Something happened today that really gave this horror fan pause, something that stopped me, um, dead in my tracks. Apparently George Romero's latest chapter in his Dead saga (or his reboot to a new series or whatever), Diary of the Dead was released to DVD this week. As I strolled through the aisles of my local Circuit City, there it was in the horror section somewhere between Dementia 13 and Dreamcatcher. But what surprised me to see it was the fact that I was surprised to see it. This is a new Romero movie after all - a new Romero zombie movie at that - and yet its arrival came as news to me.
Oh sure, somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that it was due on DVD soon. I've half-glimpsed the online ads for it that've appeared lately. But I never bothered to make a mental note of what date it was hitting stores. And that in itself is strange. A lot of movies fall through the cracks for me these days but I never thought I'd have such an indifferent reaction to a new Romero film. Not only was I surprised to see Diary of the Dead out in stores, but after seeing it was available I didn't even make a move to buy it.
Not just that, I didn't even make the minimal gesture of physically picking up a copy to look at the back sleeve to see the synopsis or special features! Seeing that this was out should've at least prompted a pick-it-up, walk-around-the-store-with-it, then maybe - grudgingly - put it back moment (with the intention to pick up a rental copy on the way home!). But yet I walked by Diary of the Dead like it was a box set of the Prom Night series.
Each Romero release used to be an event - as a kid I made it a mission to see films like Creepshow and Day of the Dead in theaters even though at the time I wasn't of age to see either. And even though the films he's made since haven't been his most exceptional work, I still looked forward to them - even Bruiser was a movie I rushed to watch on video. And as recently as Land of the Dead, I was hotly anticipating his latest film.
But Diary of the Dead is going to go unwatched by me and yet I couldn't even tell you why I can't bring myself to see it. The scathing reviews might have something to do with it but I wouldn't let that stop me from watching something I already had an interest in. Maybe it's just that I can't take any more zombies from the man. For me, as a fan, Land of the Dead closed that book to my satisfaction. Whatever the case, whatever is keeping me away from Diary of the Dead, all I know is that walking past Romero's latest without even a backwards glance made me sad.
Like something had died.