Remembering George A. Romero by Frank Sudol

On the shelf at the old video store, back in the late Eighties, I noticed a video that stood out among all of the others. The VHS box cover featured a morphing image of a face, decaying against a yellow sun in the background, with the words, George A. Romero’s Day of the Dead written nearby. I was captivated. I showed the box to my brother and we agreed, this had to be seen right away.

With our frozen cheeseburgers fresh from the microwave and our canned sodas snapped open, we popped in the VHS tape and the wonder began, as the opening credits rolled by and scenic shots of a Florida-like City offered the ominous mood that something wasn’t right. The city was seemingly void of all life. Then the newspaper flashed up in the wind, “The Dead Walk!” as I remember it. Then some figured shadows shuffled into scene, and this ghastly, decayed and jawless, old man walked into frame.

Day of the Dead was revealed as the zombie’s face dripped slime, followed by some of the most incredibly gory and gritty zombies I had ever seen in my entire life, thanks to Romero, Tom Savini and his special effects team. I was amazed and thoroughly entertained by the unhindered vision of horror; of the living dead in an underground shelter, tearing apart the living who were foolish enough to tamper with the dead. Watching Captain Rhodes getting torn apart from the stomach down by a horde of rotting corpses was an ending that ensured this movie would live in my memory forever, as Bub saluted goodbye. Followed by the zombies grabbing selfishly for their bloody feast to feed their endlessly voracious appetites. Absolute, horror genius.

Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, and many other classic Romero films have influenced my love of the horror genre so much, that I was inspired to create one of the first feature-length, animated zombie horror movies, The City of Rott, single-handedly back in 2005. The film was heavily influenced by George’s Dead films, and I made sure to pay honor to the King of Zombies through several tributes throughout the gory cartoon intended for grown ups, while also being sure to include social commentary beneath it all, as Romero always did.

To use one’s mind, or lose it and become like the mindless hordes of the living dead. To this day, Romero’s influence still flows through my imagination, as I create City of Rott: Otherworld, which will also feature plenty of animated, gory and visceral zombie moments inspired by his amazing Dead films.

And today, after learning of George A. Romero’s passing at age 77, not only Bub salutes a solemn goodbye to the legacy of the King of the Living Dead genre, but also countless horror fans worldwide, paying tribute to Romero’s introspective, thought-provoking brand of horror. Though he is gone, his Living Dead, Horror films and legendary status in the Horror Genre will endure. Thank you George A. Romero. Your influence lives on into the twilight.

– F. Sudol

George A. Romero

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Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

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