries to do between fifteen minutes of expository dialogue.
Some of you may hem and haw about dropping more than a couple of bucks on another zombie movie when the world is already so full of them. But this is Tom Savini, the man who made his name working on Romero’s Martin and Dawn of the Dead, the most quintessential undead flick that’s ever existed. Not to mention his amazing work on Day of the Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and Monkey Shines. And Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter to a lesser extent. He was Sex Machine in From Dusk Till Dawn, people! Savini is a god!
Now, if you think I’m a little over the top, the Indiegogo page pushes it even further, calling this a “historic film” even though it doesn’t exist yet. But once you hear Savini talk about it, Death Island shambles all over the rest of that made-for-cable filler.
Hearkening back to the days before zombies were undead, Savini’s film recalls Haitian zombies, and will focus on the use of scopolamine, more commonly known as “devil’s breath” and “the scariest fucking drug ever.” It’s probably a few steps beyond Bela Lugosi in 1932’s White Zombie, but it sounds like he’s much more interested in provoking actual scares rather than just dropping buckets of blood and gore for the sake of shocking people. Go ahead and hear him tell it in the video below, and pull those zombie-skin billfolds out. People still say that, yeah?
So his version of Night of the Living Dead could have been even better, and this might be his shot at redeeming himself. (Not that he needs to.) And he’s bringing genre king Tony Todd, Tiffany Shepis, and Debbie Rochon to it as well. Admittedly, the donation and reward scale tips towards people who are far beyond the poverty I currently dwell in, with only two options to donate under $100, but if you want to pay your way into the next great zombie flick, this is your chance. There are 39 days left. At the very least, join Savini’s Army on Facebook, and spread the good word.