Remembering George A. Romero by B. Harrison Smith

Better late than never… a lot of Johnny Come Lately’s will come out of the woodwork with the passing of George Romero. He was the king of independent horror, and a man who gave far more than he got in return. “The Walking Dead” fans will take to social media and pay hashtag tributes, but many didn’t know what George did to give them their weekly zombie fix. What’s worse… they didn’t want to know.

However, my contribution is not about zombies or to sound like the old man chasing kids off his lawn. Instead, when asked by Dread Central to offer my thoughts on George Romero, I remembered I kept a journal in my sophomore year in high school. I remembered that I wrote an entry on Creepshow after seeing it Nov. 28th, 1982. The film had an impact on me and I felt my entry would be the best tribute to a man I only got to meet once, but was able to thank him to his face for all he did for so many.

Romero Journal Smith

That’s an actual piece of the journal I had to keep for English class in my sophomore year. While George A. Romero is primarily known for his zombie legacy, he did so much more. Below is my actual entry from a fifteen year old boy. I sat with friends in the old, moldering Sherman Theater, which couldn’t have been a better place to see Creepshow.

11/30/82: Creepshow has to be one of the most interesting horror films I have seen in awhile. I know I’ve written on other types of horror, mostly the slasher genre and how it’s taken horror down a different path, but Creepshow made me think I was a kid again. It was a lot of fun and I think George Romero teaming up with Stephen King was not only a great idea; they made a damn good film to boot!

The stories are mostly revenge and I have to say that The Crate was the best. Adrienne Barbeau was so good as the drunk wife of Hal Holbrook. I loved her in The Fog and Escape From New York, but she looked like she was having so much fun in this. I wanted to see more of her. The makeup effects were amazing and I want to meet Tom Savini one day because he’s amazing. The thing in the crate was like this fluffy ape with teeth! The lighting was like a comic book come to life. I only had a few of the horror comics as boy that Nanny got for me. The way the whole film was laid out and acted…it was the best horror film I’ve seen in awhile. Even though I liked Halloween 3 nobody else did, but I thought that was cool too.

When I’m a real filmmaker one day I want to make a film as cool as Creepshow.I hope they make a part 2 but this would be hard to top!

There you have it, a fifteen year old’s assessment of George Romero. I was only discovering his work at that time, but Creepshow made me dig deeper and by college we had a full blown Romero film night with lots of zombies, pot and beer to dovetail with Day of the Dead’s release.

Film needs to be fun again. Horror definitely needs fun. Even with Romero’s darkest stuff, he always seemed like he had the best time giving it to us.

Now I have worked with Adrienne Barbeau and can call her a friend. I got to meet George Romero and shake his and and personally thank him for his work and contribution to the craft. I know Tom Atkins and I got to hang out for an entire evening at Tom Savini’s house and actually touch Fluffy’s “the thing in the crate’s” teeth.

Regardless of politics, I think Ronald Reagan’s ending line from his farewell speech would sum up my little list of triumphs and Romero’s career:

All in all not bad. Not bad at all.

-B. Harrison Smith
Camp Dread, Death House, The Fields

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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