Written by Josh Brewer, January 13, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. Tweet to: @theJWBrewer
Sad news in the horror community today as George A. Romero has died.
The legendary filmmaker, known internationally for his Dead films, succumbed to lung cancer earlier today. According to release from his manager Chris Roe:
“Legendary filmmaker George A. Romero passed away on Sunday July 16, listening to the score of ‘The Quiet Man,’ one of his all-time favorite films, with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter, Tina Romero at his side,” the statement said. “He died peacefully in his sleep, following a brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer, and leaves behind a loving family, many friends, and a filmmaking legacy that has endured, and will continue to endure, the test of time.”
Life of a Legend
Born in 1940 in the Bronx, Romero was trained at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he eventually set up Image Ten Productions. Eventually raising just over $100,000, Image Ten
set off to produce the influential Night of the Living Dead. Telling the story of a group of strangers trapped in a farm house during a zombie uprising. Despite a slow critical response, Night ended up defining the Zombie genre and made nearly 270 times its budget worldwide.
Following Night with a series of other, more traditional films, Romero rose to prominence again in the 1970’s and 80’s, when he produced and released two additional Dead films, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead. While Romero favored Day, Dawn is regularly considered to be his magnum opus. He followed these films with collaborations with Stephen King as well as a number of other horror projects. He returned to the Dead series with Land of the Dead in 2005 and continued to produce films until 2011.
What made Romero more than a horror director was his focus on horror as a means of social commentary. Night features commentary on both race and consumerism, a theme that receives further expansion in Dawn and Day, while Land comments on social inequality. Romero satirically deconstructed elements of American culture, using his zombies as changing metaphor. He didn’t create good guys or bad guys, he created people trapped with the best, and worst, of the world. His work stands as a defining moment within the genre, with story tellers throughout the world following in his foot steps.