George A. Romero, “Father of the Zombie Movie,” Has Died at Age 77

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George A. Romero, the Night of the Living Dead director who arguably invented the modern zombie movie, has passed away at the age of 77 from lung cancer.

After his 1968 cult film success with Night of the Living Dead, the so-called Father of the Zombie Movie went on to make a number of undead sequels, including Dawn of the DeadDay of the Dead, Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead, and Survival of the Dead. He also directed other horror features like Creepshow, MartinMonkey Shines, The Dark Half, and Bruiser.

Romero’s influence on the horror genre has been massive, as is easily evidenced by the blockbuster success of shows like The Walking Dead. “I used to be the only guy in the playground, I was the only guy doing zombies,” Romero said in a documentary. “Then all of a sudden The Walking Dead happened and it became mainstream. And now they’re all over the place.”

Romero’s influence also extends to the city of Pittsburgh, where he attended Carnegie Mellon and premiered Night of the Living Dead. The city holds an annual Zombie Fest and has jokingly called itself “Zombie Capital of the World” thanks to Romero’s history there.

Writers and directors across the industry paid tribute to Romero’s impact as the news of his passing spread.

Like all great horror directors, Romero understood that the monsters weren’t ultimately the scariest thing in the film. “I don’t have any supernatural hobgoblins that I worry about,” he said at an AFI screening. “What scares me is life.”

Rest in peace, George Romero.

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)

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