Legend is used far too easily in the world these days, with people getting given the tag for seemingly doing nothing, but one man that the word could definitely apply to is the father of the zombie-flick, George A. Romero. Romero passed away over the weekend at the age of 77 and has left behind a true legacy.
For those of you that have read my site for a while, you’ll know that I am a big fan of zombie films. I’ve loved zombies ever since my brother bought me “Resident Evil” for the Playstation back in the mid nineties, and after that I engorged myself in the realm of zombie movies. The king of the genre was undoubtedly George A. Romero, director of the classic “of the Dead” franchise, as well as several other big names in the horror genre.
Romero was one of my favourite directors, hence why I am writing an article about his death when I haven’t really mentioned anyone else’s before. Being obsessed with zombie films during my teens, Romero was always the go-to director for this.
Whilst not the first man to bring zombie flicks to the screen, he is arguably the most famous director in the genre, especially given his social commentaries within his films, such as the class war in “Land of the Dead”. Romero’s films always had something to say, whilst delivering an entertaining and visually disgusting movie. The final fifteen or so minutes of the original “Day of the Dead” are visually unique and bloody disgusting, but it is gore with a purpose, something that some of the directors of today should aspire to achieve.
Romero inspired a generation of directors, and even now his old films are getting remade on a regular basis, with all of his original “of the Dead” films getting remakes (although the less said about the remake of “Day of the Dead” the better), as well as “The Crazies”, it shows that Hollywood still had a place for Romero, even if his most recent directorial attempt (the disappointing “Survival of the Dead”) went straight to DVD.
Without Romero there would probably be no “Resident Evil” franchise, no “Walking Dead” to speak of and post-apocalyptic films would have a distinctively less dangerous feel to them. Romero was a trend-setter and his influences are felt throughout Hollywood, even in non-zombie films.
There aren’t many people who are synonymous with a film genre and the first name you mention when you’re asked to think of a certain director within one, but Romero is one of them, and even though his direct involvement lessened throughout his final years, his legacy will live on for years to come with those that were inspired by him. It is such as a shame that he never got to direct the “Resident Evil” movie that went to Paul W.S. Anderson instead.
Science fiction had Roddenberry and Lucas, horror has Craven, comic book films have Burton, Lee and Nolan, LBGT films have Dolan and zombie flicks are most definitely owned by Romero.