In advance of its Special Edition DVD bow on July 27th, the groundbreaking Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated will first be “released” in a no-frills, not-so-special bootleg edition in May.
Described as “remix culture meets classic horror,” NOTLD:R is a curated art show of animated and comic-book style images that “hangs” on the backbone of the 1968 film by George A. Romero. Featuring the work of nearly 150 international artists in staggeringly different styles that range from CGI to sock puppets, NOTLD:R pays tribute to a pop culture landmark in wildly inventive and unpredictable ways. Since its warm reception on the festival circuit in late 2009, it has become a favorite of online horror hosts and legions of zombie fanatics the world over.
“Not everyone who wants to see the latest films can afford to, especially these days,” explains Wild Eye Releasing founder and principal, Rob Hauschild. “So we’re doing our part to ease the cost of entertainment for the average moviegoer.”
In an unprecedented move, Wild Eye will be distributing low-end, cheaply packaged versions of Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated to–well, to anyone who wants one. Due to the unpredictable nature of bootlegging, it’s difficult to say with precision where this DVD will surface, but checking sidewalk blankets in big cities and overloaded freebie tables at genre conventions is probably a good place to start. Once fans have their own copy, Wild Eye is encouraging them to upload it to their favorite file-sharing and Torrent sites. And this give-the-people-free-content approach is in perfect keeping with the not-for-profit Creative Commons ethos that launched the NOTLD:R project in the first place.
“Bootlegs more realistically reflect how fans are watching their favorite movies these days,” argues Hauschild. “We’re just beating the bootlegger to the punch and controlling our content.”
Although the calculated–and publicized–distribution of a bootleg might seem like a commercial oxymoron, in this case it is being pursued with the highest standards of professional craftsmanship. For example, maintaining authenticity in terms of the bootleg tradition is a key part of the project. Not surprisingly, it will boast ramshackle production values, and, having been a shot on a consumer-grade camcorder at a recent screening, will feature crowd laughter that annoyingly overlaps with the soundtrack and, of course, audience members blocking the screen as they rise to take bathroom breaks.
“Prepare for the worst,” warns Hauschild. “Astute bootleg consumers will appreciate the uneven, hastily prepared cover graphics and the grammatically incorrect marketing copy. We also made sure to use top-grade DVD-R’s to burn these copies of the film. It’s important that people view this as not just another bootleg, but the bootleg of the year.”
The film will be available this summer both online from Neoflux Productions and on a proper DVD, top-heavy with special features, from Wild Eye Releasing.