George A. Romero Presents Deadtime Stories that Won’t Keep You Awake at Night
When you think of George Romero and filmmaking, what words come to mind? Subtlety? Intelligent scripts? Gripping plots? Realistic dialogue? Nope—me neither. To give him his due, Romero does have a talent with blood and gore, revolting characters, and abysmal situations. The scariest thing about the recently released DVD George A. Romero Presents Deadtime Stories (2009) is that it is “Volume 1.” From the look of the trailer, “Volume 2” (2010, and currently available for pre-order) can’t be far behind.
Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968) was a horror genre ground breaker, and fed us fantasies of what Romero could do with a decent budget. It was scary, disturbing, graphic, and—most importantly—different.
Well, George A. Romero Presents Deadtime Stories – Volume 1 is different, too, but not in a good way. There’s plenty of blood spray and violence, but the stories are poorly developed and the acting, for the most part, is laughable (what was the worst-acted film you ever saw? Really? Well, the acting is that bad.). While the performances range from awful (most of the cast) to adequate (Nick Mancuso), Romero’s rhyming introductions to each of the three stories in “Volume 1” are kind of weird and, at best, campy.
If you look up George A. Romero Presents Deadtime Stories on IMDB you will find the synopsis and cast of George A. Romero Presents Deadtime Stories – Volume 2. If you’d like to see info on “Volume One,” look up Deadtime Stories 2. (And, yes, I am positive that I watched “Volume One,” it says so on the DVD case. That may sound confusing, so it’s a relief that the “macabre” stories on George A. Romero Presents Deadtime Stories aren’t at all complicated…or intelligent.
The intriguingly titled first story, “Valley of the Shadow,” is a tale told by…well, don’t let me spoil the ending. It’s about a woman leading an expedition in a jungle that looks a lot like woods in the Mid-Atlantic United States, but which we suspect is supposed to be the jungles of South America. It seems her husband disappeared in this very jungle while searching for something valuable. She talks a wealthy man into financing her expedition and, as usually happens, he insists on going along. There’s not much of a story—it’s all silliness (albeit violent silliness) leading up to a preposterous end. Viewers will not want to watch “Valley of the Shadow” alone—it’s a story meant to be shared in shocked disbelief and ironic laughter.Continued on the next page