An obituary for the father of the undead – that only sounds half as strange as the career of American filmmaker George A. Romero really was. Here’s to one of my heroes.
To me, George A. Romero was what Spider-Man creator Stan Lee may be to many others – an inspiration, a bit of a grandpa figure, and a wise old friendly face that I always liked to see. But above all, he was one of the most visionary artists I can think of.
Romero’s “Night of The Living Dead” (you can watch it below in its entirety since it’s in the Wikimedia Commons) is not necessarily among my favorite films – but I admire its creator for its inventiveness and its boldness. If making a black man the hero of your film is something that sadly still poses an issue today, try to imagine what this meant in 1968. The gore in this movie is tame compared to even trailers for “The Walking Dead” – but without “Night”, the dead would have remained dead for good. And – sorry, mild spoiler – this uneasy movie does not have a happy ending. All this takes guts (haha) as a director.
I don’t want to reduce Romero’s career of 50 years to this one work – but without it, nobody would even know the man. Because despite sounding like an impossible flop on paper, this cheap black and white flick Romero made in the outskirts of Pittsburgh went on to become one of the most successful independent horror movies of all time and inspired a whole genre. So, to me, Romero serves as a great example that one must follow their vision, however strange it might appear. You never know what may become of it.
Rest in Peace, George Andrew Romero. May you never have to rise.
Drawing by my man Hade – thanks!