The Reeler

Recent Comments

FILM ON THE WEB

A Girl and a Gun
A_Film_By
Ain't It Cool News
Alliance of Women Film Journalists
Anne Thompson
Art Fag City
ArtFlickChick
Better Than Fudge
Big Picture Big Sound
Bitter Cinema
Blank Screen
Blogumentary
Brian Flemming
Bright Lights
Celluloid Eyes
CHUD
Chutry Experiment, The
Cinecultist
Cinema Confidential
Cinema Eye
Cinema-Scope
Cinemarati
Cinematical
CineMe
Coming Soon
Cool Cinema Trash
Cyndi Greening
Dark Horizons
Defamer
Drew's Blog-O-Rama
Errata
Esoteric Rabbit
Film Detail
Film Experience, The
Film Journal, The
Film Journey
Film Stew
Film Rotation
Flickhead
GreenCine Daily
Greg.org
Hacking Netflix
Hammer to Nail
High Sign, The
Hollywood Elsewhere
House Next Door, The
IFC Blog, The
In the Company of Glenn
IndieScene Movie Marketing Blog
indieWIRE.com
indieWIRE Blogs
Jay's Movie Blog
JoBlo's Movie Emporium
Kaiju Shakedown
Kamera
Kinoeye
Like Anna Karina's Sweater
Last Night with Riviera
Light Sleeper
Long Pauses
Looker
Masters of Cinema
Matt Zoller Seitz
Midnight Eye
Milk Plus
Mind Jack
Metaphilm
Movie Blog, The
Movie City Indie
Movie Hole, The
Movie Poop Shoot
New York Cool
NY Post Movie Blog
News of the Dead
No More Marriages!
Notes From Underdog
Out of Focus
Persistence of Vision
Pullquote
Queer Film Review
Reel Roundtable
ScreenGrab
Screen Rush
Screener (Film Journal Int.)
Screening the Past
Self-Styled Siren
Short Sheet, The
Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine Blog
Still in Motion
Stranger Song, The
They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
Tisch Film Review
Twitch
Vince Keenan
World Film (at About.com)
You Know, For Film
Zoom-In

The Reeler Blog

Who Is the Monster Here?

George Romero at Wednesday night's New York preview of Diary of the Dead (Photo: Ixiana Hernandez / Museum of the Moving Image)

By John Oursler

The fine folks at Museum of the Moving Image invited zombie guru George A. Romero to preview his latest horror/satire, Diary of the Dead, last night in Times Square, where a lively crowd called out to the screen as viewers grasped their partners and provided a running commentary of exactly who would die and how. And these were just the people in the press area.

Coming 40 years after his iconic Night of the Living Dead, Romero's latest is a prequel of sorts, going back to that grisly night when the dead first returned to life. Diary focuses on a group of student filmmakers making their own horror opus. An opening monologue alerts the audience that what they are about to watch is nothing more than a film of a film -- the students' own recording of a national disaster. They fight, drive, shoot and steal their way through three days of survival, but to hear Romero tell it Wednesday night, the story isn't really the point. "My films don't have stories," he said. "They have ideas. The story always comes after the idea."

True to Romero style, there are plenty of scares and gore. But unlike his disappointing previous effort, Land of the Dead, Diary (opening Feb. 15 in New York) revives the biting social commentary that made him famous. Advertised as a horror film for the MySpace age, Romero addresses the pervasiveness of technology, the compulsion to document "events" and the government's lackluster track record responding to tragedies. The issue sparked Romero to explore "an emerging media octopus" that elicits the question, "Where is the line of humanity?" On his deathbed, the young filmmaker inside the film asks his girlfriend to record his transformation from human to monster. But who is the monster here, anyway?

This might have something to do with why Romero, while keeping things thematically fresh, doesn't exactly group himself in with the new generation of horror filmmakers like Eli Roth. "Is there even a reason for that torture porn?" he asked. "If there is, please let me know, because I just don't see it. It's almost as if these new directors are afraid to add a human element to the whole thing. There is no purpose to the killing, just blood. That isn't scary to me, it's pointless. I'd rather go home and watch Beauty and the Beast."

Posted at February 7, 2008 11:29 AM

Post a comment

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.thereeler.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb-AjOOtIAl.cgi/1548

Search The Reeler
Join the Mailing List

RSS Feed

Archives

Send a Tip