Rusty Nails’ featurette “Stay Scared” part of
DVD release of Romero’s “Land of the Dead”

When the DVD of George Romero’s new zombie picture “Land of the Dead” hits stores this summer, it will include Rusty Nails’ featurette “Stay Scared: The Art of George A. Romero.”

Nails, founder and organizer of the Movieside Film Festival, is collaborating with producing partners Chad Wilson and Meredith Corrado, and with George Romero’s daughter Tina Romero, on “Stay Scared,” and on the independent feature doc “Dead On: The Life and Cinema of George A. Romero.”

Asia Argento and Simon Baker in George Romero’s “Land of the Dead.” Photo by Michael Gibson, courtesy Universal Studios

“Land of the Dead” is Romero’s fourth “Dead” film, after “Night of the Living Dead” (1968), “Dawn of the Dead” (1978) and “Day of the Dead” (1985). “Land,” about a band of humans holding out in a world overrun with zombies, stars Dennis Hopper, John Leguizamo, and Asia Argento, daughter of “Dawn” producer Dario Argento.

After studio execs screened a fine cut, Universal Pictures bumped the theatrical release for “Land of the Dead” up, from Oct. 23 to June 24.

“They’re expecting it to be one of their high profile summer films, which is a great reward to George for his strong body of work,” Nails said. “It puts some heat on us as far as getting our cut for the DVD three months sooner.”

Nails became friends with the Romeros after they appeared at the Movieside Film Festival last May. George’s wife Christine Romero landed Nails the “Stay Scared” gig with Universal.

“Stay Scared” follows George Romero from pre- through postproduction on “Land of the Dead.” Nails, Wilson and Tina Romero shot part of the doc on the “Land” set in Toronto last December.

“George initially wanted to make it in Pittsburgh” where he has made most of his films, Nails said, “but because of tax breaks in Canada the producers felt it would be better for the film if they shot in Toronto.”

“People were coming from all over Canada to be zombies,” Nails continued. “A lot of extras were saying it was their lifelong dream to be zombies for George Romero.”

John Waters, like Romero a past Movieside guest, will narrate “Stay Scared.” “I thought it would be good to get somebody who was not a horror filmmaker, but a peer as far as being both an independent filmmaker and a Hollywood filmmaker who retains an independent stance.”

Carmine Cervi of Bulletproof Films is editing “Stay Scared,” which is a co-production of Nails’ New Eye Films and Bulletproof. Shooters include Caroline Brandes, Eric Burton and Jonathan Buchanan.


Filmmakers testify to Romero’s influence in “Dead On”

While “Stay Scared” captures Romero’s work process, Rusty Nails’ feature-length “Dead On: The Life and Cinema of George A. Romero” will step back to show the filmmaker’s legacy and influence on cinema.

“We’re looking at him from the perspective of being one of the first regional filmmakers outside of Hollywood and New York?he’s pretty much stuck to Pittsburgh,” Nails said. “And he’s regarded as one of the mavericks of independent film in America and around the world.”

Nails is self-financing “Dead On,” grabbing interviews with filmmakers and critics wherever he can, as they make Chicago appearances, or he meets up with them at festivals like South by Southwest screening his punk doc short “The Ramones and I.”

Interviews subjects so far include Danny Boyle, Wim Wenders, Daniel Myrick, Richard Linklater, Eli Roth, Elvis Mitchell, Penn Jillette and Glen Danzig. Stephen King, John Carpenter, Roger Ebert and John Pierson are slated for upcoming interviews. Nails is in talks with Jim Jarmusch, another Movieside headliner, about narrating “Dead On.”

“Dead On” shooters include Jonathan Buchanan and Eric Eichelberger.

Nails’ narrative feature debut, “Acne,” recently became one of the first DVD movie releases from punk rock label Go-Kart Records. He’s developing the $200,000 35mm horror feature “Teenagers from Mars” for a planned fall production.