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.