Living Dead

For other uses, see living dead (disambiguation).
The original poster for Night of the Living Dead

Living Dead is a blanket term for various films, series, and other forms of media that all originated from, and includes, the 1968 horror film Night of the Living Dead conceived by George A. Romero and John A. Russo. The loosely connected franchise predominantly centers on different groups of people attempting to survive during the outbreak and evolution of a zombie apocalypse.

After the film's initial success, the two creators split in disagreement regarding where the series should head.[1] Romero went on to direct five additional Dead films, while Russo branched off into literary territory, writing Return of the Living Dead, which was later loosely adapted into a film of the same name and have its own franchise, and Escape of the Living Dead.

The term may also refer to the reanimated human corpses that feast on the flesh and/or brains of the living seen in the films.

George A. Romero's Dead series

As of its latest installment, Survival of the Dead, Romero's Dead series includes six films all written and directed by Romero himself. Labeled Trilogy of the Dead until Land of the Dead,[2] each film is laden with social commentary on topics ranging from racism to consumerism. The films are not produced as direct follow-ups from one another and the only continuation is the epidemic of the living dead. This situation advances with each film, but with different characters, and the time moves ahead to the time when they were filmed, making the world's progression the only interlocking aspect of the series. The fifth film does not continue the depiction of the progress of the world; instead it goes back to the beginning of events from the first film, but is nonetheless contemporary as the sequels are. The films deal with how different people react to the same phenomenon ranging from citizens to police to army officials and back again. There are no real happy endings to the films, as each takes place in a world that has gotten worse since the last time we saw it, the number of zombies ever increasing and the fate of the living remnant always in the balance.

Romero tried to make each movie unique from the previous, but this led to some of his more serious works, like Day of the Dead, receiving a worse reception compared to his spoof-like film Dawn of the Dead. He explained this in an interview with Telegraph film writer Tim Robey saying "You know, I’ve made six zombie films, I’ve tried consciously to make each one different from the next. But that’s not what people want these days. They want the same thing! I don’t know if that’s part of this television mentality, where people tune in every week to see the same thing.".[3] Romero does not consider any of his Dead films sequels since none of the major characters or story continue from one film to the next. The one exception is that the military officer from Diary of the Dead (Alan van Sprang), who robs the main characters, is a main character in Survival of the Dead as well.

George A. Romero's Dead series includes:

  1. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  2. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
  3. Day of the Dead (1985)
  4. Land of the Dead (2005)
  5. Diary of the Dead (2007)
  6. Survival of the Dead (2009)

Dead series remakes

Remakes have been made for three of the original films with the involvement of some of the original cast and crew members:

Night of the Living Dead (1990)

Directed by Tom Savini, former special make-up effects artist, who worked on Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead while George A. Romero rewrote the screenplay. The plot of the film follows closely the 1968 original, where Barbara, Ben, the Cooper family and Tom Landry and his girlfriend Judy Rose Larson are trapped in a rural farmhouse in Pennsylvania trying to survive the night while the house is being attacked by mysteriously reanimated ghouls, otherwise known as zombies.

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

Directed by Zack Snyder. A group of strangers: Ana, Police Sergeant Kenneth Hall, Michael, Andre and his pregnant wife, Luda, break into a nearby mall where they are confronted by three living guards – C.J., Bart and Terry – who make them surrender their weapons in exchange for refuge. The group secures the mall, then heads to the roof where they see another survivor, Andy, who is stranded alone in his gun store, across the zombie-infested parking lot. The next day more survivors arrive at the mall and are let in. After some of the survivors start dying from zombie attacks and any hope of being rescued gone, the group decides to fight their way to the Milwaukee marina and travel on Steve's yacht to an island on Lake Michigan.

Day of the Dead (2008)

Directed by Steve Miner, the story is located in Leadville, Colorado, where the couple of Trevor (Michael Welch) and Nina (AnnaLynne McCord) find themselves in a town suddenly sealed off by military forces (Mena Suvari, Ving Rhames and Nick Cannon). People begin acting strangely and the dead come back to life, with the couple and the soldiers trying to escape.

