'Living Dead' co-creator to speak March 9

A “living legend” of the Living Dead legacy will discuss his filmmaking career March 9 at Henderson State University.

John Russo, who co-authored the screenplay for Night of the Living Dead and continues to write and direct horror movies, will speak at 7 p.m. in Reynolds Science Center Room 127 with a reception both before and after his presentation.

Russo will also participate in a showing of Night of the Living Dead at 3:15 p.m. in the Garrison Center Lecture Hall. Both events, which are made possible by the Ellis College Margin of Excellence, are free and open to the public.

“John Russo invented the Living Dead, the kind of undead ghouls that first appeared in Night of the Living Dead and now appear in many movies and shows, most notably The Walking Dead,” said Dr. Travis Langley, professor of psychology at Henderson.

Langley has written a series of books, most notably Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Night, and recently completed The Walking Dead Psychology: Psych of the Living Dead. Russo wrote the foreword for the book.

Langley and Russo appeared together last year at the Chicago Comic Con where they gave presentations on the popularity of zombies and the psychology of apocalyptic fiction.

Russo’s three books on the art and craft of movie making have become “bibles” of independent film production. Scare Tactics won a national award for superior nonfiction. Quentin Tarantino and many noted filmmakers have said Russo’s books helped them launch their careers.

According to his website, thejohnrusso.com, Russo is “just a nice guy who likes to scare people.” And he has done it with novels and films such as Return of the Living Dead, Midnight, The Majorettes, The Awakening, and Heartstopper.

He has had a long and rewarding career and shows no signs of slowing down. Russo’s screenplay for Escape of the Living Dead was made into a five-part comic book released by Avatar to great acclaim, including being named one of the Top Ten Horror Comics nationally.

Russo’s recent novel, The Hungry Dead, was published by Kensington Books. He is also slated to direct two movies, including a remake of his cult hit Midnight, and a new take on the zombie phenomenon entitled Spawn of the Dead.

Russo appears at many movie conventions each year as a featured guest, and he considers his appearance at the Orion Festival, hosted by Kirk Hammett and Metallica, one of the highlights of his career.

For more information about Russo’s appearance at Henderson, contact Langley at langlet@hsu.edu.