When filmmaker George Romero directed Night of the Living Dead over 40 years ago, there’s no way he could have known how many people would: A) take his undead characters, call them zombies, and put them in every conceivable plot device; and B) use his “of the Living Dead” title to spice up their own zombie-related work. (Not to mention all the puns, like 1990’s Night of the Living Bread.) Syfy is heading into a new territory for zombie media with the upcoming comedic docuseries Town of the Living Dead, which will chronicle a filmmaker’s troubled attempts to create a piece of art, in this case a zombie movie called Thr33 Days Dead.
But this isn’t just some hack film student trying to gross his friends out; this is a passion project for an entire community. Town of the Living Dead will film in the small town of Jasper, Alabama, where many of its citizens, especially director John M. Ware, have spent the past six years of their lives trying to turn Thr33 Days Dead into a full independent feature.
Based on a local urban legend, this fictional zombie story doesn’t sound particularly groundbreaking; it centers on a group of friends who try and survive a zombie apocalypse in rural Alabama, hopefully with accents as thick as tree trunks. But the idea of documenting this film’s journey from concept to final product sounds quite interesting.
As the press release puts it, “The series will follow the intrepid and motley crew of amateur filmmakers as they struggle against every obstacle imaginable to get to a final cut of the film…which could someday become a movie!” Sometimes a film’s behind-the-scenes material is more fun than the film itself, especially when it comes to low-budget horror. It takes a unique mindset to put so much energy into a zombie movie, so I can’t wait to meet these dedicated folks.
Given that this series is going into production for a major cable network, I’m fairly certain the funding and work necessary to finish Thr33 Days Dead have to happen; that doesn’t mean every cineplex in the country will be screening it or anything, but it will be a nice blood-soaked trophy to show off after years of toil.
This is just one of a million new shows (casual estimate) that Syfy has planned for the next year or so. It’s the second series involving zombies that the network is offering up, with the fictional Z Nation also on the way.
Town of the Living Dead will be produced by True Entertainment (The Real Housewives of Atlanta), and is already planned for a Tuesday night debut on October 7. Find more information about Thr33 Days Dead on the official Facebook page, where you can find (admittedly dated) concept images.