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George A. Romero has passed away

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George A. Romero, the man who brought us Night of the Living Dead and so much more has died at the age of 77.

He died Sunday in his sleep following a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer,” according to a statement to The Times provided by his longtime producing partner, Peter Grunwald.

He passed away while listening to the score of one his favourite films, 1952’s “The Quiet Man,” with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter, Tina Romero, at his side, the family said.

Romero is probably best known for his series of gruesome and satirical horror films about an imagined zombie apocalypse, beginning with Night of the Living Dead and notably continuing on with Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead. His other works include The Crazies, Creepshow, Martin, Monkey Shines, and The Dark Half.

After graduating from university in 1960,[10] he began his career shooting short films and commercials. One of his early commercial films was a segment for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in which Rogers underwent a tonsillectomy. With nine friends, Romero formed Image Ten Productions in the late 1960s, and produced Night of the Living Dead (1968). Directed by Romero and co-written with John A. Russo, the movie became a cult classic and a defining moment for modern horror cinema.

There’s Always Vanilla (1971), Jack’s Wife / Season of the Witch (1972) and The Crazies (1973) were not as well received as Night of the Living Dead or some of his later work. The Crazies, dealing with a bio spill that induces an epidemic of homicidal madness, and the critically acclaimed arthouse success Martin (1978), a film that deals with the vampire myth, were the two well-known films from this period. Like many of his films, they were shot in or around Pittsburgh.

In 1978, Romero returned to the zombie genre with Dawn of the Dead (1978). Shot on a budget of just $500,000, the film earned over $55 million worldwide and was named one of the top cult films by Entertainment Weekly in 2003. Romero made the third entry in his “Dead Series” with Day of the Dead (1985).

Between these two films, Romero shot Knightriders (1981), another festival favourite about a group of modern-day jousters who reenact tournaments on motorcycles, and the successful Creepshow (1982), written by Stephen King, an anthology of tongue-in-cheek tales modelled after 1950s horror comics.

From the latter half of the 1980s and into the 1990s came Monkey Shines (1988), about a killer helper monkey, Two Evil Eyes (1990) (aka, “Due occhi Diabolici”), an Edgar Allan Poe adaptation in collaboration with Dario Argento, The Dark Half (1993) written by Stephen King, and Bruiser (2000), about a man whose face becomes a blank mask.

Romero updated his original screenplay and executive produced the remake of Night of the Living Dead directed by Tom Savini for Columbia/TriStar in 1990. Savini is also responsible for the makeup and special effects in many of Romero’s films including Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Creepshow, and Monkey Shines. Romero had a cameo appearance in Jonathan Demme’s Academy Award-winning The Silence of the Lambs in 1991 as one of Hannibal Lecter’s jailers.

Like many of you out there, Night of the Living Dead brought zombies into my life and the joy you only feel while getting scared watching a movie.

A legend has left us.

What are your favourite moments from the films of George A. Romero?

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One Comment

  1. Such a shame RIP, he made great zombie films

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