George A. Romero’s final novel The Living Dead is due to published in 2019. Romero passed away in 2017 at the age of 77, but left behind a legacy of great work. He’s best known for inventing the entire zombie subgenre with 1968’s Night Of The Living Dead, a low-budget black and white film that was infused with dark social commentary. Over the course of 4 decades, he would make a further 5 sequels, with Dawn Of The Dead and Day Of The Dead also being considered masterpieces.
His zombie films spawned a whole wave of imitators, and Romero primarily worked within horror for most of his career. He collaborated with Stephen King on anthology movie Creepshow, directed an adaptation of King’s book The Dark Half and spent years developing an epic, unmade version of The Stand. Other Romero films include Martin, Knightriders and Monkey Shines.
Romero previously wrote novelizations of his movies Dawn Of The Dead and Martin and spent years working on an epic zombie novel called The Living Dead. Sadly he passed on before finishing it, but EW reports author Daniel Kraus will now complete the book. Kraus previously co-wrote the novelization of The Shape Of Water with Guillermo del Toro and horror novel Rotters. Kraus had this to say about the state of Romero’s original manuscript, which needs a little extra work to be ready for publication.
“The state [of the manuscript] varied. Some of it was in tremendous, publish-ready state. Other parts, near of the end of what he wrote, were sketchier, clearly intended to be fleshed out later.
The plot of The Living Dead will take place across three time periods from the perspective of different characters, from a news anchor to the captain of a nuclear submarine. While Romero often had to work on a tight budget with his films, Kraus feels the book gave him a chance to unleash his imagination.
“What’s exciting about the novel, though, is how it goes the opposite direction. It’s huge. It’s a massively scaled story, a real epic, the kind no one ever gave him the budget for in film. In a book, of course, there is no budget, and in his pages you can feel his joy of being able, at last, to do every single thing he wanted.”
This is exciting news for fans of Romero, as it will give them one final work from the inventor of the zombie genre. Romero typically avoided working on studio projects because of the reduced creative freedom involved, and famously rewrote Day Of The Dead from a large scale zombie epic to a contained bunker piece when he refused to trim down the violence to make it more commercial.
There are also said to be 4 unmade Romero screenplays waiting to be produced, including Road Of The Dead, which is said to be a loose sequel to Land Of The Dead and involves a Death Race–style game set on a prison island. Romero’s son Cameron is also working a prequel to the original film dubbed Rise Of The Living Dead.
The Living Dead is due to be published in Fall 2019