Swanton native Chad Zuver is a local independent film director with an appetite for horror. He recently adapted George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968), a classic in its genre, into his own original screenplay. He began writing the script in November 2013, and the film will be screened this month at the Maumee Indoor Theater.
But why Night of the Living Dead? Again? The film has been made many times over, but Zuver felt he could tell the story in a different way, tailored directly for blood-thirsty horror fans. He says that the script itself was rich enough on its own to warrant a creative departure that is sure to keep movie-goers on the edge of their seats.
Brains for the audience
The script remains true to the original for the most part, but Zuver indicates that this version contains an exciting and unexpected plot twist that he would not reveal to audiences (or journalists!) ahead of time. “I love the original movie, and wanted to add something new to the story.” he commented, also stating that he relishes the challenge of bringing a re-make of such a well-known film to audiences.
The film was made in collaboration with Zuver’s production company, Shattered Images Films, which notably made the independent horror flick New Blood Rising, released this year.
Shattered Images Films relies upon local actors and artists, many of whom devote their time without pay, to making movies. Zuver has developed a cadre of actors he enjoys casting over and over. “I trust the actors I’ve worked with before,” he says. “All of them were perfect for the roles I had in mind. I’m really excited about my cast and crew. They all really want to be a part of one of the greatest zombie movies of all time.” Among the actors returning to this production are Lee Godwin, Rebekka Daniel, Kayla Elizabeth, Sarah Thomas, Lisa Marie, Melissa Zahs, J.J. Lahey and Layla Thomas. Night of the Living Dead will also include Detroit comedian Gad Holland.
Appetite for success
The Maumee Indoor Theater has been instrumental in Chad Zuver’s career, as it has served as a platform to release and promote his films. Zuver appreciates the fact that the theater is a local staple and remains one of the last small independently owned movie houses in the area. “The manager has been great and very cooperative,” Zuver noted. The Maumee Theater also served as the location for the New Blood Rising premiere earlier this year.
The film was co-produced by Cullen Park Productions (also based in Toledo) and is sponsored by TrappedToledo, JC Comics N'More, Tom+Chee, Thriller Ink, iLink Real Estate Company, and Sidelines.
Shattered Images’ Night of the Living Dead premieres Friday, October 24 at the Maumee Indoor Theater, 601 Conant St. in Maumee. Showings at 7pm and 9:30pm. Tickets are $7.50. The film will be released in theaters everywhere on October 25.