An unauthorized photo of Ron Rotondo is featured in the latest issue of Late Afternoon of the Living Dead Magazine. There’s also an earth-shattering article written by Bichard Rachman that LAOTLD fans won’t want to miss. Here is the story in its entirety.
What Shook The Bush?
Why LAOTLD is NOT a rebootquel of AOTLD, but a true sequel.
By Bichard Rachman
Afternoon of the Living Dead and Late Afternoon of the Living Dead are two timeless classics that offer as much enjoyment in replay as they do in the original viewing. I have dedicated a litany of posts on my blog (Life’s a Bichard) to exploring the minutia of both films. It was 2:30 a.m. last Tuesday in my hometown of Danvers, IL. I was having an –OTLD marathon when a lightning bolt struck. It is my theory that both films are more related than we could have possibly imagined. Late Afternoon of the Living Dead is not a rebootquel as we were led to believe, but a true sequel!
Think back to the climax in the park in AOTLD. There is the famous shot of Caine (later to be called “Chris” in LAOTLD) noticing the moving branches on a distant bush in the park. The question of what shook the bush has never been answered. Never even been hinted at in any of the interviews or press conferences. It is your author’s humble opinion that…get ready for it…
Shelton shook the bush!
The implications of that statement are mind-boggling, I know. Here’s how it plays out. Shelton, a freshly-spawned ghost, reveals in LAOTLD that he isn’t good at manifesting and affecting the physical world yet. Moving a branch is about all he could hope to do. But then the question becomes WHY? Why move the branches to draw Caine/Chris over? To warn him. Warn him of what? Warn him of WHY Steph was the only survivor of her group. When you think about it, the truth becomes clear. She had them MURDERED BY ZOMBIES! She wasn’t anticipating running into Caine/Chris after she had her friends murdered. She was only staying with Caine/Chris until she could figure out how to kill him and get away.
Here’s where things get even more odd. I hope you’re sitting down. It is my theory that Caine/Chris was never killed by Steph! The entire ending of AOTLD was a dream and I have proof! Look at the shot composition and camera movement. Right after Chris sees the shaking bush and he goes to investigate, the camera movement becomes much more sweeping and dramatic. There are no other shots like this anywhere in the movie. I think it was a subtle technique by the director, Chris Hutson, to cue the audience in that we are now in an alternate reality of some kind. It is MY theory that Shelton actually hit Chris on the head, knocking him unconscious. He did this because he was trying to protect Chris from Steph’s cruel schemes. Very consistent with his character. Caine/Chris then had a dream of being killed by Steph, which plays to the concept that he is a minor psychic, an idea that is flirted with more than once in LAOTLD.
I believe Caine/Chris woke up alone in the park. When Chris never came back from the bush, Steph saw her chance to take off. When Steph seized the opportunity to run, Shelton made the hard choice to leave Caine/Chris laying under the bush and follow the villainous Steph. Time passes. Due to head trauma from the blow in the bush, Caine now believes his name is Chris. He has more adventures and is eventually attacked again. This is where we pick up with LAOTLD. When Shelton later meets him again and Caine introduces himself as Chris, the ghost sees Caine is suffering from some minor mental affliction and decides to keep the details of his adventures with Steph a secret. He quietly reintroduces himself and continues protecting Chris.
The two movies are connected. Chris’s real name is Caine. Shelton was tracking Steph’s group first, looking for a way to thwart her. Caine never died in AOTLD. This theory also answers who the other group of survivors is that Caine was helping when he talks to Jenna in LAOTLD. And finally…. yes, STEPH IS STILL OUT THERE. And you thought Ron was bad.
Wow. I feel like I just discovered a new planet in our own solar system. I think this was director Chris Hutson’s plan all along. Next week I will describe why I feel Chris Hutson is the greatest artist of our time and how, through subtle and long reaching direction on Afternoon of the Living Dead, it was actually he, NOT Jason Huls, that directed Late Afternoon of the Living Dead!
Chris Hutson was available for comment but no one called.
Bichard Rachman is a frequent contributor to Late Afternoon of the Living Dead Magazine and the self-professed “Author of Darkness”. He has written over a dozen horror novels, including A Dance with Blood, The She-Devil of Danvers and TerrorBike. He also works the day shift at the Carls Jr. in Danvers, Illinois.