Some teen focus group must have suggested that zombies are the new vampires. Hot on the heels of yesterday’s news that Six Feet Under executive producer and former WB Entertainment president David Janollari had joined MTV’s programming team, comes word of this: The network is planning to create a spin-off TV series of Dawn of the Dead licensed from George Romero’s 1978 horror film, which was the second in his Living Dead series. On the surface this makes sense: the story is set in a suburban shopping mall.
And yet… If you’ll remember, horror fans absolutely freaked when Zack Snyder decided to do a big-screen “re-imagining” of the classic in 2004 — complete with fast-moving zombies. Lucky for him, Sarah Polley didn’t disappoint, and if nothing else, the first 10 minutes of the movie are cinematic gold. (Random bit of trivia: Title designer Kyle Cooper used actual human blood when designing the film’s opening and closing credit sequences. Yum.) But based on the caliber of acting in MTV’s previous original series (Undressed, anyone?), we wouldn’t expect much. Or anything, really.
According to Bloody Disgusting, MTV’s version will feature a mixture of fast and slow zombies. This just seems counterintuitive to us. Or greedy. Like pick sides already.
There aren’t many more details about the project currently available, but as /film points out, their recent Halloween special, My Super-Psycho Sweet 16, which was directed by Jacob Gentry, one of three indie filmmakers behind The Signal, wasn’t meant to be half bad. More importantly, it delivered the network’s highest ratings in that time period in over a year and a half. So that explains their motivation here.
But will they be able to make a zombie show worth watching without veering into MA-rating territory? Will the production value be high enough that we actually have a visceral reaction to the gore? Will teens understand the satire of American consumerism that made the original so much fun? More importantly, will they find some way to work in Snookie and the rest of the Jersey Shore cast?