Well, Romero’s latest project, Dead Time Stories Vol. 1 has recently hit the VOD market, and it doesn’t exactly have me dying for Vol.2. For the most part, Romero has has left the direction up to Savini, et al, but his MO kind wafts from each vignette, and perhaps its just the segmented short films format that reminds me of Creepshow, however parallels to Romeros other fiction keep surfacing like old zombie hands.
The initial “Really?”-moment that has the piece off and running like a three legged horse is Romero establishing himself as the Crypt Keeper-esque narrator, which ends up turning out like someone’s pedophile Uncle Chester trying to act like a friendly harmless adult. While most fans that know Romero will realize that George is just being George and isn’t really trying to act it’s still too hokey to watch. The segments themselves have an interesting off-beat style, but most of the stories and characters are pretty forgettable. While I don’t think I’ll ever forget Steven King’s portrayal of the newly “fertile” hick named Jordy Verill, the cockroach plagued Entomophobic Upson Pratt, or Adrian Barbeau’s Shrewish “Billy” I couldn’t name a single character in any of the “Deadtime” stories I just watched yesterday.
With that said, the three segments do all have some redeeming quality. The opener is about a determined woman trying to discover the fate of her husband in a jungle with hostile natives, which has an interesting twist on the fate of the narrator, but is peppered with too much cartoonish gore. Its follow-up has the creepiest portrayal of a mermaid since Daryl Hanna got cosmetic surgery, however the tone is a little too reminiscent of Creepshow’s “Something to Tide You Over” vignette. Then again, how many ways can vengeance from the sea be pulled off? The final piece is a vampire tale directed by Savini that reminded me of Romero’s old vampire tale Martin, but maintained its own unique dark direction and utilized it setting, a turn of the century peasantry naivety, to execute its narrative seamlessly.
Perhaps I’m doing Deadtime Stories Volume 1 an injustice by comparing it to Creepshow, which paired King and Romero both in the prime of their careers, but on its own merit it does have seem to be missing something. Still, the tales are enjoyable for what they are if you’re in the mood for this format. Or if you need a good laugh a you can just watch the transition segments when Romero does his best work as the over the top narrator. Either way, it’s not a terrible watch. Let’s call it a B- and hope for Vol 2 to wow us.