We sadly lost the godfather of zombies three years ago, but George A. Romero’s legacy remains intact. While many fondly remember his “Dead” trilogy which spanned from 1968 to 1985, many overlook the later films he made in that franchise, including Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead, and Survival of the Dead. Since today marks the 15th anniversary of Land of the Dead, we thought it would be fitting to look at 15 fun facts about it, one for each year since its release!
1. After a 20 year gap from Day of the Dead, it was the success of the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake that convinced Universal to greenlight the movie.
2. George A. Romero had previously written a script, which he submitted to the studio only a few days before September 11, 2001. But in the wake of the devastating terrorist attack, no studio was comfortable proceeding with a violent zombie movie for a while.
3. The delay gave Romero time to rewrite the script, and include themes of terrorism and freedom vs. security, which were very relevant in the post 9/11 era.
4. The premise was originally included in a much longer script for 1985’s Day of the Dead, that George A. Romero wasn’t able to film at the time.
5. Originally, Romero wanted to film in Pittsburgh, but due to Canadian tax incentives, the producers opted to film everything in Ontario.
6. Simon Baker had always wanted to worth with Romero, so Land of the Dead became his first horror film. However, later that year he would also star in The Ring Two.
7. Remains the most expensive film in Romero’s “Dead” franchise. Its budget was $19 million compared to Night of the Living Dead ($114,000), Dawn of the Dead ($1.5 million), Day of the Dead ($4 million), Diary of the Dead ($2 million), and Survival of the Dead ($4 million).
8. Long before starring in Land of the Dead, Asia Argento’s father Dario Argento worked with Romero on Dawn of the Dead. Asia said that she grew up on horror film sets and that the look and smell of fake blood reminds her of childhood.
9. Tom Savini appears as a zombie, in the same biker outfit as Dawn of the Dead, thus we can assume it’s the same character.
10. George A. Romero was such a fan of 2004’s Shaun of the Dead that he gave cameos to Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright as zombies.
11. Dennis Hopper apparently based his corrupt politician character on Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense under Gerald Ford and George W. Bush.
12. The premiere was attended by Judith O’Dea, who played “Barbara” from Night of the Living Dead.
13. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3 stars, and praised its portrayal of class divide, even in a zombie apocalypse.
14. The movie was banned in Ukraine due to its violence and portrayal of cannibalism. The previous films in the series had gotten releases in Ukraine, but at the time they were under Soviet rule.
15. There was a video game prequel released a year later called Land of the Dead: Road to Fiddler’s Green.
What did you think of Land of the Dead? Were there any facts that you already knew, or that surprised you? Let us know in the comments!
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