My favorite horror film of all time is also the most abused—–Night of the Living Dead. As the story goes, writer/director George A. Romero and his team never secured the rights to the film’s name back in 1968, meaning that anybody with a few bucks and a lack of originality can attempt to remake or remix the classic. Save for Tom Savini’s Romero-supported 1990 remake, any film that’s claimed a connection by direct-name has been totally irrelevant and half-assed. I’m looking right at you, Night of the Living Dead 3D.
The news that there’s soon to be a real-life-actors-mixed-with-CGI version, Night of the Living Dead: Origins, gives me slightly more optimism than its lazy predecessors. Why? Because the project—-which will be directed by Zebediah de Soto, a guy with some impressive animation work on his resume—is taking a different approach, providing backstories for the original’s characters. At least it’s not turning Ben into a white teenager with dreamy good looks. And, although I subscribe to the notion that zombies should always be actual people, not CGI (the utterly-fake-looking creatures in I Am Legend used as evidence), this description of de Soto’s technology doesn’t sound half-awful:
The duo created and designed a real-time effects system, known as ‘The Beast’, which allows filmmakers the ability to direct CG performances the same way they would direct real live actors. The aim of the process is to make tennis balls on a stick representing real people or monsters a thing of the past by allowing actors interact with CG elements as if they are tangible.
The biggest draw for Night of the Living Dead: Origins, however, is the first piece of casting: Danielle Harris has signed on to play “Barbara,” as in, “They’re coming to get you, Barbara!”. Harris, the 30-year-old beauty who looks like she never ages, is a veteran scream queen best known for an allegiance to the Halloween franchise (frankly, she’s one of the few great things about Rob Zombie’s recent collabs with Michael Myers). Before Dollhouse caught on, Eliza Dushku was in the same boat that Harris is in now, a yacht made up of actresses that are sexier than your favorite A-lister, and just as charismatic, yet can never seem to breakthrough. Night of the Living Dead: Origins is obviously not the star-making vehicle that Harris needs, but, hell, it’s starring-role work. We’ll take whatever we can get from her around here.
News spotted over at: Bloody Disgusting