Horror website bloody-disgusting.com delivered a surprising scoop earlier today: MTV is licensing George A. Romero's classic horror film Dawn of the Dead for the purposes of spinning off a television series. Dawn, the second entry in Romero's original Dead trilogy followed a rag tag group of survivors that hole up in a shopping mall while the world outside is overrun by the living the dead. Precious little is known about this project, and curiously, bloody-disgusting.com appear to have removed their original article from their site, so it's very difficult to offer much of an opinion on this. Would the series be set entirely in the shopping mall? How many stories could they possibly concoct about a small group of people living in an abandoned shopping mall with uncertain death stumbling around outside in the parking lot trying to get in? Conversely, If it took place outside of the mall, what connection would it really have to Dawn of the Dead? Without the mall, it's just zombies, not Dawn of the Dead. I have a nagging suspicion that the recent success of Zombieland, and the involvement of MTV - not exactly a name-brand in the horror business (despite some recent, surprising genre choices like the straight to DVD horror flick My Super Psycho Sweet 16 and their upcoming werewolf series based on the cheesy 80's flick Teen Wolf) - means this might trade dark horror and social commentary for a lighter tone and a more teen-friendly vibe.
George A. Romero is unlikely to be too precious about his property even if MTV does want to change the tone or mess with the canon of his original film. His first trilogy, Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead have all each been remade at least one time. (On top of te remakes, there have been other efforts to milk the franchise. Due to complicated rights issues and low wattage intelligence by the hack who purchased said rights, there's actually a film called Day of the Dead 2: Contagium. The film purports to be a sequel to Romero's Day; which, by the way was the third film of the series so to have a sequel with 2 in the title is odd. In reality it was just a zomebie movie trying to cash in on the marginal name-brand value of Romero's least-known entry.) A Dawn television series is an odd project, but it's even stranger that MTV is the network looking to try this. It seems like a considerable shift from the programming they've been developing in the last decade (rich kids act like douchebags) and it's the second old film property that they are rebooting for the small screen. In light of the slew of television shows we've seen get a "big screen update" - usually an underwhelming results - it is interesting to see MTV doing the opposite. What remains to be seen is if they can get better results. The picture should become a little clearer when he find out who the creative team is that's going to be spearheading this venture.