Dan O'Bannon and John Russo's Living Dead spin-offs

There are currently two distinct franchises utilizing the Living Dead moniker. The first was Return of the Living Dead, which originated as a novel written in 1978 by John A. Russo. It was later adapted to a film by Dan O'Bannon, which spawned its own series of movies, with a total of four sequels. This could be seen more as a spin-off of Night of the Living Dead rather than sequels, as the first movie treats Night of the Living Dead as a movie that was based on real events.

Russo and producer Tom Fox planned to bring Return of the Living Dead to the screen offering O'Bannon the director's seat, he accepted on the condition he could rewrite the film radically so as to differentiate it from Romero's films. O'Bannon discarded Russo's script in its entirety and rewrote it, retaining only the title and changing the "rules" significantly. His alterations to the canon include the zombies' fixation on brains alone (whereas Romero/Russo zombies will devour any part of a living human), the ability to move rapidly and communicate (despite physical defects that would render such activity impossible), and the ability of 2–4–5 Trioxin to resurrect any deceased life form, regardless of how long the decedent has been interred. Although Russo and O'Bannon were only directly involved with the first film in the series, the rest of the films, to varying degrees, stick to their outline and "rules" established in the first film.

Dan O'Bannon's Return of the Living Dead series includes:

  1. The Return of the Living Dead (O'Bannon, 1985)
  2. Return of the Living Dead Part II (Ken Wiederhorn, 1988)
  3. Return of the Living Dead 3 (Brian Yuzna, 1993)
  4. Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis (Ellory Elkayem, 2005)
  5. Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave (Ellory Elkayem, 2005)

Then, in 1998, Russo went back to the original Night of the Living Dead to reshoot extra sequences into the film. This version, which was officially named Night of the Living Dead: 30th Anniversary Edition, added a subplot, alternate opening, and new score. Russo followed this with another Living Dead film, Children of the Living Dead

  1. Night of the Living Dead: 30th Anniversary Edition (Russo, 1998)
  2. Children of the Living Dead (Karen L. Wolf, 2001)

Romero's versus O'Bannon's zombies

While the two kinds are similar in appearance, there are certain distinguishing details:







Unauthorized sequels and remakes

There are also some other films that have been released as sequels to various films in Romero's Dead series, most likely to ride on the name recognition that Romero's films enjoy. They have been produced due to the various mix-ups with the copyright and ownership of the movies, Romero himself owns only Dawn of the Dead from his first four films. Romero is often positive towards derivations of his work, stating that any new film in the horror genre is a step forward, whether completely original or a 'copycat'.

Zombi 2 (1979)

Main article: Zombi 2

Directed by Lucio Fulci. Known as Zombie in USA and as Zombie Flesh Eaters in the UK. The film that was already in production when Dawn of the Dead was released, but was renamed to be a sequel upon its release (Dawn of the Dead was titled Zombi in Italy). This movie has a history of official and unofficial sequels itself. See Zombi series.

Night of the Living Dead 3D (2006)

Directed by Jeff Broadstreet. The film is a remake/reimagining of the original film made in a 3D format. The original's status as public domain made it possible to produce this film without the involvement of either Romero or Russo.

Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animation (2012)

This film is a sequel to 'Night of the Living Dead 3D and is not the same as 'Night of the Living Dead Reanimated' Which is a movie using artwork to display the story.

Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)

Directed by Ana Clavell and James Dudelson. While billed as a sequel to Day of the Dead, as Taurus Entertainment Company holds the original's copyright, it has no actual ties to the original Day of the Dead or the series (although the prologue is set in Pittsburgh, 1968).

Taurus Entertainment Company eventually announced plans in August 2009 to produce a sequel, with a working title-turned-official title, Day of the Dead: Epidemic, which is set to be the third installment of the series.[5]


There have also been ultra-low budget parodies such as:

Night of the Living Bread (1990)

Directed by Kevin S. O'Brien. A parody of the original film, where a satellite crashes to Earth bringing radiation that promptly animates – as opposed to re-animating – all manner of homicidal bread, from buns to biscuits to Communion wafers.

Night of the Day of the Dawn [...] (1991)

Night of the Day of the Dawn is the shortened title of a parody created by James Riffel, which is the classic Night of the Living Dead film with redubbed comedic dialogue and some new clips. The complete title of the movie is: Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Alien, Flesh Eating, Hellbound, Zombified Living Dead Part 2.

Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead (2006)

Directed by Lloyd Kaufman. After a fictional fried chicken franchise opens a restaurant on the location of an Indian burial ground, the chicken corpses come to life, wreaking havoc on the site[6]

Night of the Loving Dead (2013)

Directed by J.F. Kinyon. A short-film parody of the original George Romero film, a zombie attacks a couple in an old graveyard to impress his zombie girlfriend.


There have also been films that pay homage to the genre:

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Main article: Shaun of the Dead

Directed by Edgar Wright. The film is about an unmotivated slacker who must cope with a zombie uprising, in London, while trying to sort his life out. Simon Pegg notes in the interview on the DVD Release of Shaun of the Dead and in an interview on BBC Radio 1 prior to the film's release that they sought George A. Romero's blessing and acknowledgement or the film would not have been released. Simon Pegg comments that "George in fact loved it so much, we [Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright] were asked to be in the film Land of the Dead as leading characters, but we said no, no way, definitely got to be zombies!" Shaun of the Dead features numerous references to not only Romero films, but several other horror/science fiction movies too.

Fido (2006)

Main article: Fido (film)

Directed by Andrew Currie. The film takes place after the zombie apocalypse, in a small, safe, idyllic 50's-style town. In this film zombies are kept as slaves or pets, until something inevitably goes wrong.

Dance of the Dead (2008)

Directed by Gregg Bishop. The film is about a high school prom in Georgia which is unexpectedly interrupted when a graveyard, next to a power plant, becomes the sudden source of reanimated cadavers. As zombies march on the high school, a motley group of dateless teenage outcasts takes on the zombies and saves the day.

Zone of the Dead (2009)

Main article: Zone of the Dead

Directed by Milan Konjević and Milan Todorović. Also known as Apocalypse of the Dead in the UK and USA), Zone of the Dead is a Serbian zombie horror film starring Ken Foree from the original Dawn of the Dead and remake. The movie is in English and it has been released by Epic Pictures Releasing in America on 1 September 2012 under the title Apocalypse of the Dead. It has a cult status in some regions and the sequel is in development.


Document of the Dead (1985)

Main article: Document of the Dead

Directed by Roy Frumkes. Document of the Dead is a 1985 documentary film that takes a look back from Romero's first television commercials onward and it chronicles his career and stylistic techniques.

Fan of the Dead (2003)

Directed by Nicolas Garreau. Fan of the Dead is a 2003 52 minute documentary road-movie revealing the filming locations of Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead remake with exclusive interviews with the cast of the George A. Romero's trilogy.

Fan of the Dead was released on DVD/Blu-ray in USA/Canada (Cheezy Flicks), France (Bach Films), Italy (Millennium Storm), Germany (CMV Laservision), Spain/Portugal (Manga Films), Great-Britain (Arrow Films) and Australia (Umbrella Entertainment).[7]

Additional credits: Music by Sebastian Munoz and Antonio Martino; Edited by Olivier Andre.

One for the Fire: The Legacy of 'Night of the Living Dead' (2008)

Directed by Robert Lucas (as Robert L. Lucas) and Chris Roe. One for the Fire: The Legacy of 'Night of the Living Dead' is a 2008 documentary film made to celebrate the 40th anniversary of George Romero's Night of the Living Dead. It features most of the main people behind the film as well as a few of the lesser known people who had minor roles in the movie. Romero, John Russo, Russell Streiner, Judith O'Dea and Karl Hardman are among those interviewed.

Additional credits: Produced by Robert Lucas and Chris Roe; Written by Billy Gram, Robert Lucas (co-creator) and Chris Roe (concept creator); Music by Jess Bryden; Cinematography by Robert Lucas; Edited by Michael Felsher.

Autopsy of the Dead (2009)

Directed by Jeff Carney. Autopsy of the Dead is a 2009 documentary film that examines the living history behind Night of the Living Dead that has since attained the status of a cultural phenomenon.[8]

Additional credits: Produced and written by Jeff Carney and James Cirronella; Editing and Cinematography by Jeff Carney.

