Fast turn-over for an update, I know, but George A. Romero has released a bunch of images from his latest zombie film, Survival of the Dead — a follow-up (rather than a sequel) to his Diary of the Dead (2007). During an interview with Romero in 2008, Romero said to Undead Backbrain, in regards to Diary of the Dead, but in the context of a possible follow-up:
One of my biggest fears about the blogsphere is that I don’t think it works to widen people’s understanding or bring people together. People only seek out the opinions of those they already agree with. It creates tribes. There’s no discourse.
The idea of divided communities or tribes now appears to inform this most recent of his zombie films in a direct way, having grown out of earlier films, in which human inability to work together effectively drives the characters’ ultimate fate — not to mention the “enclave” mentality that proves so destructive in Land of the Dead. Commenting on the new film’s central idea, Romero said:
“It’s this whole idea of tribalism – that we can’t pull it together. News reports about the presidential race still bring up religious topics or racism. That’s pretty much the central theme. There are two factions. It’s the idea that even when faced with a crisis, tribal concerns about power control people’s motives. One side wants to kill off zombified loved ones before cannibalistic urges strike. The other would rather wait to see if there is a cure for such cravings. They want to leave Grandma in the rocking chair for a while longer. It’s not a good idea.”
As regards the title, he added:
By the end, something happens that makes the word “survival” take on a whole new meaning. I’m not going to give it away now.
All up I’m feeling rather positive about this film. My impression is that Romero’s metaphorical approach to the living dead has once again undergone a mutation — the sort of rejigging that has kept him ahead of the game over several decades (whatever naysayers reckon) and which make his zombie films trendsetters in the genre. If each of the Living Dead films defines for Romero the tenor of the times in which it is made, then clearly Romero perceives today’s world to be stricken with tribalism — idealogical divisions that will ultimately threaten our survival.
Survivial of the Dead will be screening at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.