George A. Romero can't get investors to bite on a new “Dead” feature.
The director, famed for sparking the zombie film genre via “Night of the Living Dead” and subsequent undead classics, says his last zombie movie simply didn't make enough green.
“The financiers that did 'Survival [of the Dead]' were waiting to put money into a new one, and I had a script started, but it just didn't happen,” Romero tells Big Hollywood.
He doesn't think the zombie craze will die down soon, though. He sees the runaway success of AMC's “The Walking Dead” and projects like Brad Pitt's upcoming “World War Z,” and he scratches his head over the genre's enduring strength.
“I'm amazed,” he says. “I go to these conventions and the fans that come, sometimes my line goes all day,” he says, adding he greets everyone from excitable teens to 70-something horror fans.
Romero's base will surely turn out tonight as the Starz Denver Film Festival holds a Zombie Town Hall at 7 p.m. featuring Romero, “World War Z” author Max Brooks and Steven Schlozman ("The Zombie Autopsies").
The director credits the genre's appeal, typified by the various “zombie crawls” held across the country, in part to zombie video games feeding enthusiasm for all things undead.
Romero isn't just a one undead pony, though. He's also directed smart horror features like “Creepshow,” “The Crazies” and “Monkey Shines,” but he'll always be remembered for his 1968 black and white classic. “Night of the Living Dead" blended biting social commentary with gruesome effects, a one-two punch that cemented his status in horror lore.
He may not totally grasp the culture's affection for zombies, but they still remain his muse when there's a social issue nagging at him.
“I've found that I can use it ... bring in the zombies wherever I need them,” he says, adding more recent undead movies like "Zombieland" have little appeal to him.
"It's just a shoot-em up," he says.
For Romero, a zombie movie must have brains.
"I always have CNN on. That's where I get my ideas," he says. "If I'm gonna do another [zombie movie], it has to start there."
Follow Christian Toto on Twitter @totomovies