“Get off my lawn you damn kids!” Those are the words of a typical cranky old man. “The Walking Dead is just a soap opera with a zombie occasionally!” And those are the words of a cranky George Romero, who recently came out to British magazine, The Big Issue, and pretty much slammed The Walking Dead television show. Matter of fact, he has a problem with the whole concept and theme in general, so he’s pretty much slamming the source material comic books as well.
His main beef it seems, is what he feels is a “soap opera” feel to the show. Apparently, producers of The Walking Dead approached Romero and asked if he wanted to direct a couple of episodes. Well, nothing doing! He pretty much told them to fuck off because he’s sitting on top of his undead high horse where he feels that the zombies in The Walking Dead aren’t being used for satire or political criticism. Right. Because movies like Diary Of The Dead and Survival Of The Dead (two of Romero’s latest) are just so full of deep agendas against the system.
I do watch The Walking Dead, but have not read the comics. As a show, it definitely has it’s missteps, but take a look from a horror standpoint what you’re seeing on TV for a minute. Did you ever think that you would be watching zombies that could have easily been in Romero’s earlier and better efforts, munching on guts in glorious HD on regular cable TV? The make-up FX alone are worth tuning in, and the overall product is far more satisfying than anything Romero has done in the last 10 years. It’s actually a shame he’s not on board with this, because I would have loved for him to be a part of it. I know that he hates the whole ‘fast moving zombie’ phenomena, so the fact that The Walking Dead keeps it old school in that realm would make me think that he would have more interest in it.
But alas, George Romero is in full on cranky old man mode. I still love the guy, love his early work, and there’s no debate about his influence not just in the zombie genre, but the horror genre as a whole. He’s a legend and a revolutionary one at that. But you need to pick your battles George. The Walking Dead is in it’s own way, honoring your work. Respect and realize that, and maybe you can learn a thing or two for your next inevitable zombie project.