George A. Romero, Night Of The Living Dead creator, has died
George A. Romero, the writer director behind horror classics Night Of The Living Dead and Dawn Of The Dead has died at the age of 77.
Romero’s film producing partner Peter Grunwald told The Los Angeles Times that the zombie film director passed away peacefully in his sleep after a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer”.
Romero leaves behind a legacy that very few can match as only a handful of creators loom as largely over the horror genre.
His first film, Night Of The Living Dead, which was shot on a budget of $114 000, may have been almost universally panned by critics, but it became a notable cult hit with horror fans when it was released in 1968.
Its success to numerous sequels in what fans named ‘The Dead’ franchise, became more cerebral over time than most critics expected films centering on an undead outbreaks had any right to be. Dawn Of The Dead, which was released in 1979, used the zombie apocalypse to take a rather poignant sideswipe at consumerism.
Day Of The Dead (1985) looked at the breakdown in communication between levels of society, while Land Of The Dead (2005) was a hard, unblinking look at the gap between society’s haves and have-nots and the earth’s rapidly depleting natural resources.
Born in New York City, on 4 February 1940, Romero worked on various films before finding his calling in zombie films. His influence has since spread beyond the silver screen to encompass videogames (Left 4 Dead and Dead Rising among them) to television shows (such as the hugely successful Walking Dead series, which funnily enough Romero said he wasn’t a fan of).
“He leaves behind a loving family, many friends and a filmmaking legacy that has endured, and will continue to endure, the test of time,” Grunwald said.