George Romero sadly died today after a short battle with lung cancer. He was 77.
Few artists have had the opportunity to create something that leaves a truly lasting impact on the cultural landscape. A lucky and talented few can create something that crystallizes an idea, taking something that already exists and perfecting it. An even luckier few have the chance to bring something new into the collective hive mind, forever changing it..
There is some debate over the origin of the zombie as a monster, but there is no arguing that it was Romero’s 1968 film Night of the Living Dead that brought the shambling creatures into all of our nightmare’s.
Romero had the right combination of timing and talent to get in on the ground floor of the walking dead. He spent his career developing the brain eating corpses using the genre as a way to make commentary on contemporary life. His films took pot shots at consumerism, the government and the every-man, all through the decaying lens of the zombie. His name was synonymous with monsters that were so terrifying because, at the end of the day, they were us. And even in his final years he showed no signs of slowing. Romero continued to weave horrific tales, often involving the creatures he made infamous. Day of the Dead an upcoming zombie film is in post-production and scheduled for release this year, Romero is attached.
Outside of the zombie genre, Romero worked on Creepshow with Stephen King and also penned comic books and worked on video games. There was no aspect of horror entertainment Romero didn’t touch.
More importantly, he touched our hearts, the dark and shadowy corner that remembers what primal fear feels like and for that, even though he is gone, he will never be forgotten.
Thanks for the chills and thrills George, we miss you already.