John A. Russo (born February 2, 1939), sometimes credited as Jack Russo or John Russo, is an American screenwriter and film director most commonly associated with the 1968 horror classic film Night of the Living Dead, which he co-wrote with director George Romero. As a screenwriter, his credits include Night of the Living Dead, The Majorettes, Midnight, and Santa Claws. The latter two, he also directed. He has performed small roles as an actor, most notably the first ghoul who is stabbed in the head in Night of the Living Dead, as well as cameos in There's Always Vanilla and House of Frankenstein 1997. He was the Publisher and Managing Editor of the magazine Scream Queens Illustrated that featured popular stars of Horror films and other genres.
|Born||February 2, 1939|
|Alma mater||West Virginia University|
|Occupation||Screenwriter, film director, actor, novelist|
|Years active||1968 – Present|
Russo attended West Virginia University while his friend Rudy Ricci attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Ricci met George A. Romero at Carnegie Mellon and introduced Russo to Romero on Russo's Christmas vacation. After college, Russo was drafted into the army and served a two-year stint. Meanwhile, Romero with Russell Streiner formed The Latent Image to produce commercial films with the aim of eventually making a full-length feature film. When Russo got out of the army, he joined his friends in The Latent Image and soon plans were made for a feature film. Russo crafted a rough idea about a young man stumbling upon a host of ghouls feeding off human corpses. Romero loved the idea and a few days later he presented Russo with forty pages of a story based on the idea. The film ultimately became Night of the Living Dead which led to Romero's Dead series and the Living Dead series, with the latter based on a story by Russo.
Russo went on to author many novels and, like his friend Romero, began making films of his own. The Booby Hatch was a sex comedy released in 1976. Midnight was an adaptation of Russo's novel of the same name and released in 1982. His novel The Majorettes was adapted by Russo himself and directed by Bill Hinzman who played the Cemetery Zombie in Night of the Living Dead. Russo's next film was Heartstopper which featured "name" actors Michael J. Pollard and Moon Unit Zappa. Russo considers it his favorite of the films he has directed.
|1968||Night of the Living Dead||No||Yes||No||Co-written with George A. Romero|
|1971||There's Always Vanilla
aka The Affair
|1976||The Booby Hatch
aka Dirty Book Store and The Liberation of Cherry Janowski
aka Backwoods Massacre
|1985||The Return of the Living Dead||No||Story||No|
aka One by One
|1990||Night of the Living Dead||No||No||Yes|
aka Strange Turf (USA)
|1992||Scream Queens Swimsuit Sensations||Yes||No||No|
aka Midnight 2: Sex, Death and Videotape (USA: video title)
aka Dark Craving (USA: video title)
|1996||Scream Queens' Naked Christmas
aka 'Tis the Season
aka 'Tis the Season
|1999||Night of the Living Dead: 30th Anniversary Edition||Yes||Yes||Co-Executive||Director and writer for new scenes|
|2001||Children of the Living Dead||No||No||Executive|
|2016||My Uncle John Is a Zombie||Yes||Yes||No|
As an actorEdit
- My Uncle John is a Zombie (2016) .... Uncle John
- House of Frankenstein 1997 (1997) (miniseries) .... Honor Guard
- Santa Claws (1996) (as John Russo) .... Detective
- a.k.a. 'Tis the Season
- The Inheritor (1990) .... Unknown role
- The Majorettes (1986) (as John Russo) .... Dr. Gibson the Coroner
- a.k.a. One by One
- There's Always Vanilla (1971) (uncredited) .... Music producer
- a.k.a. The Affair
- Night of the Living Dead (1968) (uncredited) .... Washington military reporter/Ghoul in house
- More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead (2011)...Himself
- One for the Fire: The Legacy of Night of the Living Dead (2008)...Himself (also served as associate producer)
- UnConventional (2004) .... Himself
- The Dead Walk: Remaking a Classic (1999) (V) .... Himself
- Note: this is a "making-of" special featured on the DVD edition of the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead.
