Night of the Living Dead with Al Matrone

First published Feb. 16, 2006, at GJSentinel.com.

Back in my grade-school days, I’d sneak out after bedtime Friday nights to catch “Shock Theater” on late-night TV. I saw some wonderful horror movies, including a lot of the Hammer Studios stuff and some classics from the ’30s and ’40s, but it wasn’t until I viewed George A. Romero’s cheesy “Night of the Living Dead” that I knew just how much a movie could scare me. The first time I tried, I couldn’t sit through more than four scenes of that 1968 movie about cannibalistic zombies at a stretch. I’d turn off the TV, hide under my covers a few minutes…and then sneak back out for more.

The thrills started with the guy in the picture below, played by Bill Heinzman, who showed up early on while a timid woman’s irritating brother taunted, “They’re coming to get you, Barbra.”

Night of the Living Dead by GEOmetric Design

“Night of the Living Dead” is an upcoming offering by GEOmetric Design, a long-standing garage-kit company founded by George Stephenson (last I heard, he was serving as a trial judge in Minnesota, appointed by former Gov. Jesse Ventura) and now run by Al Matrone.

The zombie is a 1/8 scale resin kit sculpted by Joe Simon, should be ready around April and the price will probably be in the $100 neighborhood. Al was unable to give an exact figure because, he wrote in an e-mail, he was “thinking of adding another piece to the kit, like a piece of an eaten body part.”

Watch for information about the kit at the GEOmetric Web site, then order it from Al’sPhoenix Comics if you’re interested. He also welcomes people to give him a call at (570) 457-2691.

Here’s a little bit about what Al had to say in an e-mail exchange:

Me: What got you interested in producing garage kits?

Al: I was selling them as a product line. And I always liked models when I was a kid. I always liked the superheroes or science fiction line the best. So George was closing the company down and I had nothing to lose, so I asked him what he wanted for it. Then one thing led to another. At times I still find it hard to believe that I own it.

Me: Is producing garage-kits a money-making proposition, or a money-losing one?

Al: I make money, but I won’t give up my day job. I am making enough to keep doing more kits. If you want to become rich and famous then this is not the business, but it is a lot of fun.

Me: Have you met any interesting people as a result of producing garage kits? If so, who?

Al: You meet a lot of great people. The hobby is fun. I like making the kits. By summer, I will come out with a kit of my own design.

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