George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead   

by writer/director George A. Romero

I always like my films to be about something. Actually, that’s not true. I need my films to be about something.

After Night of the Living Dead, I had no interest in doing a second zombie film until some friends in Pittsburgh gave me a tour of their new mall. That’s how I got the inspiration for Dawn of the Dead. I needed the meaning of the story—“consumerism,” as it was later called—before I could create the story.

So what was the inspiration for Survival of the Dead?

There’s a great western, The Big Country, made in 1958, about a bitter feud between two old codgers that spins out of control. I’ve always loved that movie, and it became a point of departure for me when I began working on my new film.

In Survival of the Dead, a group of battle-weary soldiers escapes to a remote island, hoping to find a paradise that’s safe from the living dead. Instead, they get caught up in a violent battle between the two clans who live there.

It’s not much of a paradise. Nearly everyone on the island, living or dead, winds up at each other’s throats. Literally.

The movie is about war. I intend it to be an echo of what’s happening in the world today. From neighbors to nations—people don’t seem to be able to get along. The minute there’s a problem, everyone starts screaming at each other. Next thing you know, they’re all reaching for their guns.

The world has been reduced to a population of squabbling factions, each of whom believes that they are absolutely right and the other is absolutely wrong. War, of one kind or another, has become the answer to every argument.

That’s the idea behind Survival of the Dead, but I don’t want to give the impression that everything that happens in the movie is deadly serious. Deadly, yes. Serious, no.

I’ve killed off a lot of zombies in my time, and I always try to have some fun with them. You’ll see some new ways of disposing of the dead in this new film. I hope that they scare you and, sometimes, make you smile.

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