George Romero's Final Book on The Living Dead Is Getting Released

Image: Image Ten via MOMA
Image: Image Ten via MOMA

Famed director George A. Romero, the man behind Night of the Living Dead, may have passed away last year, but his contribution to zombie lore is not over yet. The book he was in the process of writing before his death will be finished by The Shape of Water’s novel co-writer Daniel Kraus.


According to Entertainment Weekly, Kraus (Trollhunters, The Shape of Water novel, Rotters) has signed on to complete Romero’s final work, The Living Dead, set to be released next year. Kraus called the novel “huge,” saying it’s a large-scale story that no one would’ve given Romero the budget to bring to film—hence why he was working on a novelization.

Romero worked on the book, off and on, for over a decade—after his death, his wife and manager sought someone who could complete it (Kraus said some of it is near-complete, while other parts need a lot of work). Beyond examining Romero’s Living Dead series, Kraus said he’s been poring through Romero’s full body of work, along with interviews and personal interests, trying to get a sense of who the man was in order to best represent him on the page.

“Only half the job I’m doing is finishing this book,” Kraus said. “The other half is putting George back together...I’m studying his favorite movies, watching his favorite operas, listening to his favorite music, all in an attempt to find in them the inspirations he might have found.”

“It’s not like having George next to me, but it’s what I have, and I’m treasuring every moment of it,” Kraus added. The Living Dead is set to be released in Fall 2019. Here’s the official synopsis, as revealed by EW:

On October 24th, John Doe rises from the dead. Assistant Medical Examiner Luis Acocella and his assistant Charlene Rutkowksi are vivisecting him when it happens, and so begins a global nightmare beyond comprehension.

Greer Morgan is a teenager living in a trailer park, and when the dead begin their assault, the true natures of her neighbors are revealed. Chuck Chaplin is a pretty-boy cable-news anchor, and the plague brings sudden purpose to his empty life.

Karl Nishimura is the helmsman of the U.S.S. Vindicator, a nuclear submarine, and he battles against a complete zombie takeover of his city upon the sea. And meanwhile, a mysterious woman named Etta Hoffmann records the progress of the epidemic from a bunker in D.C., as well as the broken dreams and stubborn hopes of a nation not ready to give up.

Spread across three separate time periods and combining Romero’s biting social commentary with Kraus’s gift for the beautiful and grotesque, the book rockets forward as the zombie plague explodes, endures, and finally, in a shocking final act, begins to radically change.

[Entertainment Weekly]



I still consider Night of the Living Dead one of the best horror movies of all time, if one of the best movies of all time (even if I like Dawn of the Dead slightly better). Hell, Roger Ebert had a great review of just the audience’s reaction (the audience was made up of little kids, who were used to going to cheesy monster movies — remember, Night of the Living Dead came out a few months before the “R rating” existed):

The kids in the audience were stunned. There was almost complete silence. The movie had stopped being delightfully scary about halfway through, and had become unexpectedly terrifying. There was a little girl across the aisle from me, maybe nine years old, who was sitting very still in her seat and crying... It’s hard to remember what sort of effect this movie might have had on you when you were six or seven. But try to remember. At that age, kids take the events on the screen seriously, and they identify fiercely with the hero. When the hero is killed, that’s not an unhappy ending but a tragic one: Nobody got out alive. It’s just over, that’s all.