Shudder’s The Bite Remembering GEORGE ROMERO rarities, ZACK SNYDER’S zombies & more

The Bite by Shudder
George Romero


Remembering George Romero Rarities   
By Michael Marano
This week would have been George A. Romero’s 79th birthday. The father of the modern zombie movie, he also made classics like CreepshowKnightridersCode Name: Trixie (aka The Crazies) and Martin. But some of the maestro’s less well-known, non-zombie projects are just as interesting.

When you think “Media Guy from Pittsburgh,” most folks think of Romero or Fred Rogers. These two guys are on the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to theme and content — Romero with his political commentary through violent horror, and Rogers with his gentle, kid-friendly allegories with puppets. So, of course … these guys worked together.

One of Romero’s first paying gigs was on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, alongside future Batman Michael Keaton (who was a grip). Yes, Mr. Rogers, Romero, and Beetlejuice worked in the same room. Among other things, Romero shot film segments for Rogers, including this little gem about Rogers getting a tonsillectomy, which is probably Romero’s best use of a hospital setting until his video for The Misfits’ song, “Scream.”

(Rogers would later call Romero’s zombie movies “A lot of fun!”)

Soon after his work with Rogers, Romero made a series of commercials for his production company, Latent Image, along with Night of the Living Dead co-writer John Russo and producer Russell Streiner. They include a technically impressive knock-off of Fantastic Voyage for Calgon and a starkly terrifying political ad for McGovern.

But the Grail among Romero’s lesser seen works is The Amusement Park, a short film Romero made for a religious group about the mistreatment of the elderly that was apparently too horrific for the people who commissioned it. It’s been tucked away like The Necronomicon ever since. According to Romero scholar Tony Williams, The Amusement Park is a savage indictment “of American callousness towards the vulnerable members of its society, and implicitly articulates the need for a social humanistic revolution within that society.”

In The Amusement Park, a dapper gent, played by Lincoln Maazel, Uncle Cuda in Romero’s Martin, goes through ever-increasingly horrible debasements in an evil take on Adventureland where old folks are cut off from functioning society. There have been screenings here and there, but The George A. Romero Foundationis trying to get The Amusement Park restored and available to the public.

Hopefully we’ll all get to see it soon.

And in the meantime, happy birthday, George!

Image of the Week


Wanna Be a Crypt Keeper?
The horror tales published by EC Comics in the early ’50s were legendary — and legendarily gruesome. You can see exactly how gruesome thanks to the original art from a complete 8-page story drawn by the great Jack Davis for a 1954 issue of Crypt of Terror. It’s being auctioned off, with the bidding currently up to $8,500.


Tiny Bites 
If you missed it, here’s the Super Bowl trailer forJordan Peele’s reboot of The Twilight Zone.

And here are the four Super Bowl teasers for Guillermo del Toro’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. (Yes!)

Also, Jordan Peele told Rolling Stone that Lupita Nyong’o’s performance in his new horror film Us “is on par with Hannibal Lecter gravitas.”

Zack Snyder is making a Las Vegas zombie heist movie called Army of the Dead and he says it will be “the most kick-ass, self-aware … balls-to-the-wall zombie freakshow that anyone has ever seen.” We’re in.

A Queen Mary horror movie is being filmed aboard the real-life (and allegedly haunted) Queen Mary. Which totally seems like a good idea.

Stephen King’s new novel The Institute — rumored to have a Firestarter connection — will be released in September. Time to bring back Shudder Book Club.

Chucky creator Don Mancini says his new TV show will be “a fresh take on the franchise.”

Horror legend Dick Miller — who appeared in everything from A Bucket of Blood and the originalLittle Shop of Horrors to Gremlins and The Terminator— has died at 90.

Tony Todd, star of the 1992 horror classic Candymanand its two sequels, says he “won’t take it personally” if he doesn’t have some sort of role in Jordan Peele’s planned re-imagining. (But we’d still like to see him in it.)

A lover of horror games explains why she hates horror movies. (It comes down to “empowerment.”)

Director Nicholas McCarthy says an Alamo Drafthouse screening of his evil kid movie to an audience of expectant mothers was “the greatest day of my life.”

The Descent


North Carolina + North Dakota
By Sam Zimmerman
Today, we head to the Appalachian Mountains and encounter ghosts on the Great Plains.

North Carolina: The Descent

North Carolina hosts perhaps greatest modern monster movie. In Neil Marshall’s crucial The Descent, a group of best friend adventurers head to North Carolina’s swath of Appalachian Mountains, where they plan a deep, dark spelunking trip. The film uses the concept of elaborate Appalachian cave systems to prey on very natural fears of claustrophobia and being lost. It also preys on only slightly less natural fears of humanoid cave monsters. Bonus shouts out to the North Carolina-lensed The Mutilator — one of the great trash slashers, which comes complete with its own theme song (albeit for its alternate title, “Fall Break’) — and post-Scream jam, I Know What You Did Last Summer, set and shot in and around Southport, North Carolina.

North Dakota: The Messengers

Before Twilight and all around icon status, Kristen Stewart starred in a studio creeper, produced by Sam Raimi and directed by Hong Kong duo, the Pang Brothers, who gained prominence thanks to their intensely eerie The Eye. Danny Pang and Oxide Chung Pang headed to the Great Plains for their English language debut, telling the tale of a family who relocates to a haunted farm.



Killer Tracks
Horror’s premiere print magazine celebrates its return with Fangoria Presents Hollydoom, a collection of 10 spooky tracks. There’s a wide range of music here, everything from retro horror to macabre metal to the orchestral sounds of the legendary John Carpenter. Pop in those earbuds and prepare for some fearsome ear candy.

Shudder in the News

Shudder additions to love in February, including original doc Horror Noire

Review: Horror Noire Offers Fresh Perspectives on Representation in the Genre

Cult Conversations: Interview with Robin Means Coleman (Pt.II) (Horror Noire)

Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror

Interview | New Shudder Documentary Shines a Light On Black Horror (Horror Noire)

NPR: Executive Producer Of Horror Noire Documentary Shares 3 Must-See Black Horror Films

Shudder’s new documentary Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror is a must-watch

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