- A-Z of Horror (1997) (mini) TV Series .... Himself
- a.k.a. Clive Barker's A-Z of Horror (UK: complete title)
- Night of the Living Dead: 25th Anniversary Documentary (1993) (V) .... Himself
- Note: this is a 25th Anniversary special featured on a video release of the original Night of the Living Dead film.
- Horror F/X (1989) (V) .... Himself
- Note: Russo interviews frequent collaborator and fellow Pittsburgh horror movie maker, Tom Savini, in this low-budget shot-on-video documentary.
- Drive-In Madness! (1987) .... Himself
- a.k.a. Screen Scaries (USA: video title)
- Night of the Living Dead (1974) [Warner paperback Library] ISBN 0-446-76410-8
- Return of the Living Dead (1977) [Dale] ISBN 1-55197-508-4
- Majorettes (1979) [Pocket books] ISBN 0-671-82315-9
- Midnight (1980) [Pocket books] ISBN 0-67183-432-0
- Limb to Limb (1981) [Pocket Books] ISBN 0-671-41690-1
- Bloodsisters (1982) [Pocket Books] ISBN 0-671-41692-8
- Black Cat (1982) [Pocket Books] ISBN 0-671-41691-X
- The Awakening (1983) [Pocket Books] ISBN 0-671-45259-2
- Day Care (1985) [Pocket Books] ISBN 0-671-45261-4
- Return of the Living Dead (1985) -Novelization Version- [Arrow Books] ISBN 0-09-942610-2
- Inhuman  [Pocket Books] ISBN 0-671-45262-2
- Voodoo Dawn (1987) [Imagine]
- Living Things (1988) [Popular Library] ISBN 0-445-20666-7
- The Complete Night of the Living Dead Film Book (1989) [Random House]
- Making Movies (1989) [Dell] ISBN 0-440-50046-X
- Scare Tactics (1992) [Dell] ISBN 0-440-50355-8
- How to Make Your Own Feature Movie for $10,000 or Less (1995) [Zinn P.G.] ISBN 0-935016-10-4
- Hell's Creation (1995) (Ravenmor) ISBN 1-55197-060-0
- The Sanity Ward (1995) (Ravenmor) ISBN 1-55197-532-7
- Undead (2010) (Kensington) ISBN 0-75825-873-9 (Omnibus of Night of the Living Dead and Return of the Living Dead)
- The Big Book of Bizarro (2011) (Burning Bulb Publishing) ISBN 0-615-50203-2 (Contains the short story Channel 666)
- The Hungry Dead (2013) (Kensington) ISBN 0-75828-499-3 (Contains the novel Escape of the Living Dead and the 1980 novel Midnight)
- Dealey Plaza (2014) (Burning Bulb Publishing) ISBN 0-615-96708-6
- Epidemic of the Living Dead (2018) (Kensington) ISBN 978-1-4967-1666-8
- Spawn of the Living Dead (2019) (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform) ISBN 978-1-5142-7849-9
- J.C. Maçek III (June 15, 2012). "The Zombification Family Tree: Legacy of the Living Dead". PopMatters.
- Russo 1989, p. 3-4.
- Russo 1989, p. 4.
- Russo 1989, p. 5.
- Kane 2010, p. 21-22.
- Kane 2010, p. 147-150.
- Kane 2010, p. 146.
- Kane 2010, p. 159.
- Kane 2010, p. 172.
- Rowan, Terry. The Book of the Undead A Zombie Film Guide. Lulu.com. ISBN 978-1-312-43947-4.
- Search the inventory of Movie Emporium, Inc. Movie Emporium, Inc.
- "'Living Dead' co-writer talks about growing up in Clairton". old.post-gazette.com. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
- WWC XTRA: Picking the Brains of a “Living Dead” Legend with Avatar Press, August 13, 2007, Comic Book Resources
- Escape of the Living Dead – Avatar Press
- George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead – Avatar Press Archived September 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- Plague of the Living Dead – Avatar Press Archived September 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine