In the wake of losing someone you respect, it’s hard to pay tribute without making it about you. What they meant to you, how they changed you, what you owe them, how sad you are. The key subject in all those sentiments is never the lost, it is always the loser. So instead of any personal reminiscence or reaction to the death of George Romero, I offer my love and sympathy to George’s wife, Suzanne and his family. To everyone else, a simple reminder. George A. Romero invented the modern zombie. Not the comedy variants that moan for, “Braaaains” or the squealing raptor like super zombies of later years, both of which are descendants of George’s original dead baby. George gave us patient zero. Before Night of the Living Dead (1968), zombies were specifically tied to Haitian voodoo mythology and generally used as metaphors for slavery and subjugation. It was George’s idea to combine elements of voodoo legend with a voguish fascination for cannibalism and the mythic communicability of lycanthropy and vampirism. It is from George’s epoch defining mash up, that everything else derives. Whether fast or slow, brain preferring of whole body inclined, ruining Shaun’s day or seven years of Rick Grimes’ life, everything that came after Night of the Living Dead owes a debt of gratitude to George. I don’t think it is said enough or acknowledged by those who have adopted his ideas. The remakes, the rip offs, the pastiches and the tributes all stand on the shoulders of this giant. Remember that, remember George A. Romero.
Simon Pegg 2017