The Austin Chronicle

Kickstart Your Weekend: Get Stephen Romano Back on His Feet

By Richard Whittaker, May 9, 2014, 10:00am, Picture in Picture

It just seems like it's one crash after another on Austin's roads, but the latest victim is a name familiar to many in the local film community. Author, scriptwriter, illustrator and film historian Stephen Romano is currently recovering after being run over in a shocking accident.

For many people, the news broke in a shocking way when Romano Tweeted on Monday, "For anybody wondering where I've been the last two weeks … well, I got hit by a truck and was almost killed. Life is weird."

On April 18, Romano was walking along the sidewalk on North Lamar when a lorry jumped the curb and smashed straight into him. He was immediately transported to UMC Brackenridge, where his leg from femur to ankle was pinned back together, and surgeons closed a "golf ball-sized hole" in his bladder. He spent 10 days in hospital before being sent home, but he's a long, long way from being well. He faces a long and expensive path to recovery and, like so many independent artists, he doesn't have the insurance or financial resources to help him through.

Romano is a mainstay of Austin's horror movie scene. A former Chronicle cover star, his masterwork may be 2008's Shock Festival, the mindbending cinematic history of a 1970s that never quite existed. In 2010, he followed that up with a three disc collection of (mostly) fake trailers for those fake films. He's also been part of the real deal: In 2005, Romano brought together two of his favorite fearmongers, Phantasm creator Don Coscarelli and the king of Texas Gothic Joe Lansdale for Showtime's adaptation of Lansdale's Incident On And Off a Country Road.

He's also a published novelist, cowriting Black Light with The Collection creators Patrick Melton and Marcus Dunstan before solo penning last year's technothriller Resurrection Express.

Romano's friends (and there are a lot of them) have all gathered together to launch a GiveForward online fundraiser to help cover food, bills, rent and medical expenses as he recovers. There will also be a benefit screening on Wednesday, June 25 at the Alamo Village, and we'll share the details as soon as they're all confirmed.

The GiveForward campaign has already raised $3,900 of the $4,000 target, but as anyone who has faced a major accident like this can tell you, that $4,000 won't go a long way. You can help Romano get back on his feet (literally) and working again by donating via the campaign page.

Kickstart Your Weekend is a series intended to showcase Texas film and tech projects that are crowdfunding their way to a goal, be it distribution, a prototype, or production costs. If you have a project that we should know about, email us at

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