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Remembering George A. Romero: The Day I Hugged a Legend

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Losing someone… anyone… is always hard. George A. Romero had more to do with my upbringing than my very own parents. I grew up amidst dysfunctional family circus. My parents were constantly fighting… furiously… unrelentingly so. As a result I, like many of you, grew up in front of my television set.

Night of the Living Dead was the cause of my first spanking, and it set me on my way at just three years old to becoming who I am right now. I was up late and watching TV without my parents’ knowledge. I saw the newscast portion of the film. I thought it was real. They thought I was nuts but were even more furious when I dragged them both into the living room, pointed at the TV, and of course what was on was NOTLD. I remember lying in bed that night, my butt pounding, but so excited. I was scared to death, but also safe as could be. It was that rush I’ve been chasing my whole life since.

When I was like 11, it was time for me to get my first job. It was 1983, and like most Italian kids from Brooklyn, it was some form of weird right of passage to have your first job be in a pizzeria. I worked an entire summer to save up for the first video cassette I ever bought… the Media Home Entertainment copy of Night of the Living Dead. It was $99.99 plus tax and worth every damned penny.

Night of the Living Dead

Romero and his many movies dictated in which directions my moral compass would lead me. I learned right and wrong from movies like Dawn of the Dead, The Crazies, etc. George A. Romero, through film, became my idol. My absolute mentor. Without ever even knowing it.

Years later I got my first interview with him. It was 8:00AM in Maryland at the HorrorFind convention. George’s manager, and another close friend, Chris Roe, had actually given me his room key. There I was… in his hotel room. The legend. My idol. The icon. I was bad. I went and peed in his bathroom. Didn’t even hold it. Let it go free. Thankfully I have great aim. From there I went and hugged his pillow. Then I went and sat in every possible seat in his room just to know my butt had sat in the same spot in which greatness had. I sat down, heart throbbing, sweating, waiting… I looked at his ashtray brimming with cigarette butts. I made sure I took the seat right across from it. The doorknob began to jingle, and in walked this giant of a man… larger than life… I shook his hand… immediately welled up… He saw I was nervous… His first words to me… “Relax, man. Let’s bullshit.

That right there is the epitome of George A. Romero. He never considered himself the legend that he was and remains to be. He was the nicest, warmest man I’d ever met. He immediately put me at ease and was listening to me jabber, I’m sure much to his own amusement. That was the beginning of one of the greatest relationships I’ve ever been lucky enough to have. I told him about my spanking. He said, “Hey, sorry about yer ass, man!

Through the years I’ve kissed this man every time I saw him. If I couldn’t be where he was, I asked others to kiss him and tell him it was from Uncle Creepy. He always got a kick out of that. I’ve watched him at conventions… he would sit down and not leave no matter how long it took to make sure everyone got their stuff signed. He rarely even took a break. George was genuinely as happy to meet his fans as they were to meet him. He took his time with every single person. It was something to see. Something special. Someone special.

I even went to Universal Studios with him and the then Horror Channel crew including Sean Clark, George’s lovely wife Suz, Debi, Knetter, Eileen Dietz, and of course Chris Roe. I cannot ever forget riding Spider-Man with him. Is this real life? What the fuck did I do to deserve this?!? We e-mailed a lot when we couldn’t see each other. He’d taken to calling me Ramirez for some reason, and I would refer to him as Whit Bissell. It didn’t matter why, and we never ever thought to even try to explain it. It was just a thing, ya know?

Universal Romero

Years later George asked me to be a zombie in Survival of the Dead. You can read all about that here if you wish. My bucket list is over. That was it. A few months later I recorded a commentary track with him that was for BD-LIVE. During it we both got profusely shit-faced. There I was on his couch recording a fucking commentary for George A. Romero. I’ve never stopped feeling honored. Unfortunately it’s not available anymore. Michael Felsher, another dear friend, just sent me a copy of it. Maybe I’ll post it. You have no idea how happy I am to have it. I told George after the commentary about the pizzeria story. He immediately put his hand in his pocket and offered to give me my money back. I told him to go scratch his ass. We both laughed endlessly, continued drinking, and then went for sushi.

