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Remembering George A. Romero – A Collection of Tributes

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Since the news came that we’d lost one of the single most influential filmmakers of not just our time, but very likely all time, we’ve reached out to many industry talents to get their thoughts on both George A. Romero and his films.

Their responses keep flooding in, and we are honored to be a sounding board for so very many wonderful people to share stories and talk about the man, the icon, the legend, who has touched so very many lives. Friends, DC staff members, constituents… they’re all here, and this story will be updated continually. Please share your memories as well in the comments section below.

Remembering Romero

Your light’s reflected now, reflected from afar. We were but stones, your light made us stars.” – Pearl Jam

George A. Romero

GEORGE A. ROMERO BIO
Born on February 4, 1940, in New York City, Romero became interested in filmmaking at a young age when he borrowed an 8mm camera from a wealthy uncle. Inspired by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s musical opera “Tales of Hoffmann” (1951), Romero began making his own short films and was arrested at 14 years old after he threw a flaming dummy off the roof of a building while making “Man from the Meteor” (1954). While attending Suffield Academy in Connecticut, Romero made two 8mm shorts, “Gorilla” (1956) and “Earthbottom” (1956); the latter being a geology documentary that won him a Future Scientists of America award. After graduating high school, he attended Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA where he earned his bachelor’s in art, theater and design in 1960. Romero continued making shorts like “Curly” (1958) and graduated to 16mm films with “Slant” (1958), both of which he made with sometime collaborator Rudolph Ricci. Following work as a grip on Alfred Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest” (1958), Romero shot the feature-length “Expostulations” (1962), a satirical anthology of loosely-connected shorts that showed hints of his later social consciousness.

After forming the commercial and industrial production company, Latent Image, in 1963, Romero cobbled together $114,000 in order to direct his first feature film, “Night of the Flesh Eaters.” Renamed “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) after landing a distributor, the unrelenting film – which was criticized at the time for its onscreen excesses – became a landmark cult film and significant social barometer that forever changed the horror genre. With no heroes or redemptive meaning – only unstoppable nihilistic evil rampaging through small town America – the movie popularized the zombie apocalypse subgenre of horror, spawning numerous imitators throughout the ensuing decades.

Though decidedly cheap in production values, “Night of the Living Dead” nonetheless stood the test of time as an innovative cult film that attracted new fans every generation and became Romero’s signature work. He next directed “There’s Always Vanilla” (1971), his one-and-only romantic comedy that saw an Army veteran-turned-aimless drifter (Raymond Laine) fall for a model and TV actress (Judith Streiner), only to find himself unable to make amends with his military past. Touching on issues like the Vietnam War, abortion and working for corporate America, Romero was becoming unequivocal in expressing his views.

Romero’s next film was “Season of the Witch” (1973), a horror thriller about a suburban housewife (Jan White) who starts practicing witchcraft. He next directed “The Crazies” (1973), a horror/action thriller about a government-made virus that is unleashed on an unsuspecting small Pennsylvania town, killing or driving the inhabitants insane. “The Crazies” was well-made and respected in the years since its release. It also spawned the hit remake in 2010.

Romero soon followed by securing his cult status with two remarkable films: “Martin” (1978) and “Dawn of the Dead” (1979). The former – later remembered by Romero as his favorite – was a lyrical and deeply disturbing tale of a shy boy (John Amplas) who is convinced that he is a vampire. It also began an important collaboration with Tom Savini, a brilliant special makeup effects designer who provided astonishing gore effects for many of Romero’s subsequent features.

His next project, the expansive sequel “Dawn of the Dead” was primarily set in a deserted suburban shopping mall where a hardy band of survivors are beset by zombies, bikers and their own personal demons. A powerful apocalyptic action film leavened with pitch black comedy, “Dawn” critiqued bourgeois culture, consumerism and machismo while spraying the screen with outrageous comic-book carnage. It became one of the most profitable indies in U.S. film history. Romero took a brief detour from horror with “Knightriders” (1981), a quirky, leisurely paced take on the Arthurian legend with Ed Harris as the leader of a jousting motorcycle gang. He next directed the Stephen King-scripted “Creepshow” (1982), a more blunt and commercial work featuring higher production values and a cast of seasoned professionals, including Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau and Ted Danson. This smart and boldly stylized homage to EC horror comics also contained a sly critique of patriarchy. “Day of the Dead” (1985), the ostensible conclusion to the “Living Dead” trilogy, was brutally undermined by last-minute budget cuts, but still emerged as one of Romero’s strongest horror films to date.

