Following a short but aggressive battle against lung cancer the legendary director George A. Romero passed away yesterday at the age of 77. Reportedly Romero died in his sleep with his wife Suzanne Desrocher Romero and daughter Tina by his side as the score from one of his favorite movies The Quiet Man played. Romero is survived by his wife, daughter and two sons, Cameron and Andrew. Everyone here at Scified extends their deepest, most heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.
Romero is best known for having co-written (with John Russo) and directed the cult classic horror 1968 movie Night of the Living Dead and is considered by many as the father of the zombie genre of horror movies. To modern audiences, the "zombie" is now seen as an overused trope in horror movies, but back in the 60's the term Zombie was synonymous with the misappropriated negative views towards Voodoo. Founded in Haitian folklore the Zombie was originally held to be a recently expired corpse that was re-animated through the use of Voodoo (or Vodou) magicks.
But in 1968 George A Romero's originally titled Night of the Flesh Eaters would change horror movies forever. Prior to the movies release many horror movies, usually produced by either Universal Pictures or Hammer Film Productions focused primarily on a lone, supernatural character such as Dracula, Frankenstein's Monster or the Wolfman. Romero's vision of a mindless undead horde overwhelming its victims en-masse was a revelation in a tired genre that was welcomed by audiences but initially scorned by critics.
An independent movie, Romero's directorial debut was produced with a minuscule $114,000 production budget and starred Duane Jones, the first African-American to be cast as the lead actor of a horror movie. In retrospect, it seems almost inevitable that the movie would become a legendary classic, whose depiction of the undead horde and the struggle of the small band of survivors has inspired decades of zombie apocalypse and survival movies, such as The Evil Dead, World War Z, 28 Days Later, The Divide, and the Purge. Video game franchises such as Resident Evil, Left for Dead, and Dead Island, and comic book and TV giant The Walking Dead would simply not exist without Romero's iconic movie.
Following the release of his breakaway movie Romero also directed its five sequels Dawn of the Dead (1978), Day of the Dead (1985), Land of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2007), and Survival of the Dead (2009). Along with the 15 issue mini-series Empire of the dead, published by Marvel Comics in 2014, the prolific director was developing another installment titled Road of the Dead, which he described as Fast and the Furious with zombies, though with his passing it is unknown whether or not the movie will ever be made.
Farewell George A. Romero, one of, if not the most influential figure in the world of horror, you will be missed but never, ever forgotten.