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Filmmaker Roy Frumkes, who told us about his in-the-works remake of FIEND WITHOUT A FACE here, also shared the latest news on a couple of reduxes of his own movies. He premiered “The Definitive DOCUMENT OF THE DEAD” at this past weekend’s Saturday Nightmares event in New Jersey, and is continuing to develop a sequel to his cult-fave gross-out epic STREET TRASH.
DOCUMENT began as an in-depth, behind-the-scenes study of the making of George A. Romero’s classic DAWN OF THE DEAD, first screened in 1985. It has since gone through a couple of updated permutations, and Frumkes (pictured above as a DAWN zombie and below in his TRASH cameo) recently completed his final take on the project, incorporating on-set footage from Romero’s more recent zombie epics (including this year’s SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD) and other fresh material. “I had my first public showing at Saturday Nightmares,” he tells Fango, “but it was more a test screening for me. I saw where it got the biggest laughs and where the audience’s energy dropped, and I’m going to do a little more trimming. I would say that in another month and a half it’ll be ready, and then Synapse Films, which has released four of my movies, will put it out on disc.
“They were nice enough to do a hi-def transfer of the original 16mm negative from the first chapter, the part I shot on the set of DAWN OF THE DEAD,” he continues. “All of the VHS editions and DVDs that have come out before now have been very bland and washed-out, but now with this hi-def version, that footage looks very colorful, like it did when it was originally filmed. I also took some material out and added 38 minutes of footage, and there are a lot of surprises—kind of by necessity. To give you an example, when I was on the set of DAWN, I was the only one there, and if I had stayed for all three months I still would’ve been the only one. On DIARY OF THE DEAD, I was there one day and three other documentary crews were around as well, and when I’d shoot and move on, I’d look back and see another team moving in where I was. So I thought, ‘I’ve got to find stuff that no one else has,’ and got some really unique moments.
“I think everyone will be happy with it,” he adds, noting that once this version of DOCUMENT gets out there, “I’m done. Three chapters and I’m out. When I got together with George to do our walk-and-talk in Toronto, I said, ‘I don’t know, you’re going to keep on making these, but I’m retiring after this, why don’t we do the final walk-and-talk on gurneys?’ and he said, ‘No, no, I really am going to make more movies, I’m not stopping.’ ”
Frumkes also hopes to get shooting soon on the follow-up to STREET TRASH, the 1987 saga of assorted New York City lowlifes and deviants and the Viper wine that makes them melt, which he wrote and produced. “The script is written; it’s called STREET TRASH 3, because so many years have passed, we’re too late for 2!” Frumkes laughs. “Everybody who’s still alive has signed back on: Nicole Potter, Bill Chepil, James Lorinz and [director] Jim Muro as well. But here’s the problem: He’s one of the most in-demand cinematographers in LA. He’s the world’s foremost Steadicam operator, but several years ago he started DP-ing with OPEN RANGE; then he shot CRASH, and now it’s very busy for him. He’ll call me and say, ‘Are we ready? Can we get this rolling?’ and then suddenly he’ll get some gig that he can’t turn it down. I don’t know when the sequel’s going to roll. Fortunately, I’m a low-key guy, I’m occupying myself with other stuff, but it is there—and it’s neither a sequel nor a remake. It’s a reimagining of STREET TRASH—very unusual.”
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