On October 1, 1968, George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead premiered in Pittsburgh, with a total budget of only $114,000. Although the film originally received mixed reviews from film critics, it eventually was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation within the National Film Registry as a film deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”
After more than forty years of re-releases and international sales, the film has grossed approximately $256,147,434, making it one of the most successful horror films ever created. Since you’re reading this blog, I’m to assume that you 1) have seen this film and 2) absolutely love the hell out of it. Every self-respecting Halloween fan loves it, that’s a universal fact. It’s why we carry so many zombie costumes.
Now, a couple indie filmmakers and screenwriters are looking to turn this iconic classic into a theatrical play, though the idea is currently looking for funding via IndieGoGo.com, a site similar to Kickstarter. The theatrical re-imagining is titled Night of the Living Dead Live, and here’s what the creators have to say about the project:
“Night of the Living Dead Live will captivate audiences as they experience this classic told in the intimate setting of a live theater. This will bring the viewer closer to the story than ever before, as they are literally sitting in the house with the characters as they fight and kill their way through the marauding ghouls. At the end of the show everyone in the room will know what it feels like to experience a night with the living dead!”
In addition, to ensure the original film’s essence is not lost in translation, the theatrical play will be presented “entirely in black and white, from the set design right to the actors.” Here’s a short video of the creators discussing their passion for the project:
If the reader is wondering how an indie group found the rights to recreating Romero’s original, the film’s original distributor, the Walter Reade Organization, did not place a copyright indication on the prints. Back in 1968, United States copyright law required proper notice to maintain a copyright, and this never happened. Allegedly, Romero was given the opportunity to rename the film, make a few “creative edits,” and place a new copyright on the film, ensuring it would remain his, but for whatever reason he never did it, so the film entered public domain status.
But that does not necessarily mean the theatrical play is going behind Romero’s back. Quite the opposite, in fact, as the indie team lists George A. Romero as part of the team, titled an Executive Producer. One may interpret this as his official approval of the theatrical play’s production.
The play is being directed by Christopher Bond, the co-creator and co-director of the play Evil Dead The Musical. If you want to see the theatrical play come to life, chip in at the play’s IndieGoGo page.