Well before his death on Sunday at the age of 77, Romero, a consummate independent filmmaker and natural-born Hollywood skeptic, was not exactly timid in expressing his disapproval of the zombie renaissance his work had inspired.
He lamented the “Hollywood-ized” feel of “World War Z” and dismissed “The Walking Dead” as “a soap opera with a zombie occasionally,” noting that both works had made it nearly impossible to get an edgier, lower-budget zombie movie financed.
“Night of the Living Dead,” which Romero directed, co-wrote, shot and edited when he was only 28, was hardly the first zombie movie; that precedent is generally credited to the 1932 picture “White Zombie,” starring Béla Lugosi.
The movie’s parting shot – in which its protagonist, a black man named Ben, is mistaken for a zombie and gunned down by vigilantes – remains one of the most racially and politically charged moments in horror cinema, and one that has only gained resonance.
“Day of the Dead”, a grim, claustrophobic portrait of scientists and soldiers under zombie siege, was wanly received on its initial release, but its unsparing nihilism and ferociously eruptive splatter feel all the more forceful and uncompromising today.
The best of the post-“Dawn” movies is “Land of the Dead,” an exuberant late-career triumph that I lined up, alongside several Romero die-hards caked with fake blood and gray zombie face paint, to see at its world premiere at the 2005 CineVegas film festival.
” Whatever the fate of that in-the-works project, and the surely innumerable zombie movies and entertainments still to come, t is something pleasing about the idea that we still haven’t seen the last of George Romero.
George Romero, knight of the living dead, is a zombie specialist.
George Romero found comfort in zombies, despite reluctance to return to the genre.