NOTE: We published the following article a couple of weeks ago, regarding almost 10 minutes of footage that never made it into the final Night of the Living Dead, that was believed to have been lost in a flood. The more we dig into this story, the less we find, and the weaker the sources appear. Nevertheless, we attempted to contact the folks running Monster Mania in Hunt Valley, Maryland, where Romero allegedly dropped this bombshell, and got no response. The rumor seems to have spread from a single posting in a forum on www.blu-ray.com: http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?p=11354146#post11354146
We have reached out to this person, and will report back if/when we get a response.
Further to that, Jim Cirronella, the Admin on the official Night of the Living Dead Facebook page had this to say:
By now, most of you have read that George Romero spilled the beans about previously thought-to-be-lost materials relating to NIGHT of the LIVING DEAD having been located. While everyone should be rightly excited by this news, I must now ask that all Living Dead fans please exercise some patience and restraint, just for a little while longer.
An announcement will be coming soon which is sure to make all of you very happy. But for now, I can say with 100% certainty that the information being spread around is both premature and erroneous, and that any further speculation could be detrimental to the project that is currently underway.
So please don’t give into the rumors, and undermine the great work that is being done for all of you. As you’ll soon find out, the NIGHT is coming and we’re all in it together.
George Romero recently announced at Monster Mania in Hunt Valley, Maryland that almost 10 minutes of lost footage that had been cut from his 1968 classic, Night of the Living Dead, had been found, while in the process of gathering assets for a brand new restoration being produced by Martin Scorsese. Apparently it had been cut from the film by the distributor, and not by Romero himself.
The cut scene “takes place at the jump cut in the basement, including the largest zombie scene in the film!”
Romero is most likely talking about the infamous jump cut that happens in the basement during a conversation between Harry (Karl Hardman) and Helen (Marilyn Eastman). Not only is there about 6 minutes of additional dialogue in what is already an intense scene, but there is a cutaway to a wide shot of zombies in a field. Romero has said that it was massive, using both live actors and mannequins to accomplish the spectacle… The workprint is discussed on the Night of the Living Dead Millennium Edition commentary track by Romero and others, starting at the 49min mark…[and] was thought to have been lost to a flood.
Very little information regarding exactly when and how this treasure will be incorporated into upcoming releases, but it would make sense that it finds its way into Scorsese’s restoration in some form (perhaps as an extra, or spliced right into the film). This missing film is from a 16mm workprint (the final film was shot on 35mm). Technology could probably accommodate mixing the two film guages (with obviously differing quality) quite seamlessly, so the question is whether incorporating this new footage bastardizes Night of the Living Dead as we know it, or whether or not it adds value. I for one would absolutely love to see this new footage, and because the cut was made by the distributors and not Romero, I’m sure he would love to see it back in the film.
Also, it sounds like it might be possible for Romero to copyright a new version of the film (or part thereof) with this added footage. As many people are aware, George Romero and his partners got shafted by a legal technicality that put Night of the Living Dead into the public domain, essentially stripping them of millions of dollars of profit. That’s why there have been so many prints (mostly awful) made and resold, with no royalties going to the original creators over the years.
It remains to be seen how this plays out. I think most people would agree they would love to see this additional 10 minutes. Night of the Living Dead is legendary, and for horror fans, finding this is like finding a missing chapter from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.