(Hollywood)--Anyone who doesn't know who George Romero is has either been living under a rock or else is one of the Undead this director used to create his…um…moderately successful "Zombie" franchise. After his release of the cult classic "Night of The Living Dead" in 1968, Romero became known for other blockbusters such as…."Dawn of the Dead" and….."Day of The Dead"….not to mention the most recent dead-on-arrival, "Land of The Dead". While it is theorized that he was architect of a few other dead-end projects in the 90's, it is widely feared that even death itself won't stop this man from cranking out even more of these gore oozing sequels. You write what you know.
But, given the lukewarm reception the latest installment of the Dead series has received, it's not unrealistic to assume Romero may have finally reached a dead spot in this franchise. The reason is probably because the flesh-eating dead no longer frighten us as a society. Not after seeing this year's winners of the Metal of Freedom. Sure, there are rumors of deeper, social implications in these Dead movies, but the clammy hands of time have made a cynical mess of Romero's once easily frightened core audience. Now, the only thing a scene of entrails-eating zombies induces is a desire to visit the snack bar, thanks in part to the Pavlovian conditioning the movie concession industry has been using on audiences for the past three decades. Sorry, George, it looks like "reality television" finally made your audience as lifeless as your primary movie antagonist. You want to scare people? Try running a Zombie for public office and get him elected. Yeah, that works only if other Zombies vote for him.
Maybe it's just the times, but Zombies tearing through human flesh just isn't as funny as it used to be. Sure, you don't have to pay actors as much to do the Zombie Shuffle for 120 minutes, but in reality, Rumsfeld has been doing it for more than four years now, so that gimmick is getting a little worn. And given Romero's restricted thematic span and an increasingly limited number of plots featuring walking corpses, it's now suspected that Romero's film career is at subbasement level 113 and dropping fast. It is possible that his latest serving of ghoulish chowder was enough to push the bottom button on the Express Elevator to Oblivion. It's a long way there, but the Muzak compositions of The Grateful Dead and a word processor should keep him entertained long enough to stay the course. Maybe in the interim he can produce a script about a brain-deadened population that elects a Zombie for president…who promptly urges an entire population to stay the course on the primrose path to Hell. But, where's the entertainment value in that?