City welcomes 'Dead' for a day
By Michael Machosky, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
If the worst comes to pass, and the dead roam the earth seeking the flesh of the living, where would you go?
Legendary horror director George Romero chose a certain city at the nexus of three rivers to make his last stand.
"It clearly is Pittsburgh, even if it isn't named," Romero said Wednesday at the Pittsburgh premiere of his new film, "Land of the Dead," at the Byham Theater, Downtown.
Romero devotee Quentin Tarantino, himself a director of note ("Pulp Fiction"), had other ideas. "I think the desert would be good. You could see 'em coming."
Romero's "Night of the Living Dead" -- made for a pittance in Pittsburgh in 1968 -- became one of the biggest cult hits of all time, a bleak, fatalistic, masterpiece created outside the Hollywood system.
"He was the first real regional filmmaker, who inspired me to stay home," said director Robert Rodriguez ("Sin City"), who always picks Texas over Hollywood.
This isn't the film's world premiere. But Romero pushed for the Pittsburgh event to benefit the Steeltown Filmmaking Project, which supports local aspiring filmmakers.
Romero's zombie flicks defy the usual logic of big-studio movies. To fans, the special effects guys are a bigger deal than the budget. The director is a bigger deal than the stars. And the extras are bigger than anyone else.
Melissa Bradley, 17, of Annapolis, Md., looked like an extra zombie who just lurched off the screen. She was first in line, resplendent in a white wedding dress spattered with blood.
"For George Romero fans, this is like 'Star Wars: Episode I,'" said Bradley.
"We were very strict with our zombies," said Simon Pegg, co-writer/star of the zombie film parody "Shaun of the Dead." "Whereas George's thing was to let them be themselves. Everyone has a zombie inside them. He just let them out."
The film opens Friday.
Michael Machosky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (412) 320-7901.
Original Article: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_346779.html
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