Indie horror filmmakers Jennifer and Sylvia Soska, best known for American Mary and Rabid, are set to take on Festival of the Living Dead, a new zombie movie inspired by George Romero’s 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead. Festival of the Living Dead is set to debut this fall on Tubi, and will star Gotham‘s Camren Bicondova and I Know What You Did Last Summer‘s Ashley Moore. The Soska sisters will debut Festival of the Living Dead from a screenplay by Helen Marsh and Miriam Lyapin. It’s part of a particularly busy period for the Soskas, which includes their upcoming movie On the Edge and a planned TV series set in the world of American Mary.
Per a report at Deadline, who first broke the casting news, “Moore’s character Ash has been accepted to college and is getting ready to reluctantly leave her old life behind as she is torn between her boyfriend and his friends, and her old friends. When her boyfriend gets her tickets to the Festival, she jumps at the opportunity to see her favorite band.” Meanwhile, Bicondova’s Iris “has been Ash’s closest friend for years, though they are starting to drift apart – especially because Iris knows Ash is leaving to go to college. She agrees to watch Ash’s brother, Luke, so Ash can go to the festival.”
The “radioactive space dust” element likely feels familiar to fans of Return of the Living Dead, which took the Living Dead branding and applied plenty of sci-fi goodness to it. The “Living Dead” naming convention, along with plenty of other tropes familiar to zombie fans, originated with the Romero movie, but entered the public domain instantly upon the film’s release due to an incorrectly posted copyright notice in the film’s credits. Some film scholars have argued that it’s hard to know whether the movie would have been nearly as influential in the decades since its release if not for this error, which allowed Romero’s version of zombie lore to be iterated on infinitely, not unlike Sherlock Holmes or the Universal monsters.
According to the synopsis for Festival of the Living Dead, “It has been over 50 years since Night of the Living Dead‘s original zombie attack and the horrific event has become the subject of morbid nostalgia. Looking for fun, Ash (Moore) and her friends attend the Festival of the Living Dead. But the festival is disrupted when a blast of radioactive space dust hits the festival and they must defend themselves or be devoured by the living dead.”
Andre Anthony (The Night Agent), Christian Rose, Shiloh O’Reilly, Gage Marsh (You Me Her), Keana Lyn Bastidas (The Hardy Boys) and Maia Jae Bastidas (Rabbit Hole) also star in Festival of the Living Dead. There is no specific release date yet, but the movie is expected in the fall.