Here's How To Watch Jacaranda Joe, A Long-Lost Short From The Late George A. Romero

We can all recognize the many ways in which technology is both a blessing and a curse, and while anything you've ever seen (or done) on Twitter has absolutely been a curse, the University of Pittsburgh Library is doing the good horror lord's work by dropping a blessing right in your lap. Their horror studies department has been busy preserving George Romero's films ever since they acquired the late "Night of the Living Dead" director's archival collection back in 2019, and it's about to pay off in a big way for Romero super fans and casual viewers alike.

On April 12, 2022, the University of Pittsburgh Library will host a screening of Romero's never before seen short film "Jacaranda Joe." And in the true pure library spirit, the screening will be virtual and entirely free. That's right, you don't have to fight for a ticket or weasel your way into a press pass or live in a specific city. You can live your rare found footage dreams from the comfort of your couch, surrounded by all of your favorite snacks and people (or maybe no people if that's more to your liking).

On top of that, after the screening there will be a free Q&A with Romero's "Jacaranda Joe" crew members Michael Sellers, George Rizkallah, and Elizabeth Tobin Kurtz, so if you have burning questions, want to hear some fun tidbits, or you're into the low key uncomfortable environment that hovers over every Q&A, you're in luck! To soak up all this horror movie goodness, all you have to do is register.

Proto-found footage at its finest

Romero shot "Jacaranda Joe" at Valencia College in Florida during the summer of 1994 over 10 days. The short film, which was a reworking of a movie Romero attempted to get off the ground in the '70s called "The Footage," is formatted like a sleazy talk show you'd find on daytime TV and features a host reviewing what might be real footage of a Bigfoot-esque monster haunting the woods of Jacaranda, Florida. The host debates the authenticity of the footage and discusses the possibility of Bigfoot existing at all with a panel.

The horror studies department describes it as "very much a proto-found footage movie, about which Romero told a local paper that he 'wants to know if audiences can be scared by a documentary format.' But it was also pre-'Blair Witch Project,' and so that footage makes up only a few seconds of the running time."

Even if you'd never heard of it — and most people haven't — "Jacaranda Joe" is a slice of horror history that's being served up in an incredibly free and accessible way. I can't wait to see what other delights the horror studies department at the University of Pittsburgh Library might uncover, and if you're reading this, I'm sure you can't either.