Muppett Romero

Today came news I was dreading my entire life. At this point I’m at the 854-word mark and haven’t stopped crying yet. George… thank you for who you were. Thank you for accepting me and welcoming this fucking idiot street kid with no common sense into your life. I love you so very much and will miss you every single time I draw a breath. I love you. I love you. I miss you already.

God… I have no more words.

– Ramirez

George A Romero

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Did You Catch Chucky and King Kong’s Cameo in the Trailer For Steven Spielberg’s New Movie?

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You may remember a few months back there was a kick-ass trailer for Steven Spielberg’s new action-adventure flick Ready Player One that sported a quick glimpse of not only Freddy Krueger, but Stephen King’s Christine as well.

If those slick horror nods weren’t enough for you, today we have the new trailer for the film and guess who shows up? Yep, you guess it (from the headline) but Mr. Charles Lee Ray lends a helping knife to a battle, and the king of the jungle, Kong himself!

Very cool.

The cameos in the trailer is one of those “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” things, but let’s hope he has a bit more screentime in the actual movie. By the way, is Ready Player One reminding anyone else of the “Imagination Land” episode(s) of “South Park”…?

You can check out the trailer below and then make sure to let us know what you think!

The film is directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the novel by Ernie Cline, and stars Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance, T.J. Miller, Hannah John-Kamen, and Letitia Wright.

Ready Player One hits theaters March 30, 2018.

Synopsis:

In the near future, outcast teenager Wade Watts escapes from his bleak surroundings by logging in to the OASIS, a globally networked virtual utopia where users can lead idyllic alternate lives. When the eccentric billionaire who created the OASIS dies, he offers up his vast fortune as the prize in an elaborate treasure hunt. Along with gamers from around the world, Wade joins the adventure, and quickly finds himself pitted against powerful corporate foes and other ruthless competitors who will do anything, in the oasis or the real world, to reach the treasure first.

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The Shape of Water Scores 7 Nominations at This Year’s Golden Globes

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Earlier today we let you know Jordan Peele’s horror-thriller Get Out scored nods at this year’s Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture and Best Actor – both in the Comedy category.

Strange.

That said, another film from our beloved genre is getting some love in the form of writer-director Guillermo del Toro’s new creature feature The Shape of Water.

The film was given nominations in a staggering 7 categories including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for Sally Hawkins, Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture for Octavia Spencer, and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture for Richard Jenkins.

Del Toro also scored nods for his work as director and co-screenwriter for the film.

You can check out the full list of nominations right HERE.

The film is directed by Guillermo del Toro, written by Vanessa Taylor and del Toro, and stars Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Michael Stulbarg, and Doug Jones.

The Shape of Water is currently playing in theaters.

Synopsis:
In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of silence and isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.

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Get Out Scores Golden Globe Nominations… as a Comedy

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It was a few weeks back now when we let you guys in on the rather puzzling news that the Golden Globes was considering Jordan Peele horror-thriller Get Out as a nominee…

As a comedy.

As strange as that news was, it seems it wasn’t a joke in its own right as Jordan Peele’s Get Out has scored a nomination for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. The news broke this morning with the full release of this year’s nominations via EW.

You can check out the full list HERE.

One cool thing is that actor Daniel Kaluuya also scored a nod for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – again, Musical or Comedy. Sad and borderline ridiculous that Peele didn’t score nods as director OR screenwriter. For shame, Golden Globes.

What do you think of this news? Are you just glad Get Out got SOME love from this year’s Gloden Globes, or could you care less about awards season? Let us know below!

Synopsis:
Now that Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family’s overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter’s interracial relationship; but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he could never have imagined.

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