October 2017


A Word About One Of
The Masters Of Horror…
Article By: Jaime Pina

The day I came home and checked my computer to find that director George A. Romero had passed away first I felt a horrible pain in the pit of my gut like I was lost and all alone and then I broke down crying. It was kind of like discovering this American institution was suddenly not there anymore. Like when the Ramones broke up.

Two of his landmark films, Night Of The Living Dead (1968) and Dawn Of The Dead (1978) are bonafide right of passage flicks. They are films you just had to see and seeing them changed you somehow. That’s just for the average person who attended a Halloween party and watched these on television or videotape or saw these films on the big screen at midnight shows. Film buffs would discover that George’s catalog was full of surprises.

The poetic warm-up to Dawn Of The Dead, The Crazies, is a tight little political thriller with some ideas that George would return to again and again.

His vampire film Martin can be counted as one of the best vampire films ever. Romero lovingly guides actor John Amplas through an epic tale that could be real or not for real. There are some unforgettable Gothic images in the film.

There is Ed Harris’ passionate performance as King Billy in Knightriders. Originally Romero sold the film to producers as a heavy metal knights on bikes action flick but ended up making a deeply personal epic tale of a guy lost in Camelot and just trying to live by a code of honor.

In Creepshow he teamed with Stephen King to make not only one of the best King film adaptations but also one of the best horror anthology films ever. Who can ever forget Adrienne Barbeau’s classic set-up line “Just call me Billie…” and the satisfying payoff when she is fed to what is basically a Tasmanian Devil.

The bleak Day Of The Dead, the film Romero has pointed out seems to be the preferred film of his in the circles of extreme metal.

His underrated film Monkey Shines where he truly lets his Hitchcock influence shine through with the help of an adorable monkey.

His modern Dead… trilogy starting with Land Of The Dead where he paired John Leguizamo as an angry Mexican against Dennis Hopper’s angry racist. He ended it with the last film he ever directed Survival Of The Dead. His most poetic zombie film was a great triumph and featured some of his most beautiful and most frightening imagery.

George A. Romero was a pioneer all the way to the end. An independent hero who made films his way rather than compromise. Think of all the unforgettable images of horror he left us with. The little zombie girl from Night Of The Living Dead and Martin with the needle in his mouth are images that influenced the Gothic scene for certain. The cellar scene in Dawn Of The Dead is another that was unforgettable. Bub saluting in Day Of The Dead was an image that symbolized many things. The zombie riding the horse in Day Of The Dead was an unexpected surprise and showed that Romero was still thinking.

I will never forget you George A. Romero. Especially on Halloween when Night Of The Living Dead is king. Those who paid attention learned many things from your films and watching your films changed us all. We all looked at the concepts of death and survival and trust in your fellow man a little bit differently after absorbing the stories you told. Thank you and rest easy.

And Happy Halloween! Boo!

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