RIP George Romero

RIP to the Zombie Godfather

By: Jenny Robinson

I write this with a heavy heart since I just found out that George A. Romero has passed away.
It is hard to be a fan of horror and not give a huge amount of tribute to Night of the Living Dead. The year it came out (1968), it shined against competitive films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Planet of the Apes and Rosemary’s Baby. Black and white film was not too old at that time, but the way the movie was captured set a creepy nostalgia to the chills you felt. And it was zombies. Romero will always be the Godfather of Zombie films.

I remember in college writing an entire report on Night of the Living Dead for my copyright class. Before Night of the Living Dead, the zombie stories always leaned towards the occult but Romero made normal people (no matter age, race, religion, etc) into flesh eating monsters. Romero’s slow, brain-eating zombies are what most relate to. Despite the movie making millions, Romero and co-writer John Russo made next to nothing due to a silly error. Night of the Living Dead was public domain.

This error helped influenced a new generation of horror writers, directors, and producers. Movies like Ken Wiederhorn’s Shock Waves (1977), John Carpenter’s “The Fog” (1980) and even Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead (1987) could be argued that they would not exist without Romero’s Dead series. Even newer movies like Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later (2002) or Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead (2004) can be lumped into the family tree of Romero zombies via his influence. Don’t argue with me on “Wait, Boyle’s zombies run, that isn’t Romero-esque” because I will school you on how that is very wrong! HA!

Just browsing his iMDB page is mind boggling. So many classics in what we see as horror. Whether it be producer, writer, director, etc he always had his hand on the pulse of the genre.
I have been so happy over the recent years of the remakes of some of his films, like the update on Dawn of the Dead or The Crazies. The stories are still so damn good. Classics from my childhood fill his page like Creepshow 2, Tales from the Darkside, and Monkey Shines.

And I just picked up my copy of Nights of the Living Dead - An Anthology edited by Jonathan Maberry and George A. Romero.

MAN! He seriously holds the crown of an icon. Thank you Romero for making movies and stories that scared the bejesus out of me on numerous occasions and influencing so many.

“When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth”