One of horror films’ greatest legendary filmmakers has passed away. George A. Romero, who pioneered the modern-day zombie film with his iconic 1968 film, Night of the Living Dead, passed away on July 16 at the age of 77 in Toronto, Canada.
While Romero had worked on other types of horror films, it would be his zombie films that would become a major groundbreaking force in the genre.
Born on February 4, 1940 in the Bronx, New York, Romero was always a film fan, traveling to Manhattan to view film reels at his home. He would later attend Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. After graduating, Romero got his start doing segments for television and short films. However, that all changed when he and a group of friends formed Image Ten Productions and made the groundbreaking Night of the Living Dead.
While he made other films such as a biochemical horror film The Crazies in 1973 and the vampire film Martin in 1978, Romero felt it was time to return to zombie territory and unleashed one of his iconic films to date, Dawn of the Dead. Compared to Night, Romero upped the ante in terms of violence, showcasing some gory effects courtesy of SFX wizard Tom Savini. In addition, the screenplay was assisted by legendary Italian giallo filmmaker Dario Argento.
In the 80’s, Romero contributed to the horror anthology Creepshow as well as unleash the third installment Day of the Dead. He would go on to work on horror films such as Monkey Shines, Two Evil Eyes with Dario Argento and Stephen King’s The Dark Half. In 1990, when SFX wizard Savini directed a modern day remake of Night of the Living Dead, Romero updated the screenplay and got an executive producer credit on the film.
Two of his films, Dawn of the Dead and The Crazies, were remade respectively in 2004 and 2010. After twenty years, Romero returned to film more installments of his Dead films, beginning with 2005’s Land of the Dead; followed by 2007’s Diary of the Dead and 2009’s Survival of the Dead. Romero was developing a new installment of the series, Road of the Dead, before his passing.
Romero is survived by wife Suzanne and children Andrew, Tina, and Cameron.
World Film Geek sends its condolences to the family of George A. Romero. As a final tribute, here is a video from Vice Films of Romero talking about Night of the Living Dead:
Rest in Peace, George A. Romero, the father of the “modern zombie film”.