Eighteen yearsafter Day Of The Dead,George A Romero is preparing a fourth instalment in his legendary zombie seriesthat will be co-financed by US production company Atmosphere Entertainment andWild Bunch.

Land Of TheDead is due to startfilming this autumn and will be produced by Atmosphere chairman and chiefexecutive officer Mark Canton, president Bernie Goldmann and Peter Grunwald ofRomero Grunwald Productions.

Steve Barnett,Atmosphere's executive vice president, will serve as executive producer on theproject. A US distributor is expected to be announced shortly and Wild Bunchwill handle international sales.

Romero launchedhis zombie franchise in 1968 with Night Of The Living Dead, followed by Dawn Of The Dead in 1978 and Day Of The Dead in 1985.

In Land OfThe Dead, which waswritten and will be directed by Romero, human survivors occupy a walled citywhere the wealthy few inhabit a luxurious fortified skyscraper. Internalpolitics and marauding zombies provide the conflict.

"George Romerois the undisputed pre-eminent film-maker of the modern horror genre," Cantonand Goldmann said in a joint statement. "He is an icon.

"George's newfilm, Land Of The Dead,will be a contemporary and thrilling picture that will reinvent the franchisehe invented," they added.

"We're pleasedto be working with him on this exciting project, which we believe will bringhis Dead alive againand generate a whole new series of modern-day zombie films.

"This is alsothe first film that Atmosphere will be co-financing. We're delighted thatVincent Grimond and his Wild Bunch colleagues will be our financing partnersand will be distributing the film to the international marketplace."

"People ask mewhy I've waited so long to do another Dead film," Romero said. "I made one in the 60s, one in the 70s,one in the 80s. The only reason I missed the 90s is because I wanted to stayfaithful to the tradition, while coming up with something new. I wanted to kicksome ass. I hope I've done that now."

Romero isrepresented by David Gersh of The Gersh Agency and Wild Bunch is represented byRelativity Management's Ryan Kavanaugh.