Zombie “Father” George Romero Is Dead
George Romero, father of the zombie movie, has died aged 77.
According to a statement released by his manager, the filmmaker passed away in his sleep following a battle with lung cancer. His wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter, Tina Romero, were by his side.
In 1968, Romero reinvented the zombie genre when he unleashed Night of the Living Dead, a black and white title, which went on to become a classic, involving a group of people trapped in a Pennsylvania farmhouse during a zombie outbreak.
Made for $114,000, the film grossed $30 million at the box office, and established ground rules for numerous future zombie pics. Once bitten by a zombie, a person, in turn, becomes a zombie, while the living dead can only be killed by a swift bullet to the head.
The movie is also a visual essay on ‘60s racism in America – post assassination of Martin Luther King – especially when Ben, the lead character played by African-American actor Duane Jones, is killed by a group of white men.
Following Night of the Living Dead, Romero helmed titles such as The Crazies, Season of the Witch and Martin – a vampire story.
Returning to the world of zombies, Romero, in 1979, unleashed Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead, which stalked into movie theatres back in 1985. More recently, he helmed Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead, released in 2005, 2008 and 2010 respectively.
When zombies weren’t overrunning society, Romero ventured into other areas of horror. In 1982, he helmed Creepshow – scripted by Stephen King – an anthology of five stories which successfully payed homage to the controversial horror comics, Tales from The Crypt and The Vault of Horror, published by EC Comics during the 1950s.
Romero returned to King’s world in 1993 when he helmed the big screen version of King’s novel, The Dark Half, starring Timothy Hutton and Amy Madigan.
“Sad to hear my favorite collaborator–and good old friend–George Romero has died,” King tweeted. “George, there will never be another like you.”
In a separate tweet, filmmaker Guillermo del Toro said:
“Romero has passed away. “Hard to find words right now. The loss is so enormous.”