The world of fandom is a curious thing, as we know - and with technological boons such as affordable, reasonable quality cameras, it is markedly easier for fans to share our passions with others. This is at the crux of Fan of the Dead, a video diary of one man's tribute to his Romero fandom as he makes a pilgrimage to all the relevant filming locations of the first three 'Dead' films, oh, and the remake of Night of the Living Dead, and Creepshow too! Nicolas Garreau, pilgrim, narrator and cameraman, certainly enjoys an exhaustive trek around Pittsburgh, visiting not only the more-obvious locales such the Monroeville Mall but Romero's studio, the Pittsburgh Comic Convention, parts of the University used in Creepshow, and he even tracks down the right spots in the different cemeteries used during Romero's heyday.

It hardly needs saying, but Garreau is obviously a massive, massive Romero fan. At the comic con he talks to everyone he can find relating to the films - for instance, spending time interviewing the 'helicopter zombie' from Dawn (whose scene never made the original Euro cut) and he even tracks down the 'nurse zombie' from the same film. He's obviously done a great deal of research for the trip- three months' worth of planning, he says - and has planned his itinerary very carefully. Whether this translates into an interesting piece of film hinges, I think, upon your own level of devotion to the films.

That said, Garreau's evident enthusiasm for planning does not really come across in his manner during the film. He's certainly in earnest, but also a quietly-spoken, calm individual and this impression gets reinforced by the frankly much more enthused voiceover (the film is dubbed into English from its original French), leading to some unintentionally-humorous moments. This language barrier also has the effect of rendering some of the interviews a little aimless; both because Garreau is probably slightly limited in what he can ask in English, and his interviewees struggle a little, or at least are more hesitant in giving their responses, as well as because some of the people he speaks to had quite minor involvement with the films.

In any amateur documentary film, there are likely to be issues with editing - especially where a devoted genre fan is unwilling to part with any material whatsoever - and then there are some issues with sound here too. There are lots of repetitions along the lines of, 'We were very surprised by the film's success', which could have been snipped, and during the (otherwise fun) Monroeville Mall tour with members of the cast it was very difficult to pick out what Foree et al were saying. One thing that I would have liked was if Garreau had been able to overlay some scenes from the films with the footage he shot - I understand why he may not have been able to, but it would have hooked the documentary back nicely to the inspiration for the trip in the first place.

So, Fan of the Dead is a testament to the dedication of a fan, and similarly minded fans might like to add this to their collection simply as a nice way to bookend their favourite Romero films, regardless of Fan of the Dead's problems. For those of us who are big fans but not-that-big-fans, the film does feel a little like sitting through someone's holiday slides, especially after 50 minutes in its entirety, and would have benefited by some tidying-up. Still, Garreau's level of commitment is no bad thing to see.

This release contains a photo gallery from the trip, as well as some random, but quite entertaining extras; some old cinema adverts, including Julie Andrews promoting the Motion Picture Association of America, and trailers for Horrors of the Black Museum, I Drink Your Blood, G-Men vs. The Black Dragon, and Day of the Triffids.

As stated above, the film suffers from some issues with clarity of sound. The picture quality is actually reasonably good, clear and with well-balanced colours. (The trailers and adverts are rather more unreconstructed but none the worse for it in terms of entertainment value!)

Review by Keri O'Shea

Released by Cheezy Flicks Ent
Region 1 - NTSC
Not Rated
Extras :
see main review