Romero also worked in television as the creator, co-executive producer and occasional writer of “Tales from the Dark Side”, an anthologized supernatural series about various people finding themselves on the dark side of reality. The thematic and stylistic concerns of “Creepshow” helped shape the early episodes, while frequent Spike Lee collaborator Ernest Dickerson photographed the first season of this visually striking syndicated horror/fantasy series. Romero’s first project after “Day of the Dead” was the psychological thriller, “Monkey Shines: An Experiment in Fear” (1988). The film won critics choice awards across the globe. For his next feature, “Two Evil Eyes” (1990), Romero and the celebrated Italian horror filmmaker Dario Argento each wrote and directed a story inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. Romero teamed up with Stephen King again for his adaptation of King’s novel, “The Dark Half” (1993). The film again enjoyed enthusiastic reviews for Romero’s screenplay and directing. Hailed as a return to form for the horror master, this well-crafted film featured a strong dual performance by Timothy Hutton.

After a hiatus from the screen to do writing, Romero returned with the unusual thriller “Bruiser” (2000), the lurid tale of a meek, rule-following man (Jason Flemyng), who wakes up one day to discover his face transformed into a smooth, featureless mask. Empowered by his new anonymity, he sets out on a path of revenge against everyone who has wronged him. In 2004, Romero returned to familiar territory with “Land of the Dead” (2005), a continuation of his zombie franchise long thought to be finished with “Day of the Dead.” This time, however, Romero increased the energy with a fast-paced actioner that was not shy on the gore and violence, pleasing both fans and the uninitiated.

“Land of the Dead” ended up being one of the best reviewed films that summer! He continued his zombie revitalization with “Diary of the Dead” (2007), which was more of a reboot than a sequel to the other four movies in the “Dead” series.

He then made the sixth in the series, “Survival of the Dead” (2010), which saw the inhabitants of an isolated island off the coast of North America conflicted whether to kill their own relatives rising from the grave, or try to find a cure. Romero’s dead films continue to inspire such hits as “Shaun of the Dead” (2004) and “Zombieland” (2009).

In 2013 George A. Romero’s Empire of the Dead was announced by Marvel Comics. It was a 15-issue limited comic book series that began publication in 2014 and ended in late 2015. Empire features zombies similar to those in his “Living Dead” film series, but differs slightly because vampires are also part of the story.

Dubbed the “Grandfather of Zombie Films,” Pittsburgh and now Toronto-based independent filmmaker George A. Romero was a pivotal figure in the development of the contemporary horror film and the progenitor of the zombie apocalypse subgenre. Beginning with his first feature, “Night of the Living Dead” (1968), Romero not only upped the ante on explicit screen violence and gore, but also offered a satirical critique of American society that reflected the cultural upheavals of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Most importantly, Romero ushered in a fascination with zombies and spawned numerous imitators over the ensuing decades. It’s very safe to say that AMC’s “The Walking Dead” would never have existed without the Romero influence. “Night of the Living Dead” is still considered to be one of the most influential independent films ever made. Romero’s awards and honors in recent years have stacked up to an impressive amount. And his standing ovation at Cannes Film Festival in 2005 would make any A-list celebrity jealous!

Filmmakers to consider Romero as one of their main influences include Frank Darabont, Guillermo del Toro, Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino to name just few!

George A. Romero passed away on July 16, 2017. He was 77.

George A. Romero

George A. Romero

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Trailer: Paul Solet’s Bullet Head Hits Blu-ray This January

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After checking out writer-director Paul Solet’s pregnancy gone awry flick Grace a few years back, the talented filmmaker made my list of directors to watch out for.

And it is with this in mind that we’d like to share the trailer and Blu-ray/DVD release info for his newest action-survival-crime flick Bullet Head.

