Over the decades, it has become a cult classic and garnered critical acclaim; so much so that the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry selected the film as a film deemed "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant."
A little known fact is how the story of the flesh-eating "ghouls" evolved. It was initially co-written by John Russo and George Romero as a comedy horror about teen aliens who come to earth and befriend teen-earthlings. A second draft's plot revolved around a young man who runs away from home and discovers rotting corpses left by aliens (who use them for food). The final version (written in 3 parts) is the one we know today, written mostly by Romero over a period of apparently three days.
Jump ahead half a century, hundreds of zombie movies later (many by the master himself), and things have come full circle. The brains behind The Official George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead -- LIVE! want to completely remove that invisible fourth wall in front of the stage, and place if firmly behind you! They want you right there in the besieged house experiencing the terror first hand. Do you want to really know what it's like to live or die at the hands of the undead? You will when you leave the theatre.
Oh, did we mention that George A Romero and John Russo are Executive Producing the show?
Night of the Living Dead -- LIVE! The Web Chronicles
October 4, 2012
Blog of the Living Dead met with the folks at Nictophobia Films, and struck a deal as the Official web/blog scribe for George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead -- LIVE! project. We will be following the exploits of this intrepid team of creative beasts as they shape and mould a live stage performance out of Night of the Living Dead. We will be keeping a log of events as they occur (blogging and vlogging)-- both the thrill of victory and the agony of (hell, there will be no defeat)! And here's why! Meeting with the producers left no doubt in my mind that this will not only happen, but will be incredible! They have Romero, Russo and Streiner signed on, and with all of them and the incredible talent of writer/director Chris Bond (of Evil Dead, the Musical fame) on board-- this will be a sure hit! A theatre has been scouted (Theatre Passe Muraille), right in the heart of downtown Toronto. Scripts are getting finalized, makeup and effects teams are 'chomping' at the bit with rubber prosthetics and buckets of black and white blood and giblets.
That's right, the team will recreate NOTLD down to the very look of the film. Using lighting and makeup, the stage performance will be in black and white! Plans to travel to Pittsburgh (where the movie was originally shot) to capture the actual graveyard in the film is in the works. This is not a musical (ala Evil Dead). Genuine scares are planned-- and no shortage of dark humour. And a second act is promised that will blow the audience away!
Add to that, Romero and Russo doing Q&A at particular shows, and this may very well be one of the most exciting things to crawl out of the ground in a long long time!
Listen to this dream team list:
Executive Produced by George A. Romero, John Russo, Russ Streiner and Marty Birthelmer, with Creator/Producer Christopher Harrison (Nictophobia Films), Creator/Producer Phil Pattison (Nictophobia Films), Writer/Director Christopher Bond (Evil Dead, The Musical, A Little Bit Zombie), Producer Chris Janik (Nictophobia Films), Special Make-up Effects Carlos Henriques, Co-Producer Cam Schwarz, Co-writer Trevor Martin (Evil Dead, The Musical, A Little Bit Zombie), Co-writer Dale Boyer (Second City) on board, this promises to be simply outstanding!
A veritable melting caldron of creativity with the teams from Nictophobia Films, Evil Dead, the Musical, The Butcher Shop, among others coming together with the guys who started it all!!! Scheduled to hit the stage in Toronto April 2013 at the Theatre Passe Muraille, please stay tuned here at Blog of the Living Dead and www.nightofthelivingdeadlive.com for further updates.
Romero himself has said that this is his next project. He has more films on the drawing board, but his focus is on this live production. Romero is excited. Russo is excited. I'm excited like a little girl!