I love George A. Romero for what my Cinematical colleague Ryan Stewart does not -- the "symbolism bat," which allows Romero the freedom to use zombies to comment on whatever he wants. To me, that's a strength, not a weakness. Plus, Dawn of the Dead made me afraid of shopping malls, Day of the Dead made me claustrophobic and Land of the Dead made me wish I didn't work for a corporation.

His latest, George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead, debuted at Toronto and fairly well divided audiences. I've heard from supporters, detractors and those in the middle -- Scott Weinberg was on the positive side -- but I can't wait to see it for myself. And hey! Romero made it completely independently, so that's in his favor. Jason Morgan at AMC's Monsterfest blog points to Box Office Mojo, which lists a release date of February 15, 2008. (Our friends at Moviefone also have this release date.) However, neither The Weinstein Co. site nor the film's MySpace page confirm the date yet, so plan your life accordingly.

Another independent horror film just found its leading lady. Brittany Murphy has signed to star in the psychological horror flick 3:30 a.m., according to Variety. Murphy has dipped her feet into the horror pool in the past (The Prophecy II, Cherry Falls, arguably Don't Say a Word). Mick Davis wrote and will direct 3:30 a.m., which is "about a young woman who leaves Gotham after the death of her father to work in a country hotel." The film is said to explore "the connection between dreams and reality." Davis is credited as a co-writer of The Invisible, one of the worst-reviewed movies of the year, but also wrote the original Swedish version; he is currently filming Dylan, starring Kevin McKidd as the Welsh writer Dylan Thomas. 3:30 a.m. is scheduled to begin filming in January 2008.