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
And it’s certainly not as direct of a through-line, but Romero had an outsize impact in the use of gore VFX in so many films of note. His longtime collaboration with Tom Savini and his inspiration and eventual collaboration with Greg Nicotero & Howard Berger ripples through so much of our collective pop culture past 1980. You can trace Romero to Mark Whalberg’s fake member in Boogie Nights, for goodness’ sake!
Truly, the man gave so much art to the world for the standard price of admission.
Wonderful insight about the great George Romero. He was a pioneer and his movies always had a philosophical teaching”some humanas are more scary than the real monsters”
Damn straight, Simon! He invented an entire genre. Imagine being able to say that. And one that has lasted decades and is still going strong.
RIP George. Good wishes to his family
He was the true innovator of the genre. Dawn of the Dead has never been equalled in its depiction of the flesh hungry dead occupying the streets, and the downfall and unravelling of our society, as fragile and as easily destroyed as the zombies themselves. He had many other superb films to his name, Martin, the most original vampire movie that has ever hit the screens, Creepshow, The Dark Half…. on and on the list goes. A true loss to the filmmaking business, but his films, his legacy will go on forever. There is no more room in hell…
Innovation is key to keeping film entertainment fresh and interesting and at this, George was a master! R.I.P.
Class act Mr Pegg
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