It's a weird thing I did this week.
I just wrote a zombie movie for George Romero.
Well, truth be told, I didn't write the whole thing this week. It's something I've been working on for a while, but I did hand it in this week.
I should have been more nervous. I mean, it's like writing a space opera for Lucas or a misanthropic tragedy for Fincher. A dark fairy tale for Burton, or a... well you get the picture. And to make matters worse (or better depending on your perspective) the script was for a film that was in the process of being remade (yes it's a remake but put down the knife) by another film icon - Bob Clark - of one of his own early directorial works, but unfortunately we lost Bob to a tragic car accident in 2007 and the project was shelved. (I wasn't involved yet).
Rights for the project eventually fell into the hands of Fangoria Films who brought me on to do the page 1 of the script in January this year, after they'd attached Romero to direct and Tom Savini to do the spfx.
It should have been more daunting than it was. I love zombie movies, and I've studied them like a good little horror scholar, and here I was being given an opportunity to update a beloved classic from late night horror TV programming, FOR the KING of zombies, IN HONOR of a deceased iconic genre director.
But no pressure.
Actually, that's kind of true. I didn't feel any pressure when I was writing, believe it or not. And I think that's because I didn't think about it all too much. I didn't get into the meta of it. I just put my head down, watched the CRAP out of the original to get it all in my head, then started typing on my laptop. My goal? Just write a great zombie movie.
And with a main character like Alan (played by Alan Ormsby in the original film) I have to say it was a breeze. I kept him almost exactly like he was in the original. I loved that the protagonist for the film was also the antagonist. I mean, the zombies are the bad guys, I know, but the REAL villain is the same person as our hero. The zombies are just minions.
Anyway, I kept Alan in tact because I think he's the main reason the original is so beloved, and I kept the plot the same - essentially, and I kept the location the same - a deserted island with ample forgotten graveyards on it. All I did was update it a bit, (not too much though, because I hate tragically hip films, and they date themselves before they've even hit the theater), and I brought the zombie fight out of the house and let them play all over the island - an abandoned hospital, a historical lighthouse, a series of underground tunnels, a fully operational coast guard base... and I added more zombies.
A LOT more zombies.
And when I say a LOT more zombies, I mean a FUCKING LOT MORE ZOMBIES.
There's lots of killing and being killed. Matter of fact, from page 30 on, it's pretty much a non-stop slaughter fest, and a fun one at that.
Come to think of it, I now know that the reason I didn't buckle under the pressure of writing a zombie movie for Romero is because I was having so much fun writing and playing with Clark's characters. And I forgot all about the external stuff.
I was just having a good time writing.
And thank God for that.
Because if I'd stopped to really intellectualize what I was doing, I would have freaked the hell out.
Having handed the script in, though, and knowing now that the producing team is happy (I got the call today and they were ecstatic & giggling devilishly at what I'd done), I can now allow myself to freak out a little bit. But in a good way.
I can also mark one of my big items off the ol' bucket list...
Write a zombie movie for George Romero.
Gaudium Per Atrox.