Review: 'George A. Romero's Deadtime Stories Vol. 1'


It's actually sort of insulting to sit through the pitiful experience that is George Romero's Deadtime Stories Volume 1, and here's why: it's a scam. Here we have three truly terrible short stories that are "introduced" by a video image of zombie lord George Romero. There are some who dismiss the man's most recent efforts, Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead, as warmed-up leftovers from the his best films (I happen to dig 'em both), but it'd be hard to dismiss those recent Dead flicks as "trash." 

Deadtime Stories Volume 1, which has been sitting on a shelf for the better part of three years, is, it pains me to say, pure trash. It's as if a producer had three homemade short films, and not the sort you'd ever come across at a film festival, but in order to make this ungainly mass of footage into a releasable whole, they threw some cash at George Romero. Watching this fine filmmaker quip and pun his way through some witless "Crypt Keeper"-ish blather is one of most depressing things I've seen all year.

Heavy on painful dialogue and harrowingly short on action, the shorts are about A) some man-eating jungle savages, B) a ravenous mermaid, and C) a woman who is convinced that her little boy is a vampire. Already I've made them sound more entertaining than I should have. Although only about 25 minutes apiece, each short feels like an eternity of stupid words, dreary ideas, and (let's be kind) unprepared actors. To be fair, story #2 (the mermaid one) could have been slightly amusing if it hadn't been 22 minutes of two guys talking non-stop. It ends with a little gore, so perhaps I'm just being nice.

Weird bit of trivia: legendary makeup artist Tom Savini is credited as the director on the third segment, but that credit is not mentioned on the press release or even his IMDb change. That's just weird. But if Tom opted to yank his name off of this dingy little junkpile, I say more power to him. Shame on the producers for trying to trick horror fans into thinking this is a George Romero-caliber project. I've seen backyard horror films with more professionalism than this thing.

For those who dig the anthology films, try Creepshow or Trick 'r Treat. Or some Amicus classics like Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and Asylum. Anything to avoid giving your time and money to this shamefully amateurish release.