While George A. Romero is known worldwide as the grandfather of zombie horror, what is not as well known is that he has often been asked to help adapt some popular franchises to the big screen. While it can be hard to fathom, the reason it’s not common knowledge is that many projects never progressed beyond initial script or processing.
One of these projects was the first resident Evil movie, which had a screenplay written by Romero that was rejected in favor of the version of Paul WS Anderson given to us. Yes, that’s right – the master of zombie horror wrote a script based on the greatest zombie video game and someone decided not to bother using it. What has emerged recently is that Romero also adapted RL Stine’s film. Goose bumps when the book series was at its peak.
While the Goose bumps The franchise had an average TV series in the ’90s, it wasn’t until the 2015 movie Jack Black that RL Stine’s spooky collection hit the big screen. The last film and its sequel, however, was not the first attempt to introduce Stine’s chilling works to movie audiences. Tim Burton was once linked with making a film based on one of Goose bumps series, and we have now learned that Romero once also tried to script the very first book published in the series, Welcome to the dead house, which, as you might expect, was all about zombies.
The script was discovered in the George Romero Archives by the Horror Studies branch of the University of Pittsburgh Library System, who then shared details about the project which surely would have delivered an incredible movie had it been developed further.
The team revealed, “The book Stine is set in a town called Dark Falls whose inhabitants are, secretly, undead. When the Benson family move in, young Josh and Amanda discover that one flashlight beam is enough to crumble the townspeople into dust. Each year, the city must feed on the blood of a new family to maintain their living dead existence.
“Romero keeps the base storyline and all the names of the main characters but hones the story in a revealing way. In Stine’s book, zombification comes, at the Return of the Living Dead, because of a mysterious gas that escapes from a local factory. Romero emphasizes the capitalist origins: the patriarch of the city, the wealthy Foster Devries, possessed the city in death. The state of living death experienced by the locals stemmed from a supernatural power that Devries has now shared with / imposed on the city. “
The explanation went on to describe how the house in the story is “living dead, for it is possessed by the spirit of Devries.” Devries / house feeds on its inhabitants, sucking their energy until they die, after which they are revived to join the rest of the city’s undead. “
More details on Romero’s script can be found on the University of Pittsburgh Library System’s Horror Studies website. The University of Pittsburgh acquired the George A Romero archival collection in 2019 and a team worked to preserve some of the lost masterpieces that may have come from the archives, after discovering objects like this. Goose bumps script and more as a discontinued adaptation of War of the Worlds, it just goes to prove that even the work of the best in the company does not always manage to be projected. We were first made aware of this story via Bloody Disgusting.
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