The movie stars Adrien Brody, John Malkovich, and Rory Culkin (Scream 4) as a group of thieves trapped in an abandoned warehouse with a vicious man-eating dog…

And Antonio Banderas?

That’ll work!

The trailer reminds me of Fede Alvarez’s Don’t Breathe, but as we all know, that is NOT a bad thing. Throw in some crime-movie good times and this could be a sleeper hit.

You can check out the trailer for yourself below – along with a full list of special features – and then let us know what you think in the comments below or on social media!

The film has been rated R by the MPAA for “violence, bloody images, language, some drug use, and nudity.”

Bullet Head hits theaters December 8th, and Blu-ray/DVD January 9th, 2018.

PRE-ORDER NOW!

Synopsis:

Oscar winner Adrien Brody, Antonio Banderas and John Malkovich deliver the action in this riveting crime story about three career criminals trapped in a warehouse after a heist.

Special Features:

Deleted Scenes

Filmmakers’ Commentary

A Canine Point of View: Writing and Directing BULLET HEAD

Career Criminals and Fighting Dogs: The Iconic Cast of BULLET HEAD

Preparation and Performance: The Animal Actors of BULLET HEAD

Hymns and Fanfare: The Score of BULLET HEAD

BULLET HEAD: Proof of Concept –Lionsgate

 

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Chiller Channel Will Be Discontinued This January

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Back in March of 2007, the Chiller horror channel was launched. The channel was filled with wall-to-wall horror movies and TV shows.

The channel even tried their hand at original scripted content recently with the series “Slasher, starring Kaite McGrath. The second season just premiered on Netflix.

But it seems like today we have bad news. The end of an era. NBC has decided to shut down the Chiller Channel effective beginning on January 1, 2018.

This news comes to us via the TV Answer Man, with an NBC spokesperson telling the site, “NBC Universal will discontinue Chiller as of January 1, 2018.”

The spokesperson didn’t give any further details on the decision but many believe it has everything to do with Verizon, Charter, and Dish dropping the channel earlier this year.

While those drops weren’t catastrophic, the final nail in the coffin came recently when Cox dropped the channel, effectively pulling it out of around 40 million homes.

Are you sad to see the Chiller channel canceled? How often did you watch content via Chiller? Make sure to hit us up and let us know in the comments below.

R.I.P. Chiller

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Another WolfCop Gets Another Poster via The Dude Designs

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It was only last week that we shared the bloody new trailer for writer-director Lowell Dean’s upcoming sequel to his hit horror-comedy flick WolfCop.

Today we have another poster for Another WolfCop.

This new poster comes to us from one of my current favorite poster artists, Tom “The Dude” Hodge. If you’re unfamiliar with the name, you surely know his work. To refamiliarize yourself, you can check out more of his posters right here.

Below you will find his new poster for Another WolfCop, along with the flick’s newest trailer. After that make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think in the comments!

The film is written and directed by Lowell Dean, produced by Bernie Hernando, Deborah Marks, and Hugh Patterson, and distributed worldwide by Cineplex.

Another WolfCop co-stars Amy Matysio, Jonathan Cherry, and Serena Miller. The film also features special appearances from Canadian music icon Gowan and legendary filmmaker Kevin Smith. It was executive produced by Sean Buckley, J. Joly, Bill Marks, Brian Wideen, Michael Kennedy, and Michael Hirsch.

The film is slated for a wide Cineplex theatrical release on Friday, December 8, 2017, with the film seeing a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital home entertainment release through A71 and Black Fawn in 2018.

Synopsis:
A month has passed since the eclipse transformed hard-drinking Officer Lou Garou into the crime-fighting hellion WolfCop. Although the Shape Shifters controlling the town have been extinguished, Woodhaven is far from returning to normal. Lou’s liquor-fueled antics and full moon outbursts are seriously testing his relationship with Officer Tina Walsh – the new Chief of Police. An old friend has mysteriously reappeared with a truly bizarre secret to share, and a homicidal new villain has emerged from the shadows looking to finish what the Shape Shifters started. To defeat this lethal adversary, it will take more than a lone wolf packing a pistol.

Prepare for the next chapter of WolfCop that will be more dirty and hairy than the original! Consider yourself warned.

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