Cinemall (2011)

Directed by Gavin Shaw and Craig Belliveau. Cinemall is a 2011 short documentary film about The Monroeville Mall, the main location of Dawn of the Dead.[9]

Additional credits: Produced and cinematography and editing by Gavin Shaw and Craig Belliveau; Written by Gavin Shaw; Music by Carlo Carosi.

Birth of the Living Dead (2012)

Directed by Rob Kuhns. Birth of the Living Dead focuses on the impact Night of the Living Dead had on pop culture.

Living Dead in other media

Although the majority of the Living Dead media has been films, related projects have been released in other media. A handful of books and comics books take place in the Living Dead universe. As with the films, some of them are officially endorsed, while others are not.



Escape of the Living Dead series

Night of the Living Dead series

The Walking Dead

Marvel Comics


Video games

Bibliography and references


  1. Russo, John A. (September 1978). Return of the Living Dead. Dale. ISBN 978-0-89559-062-6.
  2. Romero, George A.; Sparrow, Susanna (1978). Dawn of the Dead. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-18393-6.
  3. Skipp, John; Spector, Craig, eds. (June 1989). Book of the Dead. New York, N.Y., US: Bantam Books. ISBN 978-0-553-27998-6.
  4. Skipp, John; Spector, Craig, eds. (July 1992). Still Dead: Book of the Dead 2. New York, US: Bantam Books. ISBN 978-0-553-29839-0.
  5. Andrews, Christopher (October 2009). Night of the Living Dead. Fountain Valley, CA, US: Rising Star Visionary Press. ISBN 978-0-9824882-1-8.
  6. Romero, George A. (w), Castillo, Tommy (p), Ramos, Rodney, Wrightson, Bernie (i). Toe Tags 1–6 (December 1, 2004 (US) – May 1, 2005 (US)), US: DC Comics
  7. Russo, John (w), Verma, Dheeraj (p). Escape of the Living Dead 1–6 (September 1, 2005 (US) – March 1, 2006 (US)), US: Avatar Press, ISBN 978-1-59291-034-2
  8. Wolfer, Mike (w), Mike Wolfer (a), Dalhouse, Andrew (col). Escape of the Living Dead: Fearbook 1 (August 1, 2006 (US)), US: Avatar Press
  9. Russo, John, Mike Wolfer (w), Verma, Dheeraj (p), Lalit (i), Dalhouse, Andrew (col). Escape of the Living Dead: Airborne 1–3 (September 1, 2006 (US) – November 1, 2006 (US)), US: Avatar Press
  10. Wolfer, Mike (w), Mike Wolfer (a), Dalhouse, Andrew (col). Escape of the Living Dead Annual#1 1 (March 21, 2007 (US)), US: Avatar Press
  11. Russo, John (w), Verma, Dheeraj (a). Escape of the Living Dead: Resurrected (January 28, 2008 (US)), US: Avatar Press, ISBN 978-1-59291-047-2


  1. Boluk, Stephanie; Lenz, Wylie (June 16, 2011). "Introduction: Generation Z, the Age of Apocalypse". In Boluk, Stephanie; Lenz, Wylie. Generation Zombie: Essays on the Living Dead in Modern Culture. Jefferson, North Carolina, US: McFarland & Company. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-7864-6140-0. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  2. Hakeem. "George Romeros Trilogy of the Dead Review". MoviesOnline. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
  3. Robey, Tim. "George A Romero: Why I don't like The Walking Dead". Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  4. Barton, Steve (August 26, 2009). "Taurus to Strike Again – Day of the Dead: Epidemic". Dread Central. Retrieved August 27, 2011.
  5. "Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead official website". Poultrygeist Productions. Retrieved August 27, 2011.
  6. "Fan of the Dead official website". Retrieved August 27, 2011.
  7. "Autopsy of the Dead official website". Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  8. "Cinemall official website". Retrieved August 27, 2011.
  9. "Toe Tags volume overview". Comic Vine. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  10. "Toe Tags: The Death of Death". The Comicologist. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  11. "Escape of the Living Dead volume overview". Comic Vine. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  12. "Escape of the Living Dead: Fearbook volume overview". Comic Vine. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  13. "Escape of the Living Dead: Airborne volume overview". Comic Vine. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  14. "Escape of the Living Dead: Resurrected plot summary". Comic Vine. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/11/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.