FANGORIA has learned that Tobe Hooper is in talks to direct two back-to-back RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD sequels for the film series’ producer, Tom Fox. Ironically, Hooper had once been attached to helm the original ROTLD in 1985, before screenwriter Dan O’Bannon stepped in.

ROTLD 4 & 5 are expected to shoot this summer, with both sequels featuring scripts by the writing team of William Butler and Aaron Strongoni. "The first one, subtitled RAVE FROM THE GRAVE, is a lot like the original, with the comedy," Butler tells Fango. "It’s a collegiate setting, like ANIMAL HOUSE but with horror. The story of part four will go right into part five, but the sequels will also be standalones. Part five is being called BATTALION, and it’s our BAND OF BROTHERS with zombies.

"We’re writing these films as fans," Butler adds. "I’m having so much fun! They are the zombie movies that I grew up with. We really pay homage to the first [RETURN] film, and we want to get many of the original cast back for cameos, especially Thom Mathews and James Karen." Optic Nerve’s John Vulich, who handled the walking stiffs on the NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD remake (in which Butler co-starred), will tackle FX chores on both ROTLD follow-ups.

Butler, whose early-’90s horror acting credits also include LEATHERFACE and GHOULIES II, has been developing ROTLD sequels with Fox for the last few years. One rejected screenplay has even been spun off into a separate zombie project called NECROPOLIS. In addition, Butler is co-writing and will direct an indie horror flick called MADHOUSE in Romania this spring. "It’s a ghost story, kind of like SILENCE OF THE LAMBS meets THE OTHERS," says Butler, who has directed commercials and episodic kids’ TV. "It has that slasher element to it. A young man takes a college internship at an asylum, and finds out that it’s either haunted, stalked by a serial killer who’s also a patient or the headmaster may be responsible for the murders, as he has an interest in the occult.

"The ghosts are really cool," Butler continues. "I want to pay homage to the creepy people from THE SENTINEL. Johnny Vulich will be doing the effects on MADHOUSE too."