Tuesday, July 18, 2017

R.I.P., George A. Romero

It pains me to write about the death of George A. Romero, whose impact on my love of classic and contemporary horror is immeasurable. While he is best known for essentially creating the modern zombie movie with NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (then setting the gold standard for the genre with DAWN OF THE DEAD), his entire catalogue is worthy of deep study. He was not merely a scare-master, but a true observer of the human animal, and his films are packed with nearly six decades' worth of trenchant, razor-sharp social commentary (I'd hoped he had at least one more feature in him, a "Romero" take for these troubled times. Though there are multiple Romero scripts in circulation, one of which, ROAD OF THE DEAD, seems the most likely to see release).

Whether I'm talking about CREEPSHOW, a strong contender for "most fun Halloween movie" and one I can truly watch anytime, anywhere; MARTIN, a masterpiece of postmodern vampirism and Rust Belt mysticism; or KNIGHTRIDERS, a film about "fighting the dragon" and making your own family wherever your find it; Romero's films speak to me in varied and complex ways––the man was a philosopher, a poet, a sociologist, and a true citizen of the world. It was my pleasure to see him twice in person (at the New York premieres of DIARY OF THE DEAD and SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD) and he was as delightfully charming as you might imagine: compassionate, gregarious, and humorously no-nonsense (he answered one audience member's question about the efficacy of chainsaws versus shotguns in the event of a zombie pandemic by saying "Son, it's only a movie").

Here's to you, George.


Mike Bradley said...

Hear, hear.

J.D. Lafrance said...

Well said. Truly a great loss of a cinematic giant. He will be sorely missed but leaves behind an impressive legacy.

Sean Gill said...

Mike and J.D.,

Thanks, guys––I'll be watching DAWN OF THE DEAD this weekend in tribute.