Remembering Romero: George Romero’s ‘Survival of the Dead’ (2010)


Romero Week comes to a close as 1428 Elm looks back at his final zombie outing, 2010’s ‘Survival of the Dead.’ Fighting zombies is just the beginning.

The Websters Dictionary defines survival as the state or fact of continuing to live or exist, typically in spite of an accident, ordeal, or difficult circumstances and an object or practice that has continued to exist from an earlier time. Soon, one filmmaker is about to prove both right.


It’s 2006 and George Romero is 66 years old. With a legendary career already behind him, the filmmaker is relaxing in a decade bleeding with horror — partly due to his brilliance. He makes Diary of the Dead, and molds his narrative around our reliance and addition to tech. Ultimately a film failing to find balance between narrative and theme, the experience arguably shows the legend’s age. Romero says silent for three years.

It’s 2009 and the Pittsburgh icon is back on the horror scene. Abandoning social commentary, Romero’s next feature is different, and ultimately, his last. And in the end of his decades long career, he knows only one thing truly matters — surviving.


George Romero’s ‘Survival of the Dead’ (2010) — Courtesy of Magnet Releasing

The film is Survival of the Dead. The second in Romero’s new zombie series, the film opens with little life and no legs at the box office. On a $4M budget, the movie makes over a hundred thousand worldwide. Which is sad, because Romero’s final film is an underrated thrill ride.

Starring Alan Van Sprang, Joshua Peace and Kathleen Munroe, with Kenneth Welsh giving a solid sidesplitting performance as O’Flynn, Survival focuses on the differences of two families’ idea on what to do with the dead. Revisiting the Rhodes/Frankenstein argument — can we teach and preserve the undead — the film leaves social commentary behind for a fun, though still thought-provoking, thrill ride. 


More from George Romero

While Survival of the Dead seemingly finds hate around every corner, the film offers so much. From reinforcing ideas of man’s biggest threat, to its fun “Loony Tunes” tone, it’s a ride people should be taking more — a ride that has many seats still open.

And honestly, I see a future where Survival of the Dead finds a bigger audience. Like Day, though not on the same level, Survival is better than the credit its given. Some see an undead horse and think it corny, I see a legend daring to do something different. Some see a silly story set in a zombie world, I see  the justification of differing ideologies. And ultimately, some see an aging filmmaker grasping at straws, I see an iconic storyteller looking for new ways to use genre conventions.

It’s been a week since the passing of George Romero. Through the man’s time on earth was short, much like our own, his tales will never stop inspiring. And while there will never be another Romero, here’s hoping his ideas continue to inspire generations of filmmakers to come.

R.I.P Romero. Thinks for showing us a different way to survive.

Love or hate ‘Survival of the Dead’? Missing its maker? Let the other Zombies know what you think in the comment section below.