George Romero doco Dead On by Rusty Nails

July 30, 2008

Monday night at MIFF saw the new George Romero doco by Rusty Nails. It was great exploration of the Zombie masters work. Nails asked for a few critical comments after the screening, as it was a rough cut. So, I will add a few later.

Before the doco’s screening we got to see Tina Romero’s short Rainbowarrior (Tina is George’s daughter and MIFF guest with her father). Based on the cool song by Coco Rosie the films is about a Totalitarian strict girls school and the plight of a student/s to break free. Tina it seems has inherited here father’s visual flair, as she delivers an accomplished short. While I would have liked a bit of spanking in this imaginary school, the short portrays an atmosphere of repression and uses sound and image in a poetic manner, that more than makes up for this lack. We’d love to play it at MUFF this year!

Rusty Nails doco Dead On is a great journey through the dynamic career of this masterful horror director. I was always fond of the non zombie Romero films Jacks Wife, Martin, Knightriders, Creepshow and The Dark Half and its good to see these films getting equal attention in Dead On.The zombie films are well covered and the Dawn section I enjoyed tremendously. Interviews from Ed Harris, Ken Foree, Stephen King, Tom Savini, Michael Rooker, Dennis Hopper and other collaborators are all revealing and if there is more here we could see it. Romero’ libertarian 60’s outlook is focussed on. He seems like a really cool and misunderstood guy. Against this flower child back ground, is his pessimism and misanthropy about the human condition, exemplified best recently by the final segments of Diary of the Dead. I would like to have heard more about the nihilistic excess in Romero’s cannon and what it portends politically for the 21st century. I find Romero’s films politically prescient and caught between the two poles of extreme libertarianism, and the flip side of a nihilistic desire for a cleansing apocalypse

Rusty asked for some critical comments. I couldn’t stay for the Q&A, so here they are. The segment that deals with Romero’s interest in dancing could be cut. And the Latent Image information cut a little. Some of the comments by Romero’s early collaborators are not as lucid or impressive as those of his later collaborators. The film could be shortened by ten minutes or so. Thats all really.

Good close to my favorite section of MIFF this year. The Romero focus was a surprise and a treat, worthy of praise from our festival – MUFF.

One Response to “George Romero doco Dead On by Rusty Nails”

  1. I’m a huge Romero fan, of course. I really want to see this doc ever since I watched a teaser trailer a few months ago. Sounds great! I love Martin and Creepshow in addition to the zombie flicks as well. Romero always seems like such a good guy on top of everything, too.

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