*RIP George Romero*

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Not really an easy way to start this one, and I honestly never really write any kind of ‘In Memorium‘ posts….but this is for George FUCKING Romero.  So if anyone deserves a little of my horror sympathy and respect, it’s this man.

Anybody who knows me knows that I have pretty much been living and breathing horror since I was about 8-years-old.  But how did it start?  The simple, yet obvious, answer: George Romero.  I remember sitting in my Grandmother’s kitchen flipping through the channels (literally turning the dial, which is what you had to do back then) on her black and white TV.  And I stumbled upon an airing of Night Of The Living Dead.  I remember how much it stuck with me.  Not just the look of it, the characters, and the music – but the fact that zombies were mesmerizing.  Shortly after watching it, I also remember being back at my house and looking out my living room window constantly……looking for zombies.  I had nightmares.  A lot of nightmares.  But you know what?  I loved it.

When I was old enough, I was able to finally watch Dawn Of The Dead and Day Of The Dead.  Equally blown away as I was by it’s predecessor, George Romero was not only iconic for the introduction of ‘his’ zombies – but also for the social commentary strewn throughout his movies.  He took risks, and had his finger on the pulse of what was going on in the world around the time of all of his films.  These weren’t just zombie movies with guts and gore (although that was much appreciated) – they were zombie movies that were actually saying something.  Casting minorities into leading roles wasn’t necessarily the norm back then, especially in horror movies.  George paved the way, and even has had influence on films as recent as Jordan Peele’s 2017 hit Get Out.

We have lost a good one, people.  Not just a horror icon, but an icon in general.  Romero was set to produce an upcoming film titled Road Of The Dead, which at this point is probably the final project he was involved in.  The Walking Dead is a huge mainstream success – and if and when you watch it, think about the influence of George Romero. True fact:  George hated the ‘fast zombie’ craze.  So kudos to The Walking Dead for staying true to his original zombie traits (even though he had spoken out against the show).  Aside from Romero’s zombie films, he also directed the underrated vampire film Martin.  And don’t forget about Creepshow (an all-time fav), The Crazies, Monkey Shines, and The Dark Half.  He will always be remembered as ‘The Godfather Of Zombies’ though, so do yourself a favor and honor his memory by watching any or all of his films this week.  A true horror legend is gone, but never forgotten.

Whaaaat? George Romero Did A ‘Night Of The Living Steelers’ Mini-Doc For The NFL Network??

So, upon watching my usual Thursday Night Football game on the NFL Network last night I was a bit startled (in a good way) to see a promo for this:

Well, talk about an early Halloween treat!  It looks as though George Romero did a mini-documentary for The Timeline series on the NFL Network called ‘Night Of The Living Steelers’.  And it looks to show the connection and correlation between Night Of The Living Dead and the Pittsburgh Steelers around the time the film was made and released.  Just seeing Romero walk onto Heinz Field at a game in Pittsburgh from the trailer is enough to make me tune in.  ‘Night Of The Living Steelers’ will air on October 5th at 8PM EST on the NFL Network, so do yourself a favor along with me and check it out so you can see George waving that Terrible Towel!

Sunday Bloody Sunday: ‘Helen’s Death’ From ‘Night Of The Living Dead’ (1968)

There’s nothing more uncomfortable than walking in on your child eating her father’s arm.  Yeah, that’s pretty much as uncomfortable as it gets.  And unfortunately for Helen in George Romero’s undisputed classic zombie movie Night Of The Living Dead, that’s exactly what happened.

So, on this week’s Sunday Bloody Sunday I’m revisiting that classic cellar scene when Helen came face to face with her zombie daughter, Karen.  You see, Karen was quite under the weather because she had gotten bit by a zombie.  Which is kind of ironic, because when she became one of the walking dead herself, she got a little bitey as well.  Oh – and she also got a little stabby too as evident in the clip below when she decided to show off her gardening tool skills for her Mom.

Does Ben From ‘Night Of The Living Dead’ Deserve A Better Collector’s Figure?

Easily one of my favorite and most influential horror movies of all time is George Romero’s 1968 undisputed zombie classic, Night Of The Living Dead.  And one of the reasons why I love it so much is because of the character of Ben, played by the late Duane Jones.  He doesn’t take any shit.  He punches Mr. Cooper.  He slaps the shit out of Barbara.  And he can board up a house like nobody’s business.

Now, I love collecting horror figures.  So imagine my excitement when I read that there was not one, but two figures built around one of my favorite horror characters of all time!  Before I unveil what the figures look like, here’s a refresher pic of Ben from the original Night Of The Living Dead:

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Alright.  Now that you have that image fresh in your mind, let’s take a look at our first figure based around the character of Ben from Night Of The Living Dead:

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Funny….I didn’t know they had tanning beds back in the 60’s.  So, I guess I should be happy that they attempted to make this figure, but it probably would have been better if the figure was actually black.  Not to shock anybody or bring race into this, but Ben was black in the movie.  And this figure to me looks more like George Hamilton.  I’ve seen some great, accurate horror figures made over the years and unfortunately, this isn’t one of them.  But good news!  Because there’s one more from a different company that we can take a look at and see if they got it right:

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Slight improvement!  At least the skin tone is on the right track.  Not sure what’s going on with that collar though because it’s kind of out of control.  This version is based off of the old school Mego Corporation figures, which I can appreciate.  But it’s still lacking that the detail and ‘wow factor’ that other horror figures have given us.  So unfortunately, it’s back to the drawing board for the Ben figure from Night Of The Living Dead.  I have faith though.  And I guess these two previously released attempts are good news for fans of George Hamilton and crazy out of control shirt collars.

Hip Hip Horroray! The Demise Of Barbara In ‘Night Of The Living Dead’ (1968)

They’re coming to get you, Barbara!”  If only they had come to get her ass sooner.  Quick fun fact:  Her name was misspelled as ‘Barbra’ in the closing credits .  But anyway, yes – I’m talking about none other than the character of Barbara from 1968’s, Night Of The Living Dead.  And when she was taken away from us towards the end of the movie, I think a few of you rejoiced with me and gave a high five or two.

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To be fair, and before I start bashing her character in the movie, I need to let it be known that this is not a slam against actress Judith O’Dea.  She worked with what she was given.  And I also need to let it be known that I hold Night Of The Living Dead very high up on the pedestal of zombie movies and horror movies in general.  Ok, now that all of that’s out of the way, let’s start the character bashing.

I was fine with how Barbara escaped our lanky zombie friend in the cemetery after her brother Johnny got his head smashed in.  And I was even fine with how she went into shutdown mode at the farmhouse soon after our hero Ben arrived.  But my God!  The moping just went on and on and Barbara was pretty much useless for most of the black-and-white screen time.  Her face however, was not useless to Ben’s hand:

(uncomfortable silence)

So anyway – that happened.  And unfortunately, it barely snapped Barbara out of her funk.  Sure she helped board up some doors and windows, but that was far and between from her yelling about her brother Johnny and how she wanted to go outside and find him.  Give it up lady, he’s a walking corpse. Deal with it.  We all have, so why can’t you?  In the end, irony sets in and it’s indeed walking corpse Johnny that drags Barbara’s annoying ass away as Ben hightails it to the basement.  I felt a bit unfulfilled though because after Ben is dead and the credits roll, I wondered if Barbara would be an annoying zombie too?  Just one of many unanswered stupid questions that I’ll have to learn to live with.

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