George A. Romero, best known for his landmark film Night of the Living Dead and its sequels, has died at the age of 77 due to lung cancer.
It’s hard to perfectly capture the immense impact Romero had on the horror genre. His tiny independent film Night of the Living Dead changed the cinematic landscape forever. If not for Night of the Living Dead, we would never have The Walking Dead or any other story with zombies.
I had the chance to meet Romero when I was very young and he was one of the nicest celebrities I’ve ever met. He shot the opening of Day of the Dead in my hometown of Fort Myers, Florida. The downtown area he used was where I worked for over five years. I always wore that knowledge as a badge of pride for my city.
But Romero also directed one of my favorite films of all time, Creepshow. It was a collaboration with Stephen King that attempted to adapt the classic EC Comics horror books. If not for Creepshow, we may have never gotten the Tales from the Crypt television series. It’s a lurid, delightful romp that stands as one of the best comic book movies of all time. The film is an annual rewatch for me around Halloween but it will be getting an early viewing due to this tragic news. Check out Hostel director Eli Roth talking about Creepshow over its awesome trailer.
Even Romero’s deep cuts are worth seeking out. His inspired take on the vampire film, Martin, is an underseen and underappreciated gem. Knightriders is a wonderfully oddball movie about a medieval troupe that also does motorcycle stunts. And his other Stephen King work, The Dark Half, is a surprisingly mean-spirited but still enjoyable feature.
Romero’s influence is wide-reaching and ever-present. His loss is an enormous blow to the horror community. We here at FANDOM send our sympathies to his family, friends and fellow fans.