Zombie movie director George A. Romero died today at the age of 77 after a brief battle with lung cancer. Most people know Romero for pioneering what has become the zombie movie genre with his “of the dead” films. Night of the Living Dead was his first film and today still holds up as one of the very best that the genre has to offer.
As a horror fan and specifically a zombie movie fan, this really got to me. I immediately thought about my childhood. I remember popping in the original Night of the Living Dead into the VCR and being amazed by how awesome the movie was. Some might say I was too young to be watching it, but I wasn’t too young to appreciate what I saw. From there I watched his other films like Day of the Dead and Dawn of the Dead which really shaped my love for horror.
Those first viewings didn’t tell me everything though. I grew up and looked back at those same movies and was able to see that Romero used the living dead as a vehicle for social commentary. Whether it was racism, consumerism, or taking jabs at the U.S military, Romero wasn’t afraid to share his opinions on topics that are still relevant today.
George A. Romero is a legend that impacted pop culture in a way many people can’t even comprehend. Without him, a lot of the movies, TV shows, books, and video games that have taken influence from his work wouldn’t exist.
I owe a great debt to Mr. Romero on a personal level. I’m not sure I would be the movie fan I am today without his work. It’s been a while since I’ve gone back and watched some of the “of the dead” films, but i’ll be sure to do that soon. I know the chances of this happening are pretty slim, but if anyone could come back from the dead, it’s you.