Remembering George A. Romero by Robert Galluzzo

I have two very specific early memories when it comes to the films of George Romero.

The first is how devastating and bleak the ending to the original Night of the Living Dead was. As a budding young horror fan, I was just starting to get into the dark stuff, and as most fellow genre fans can attest, despite our love of the macabre, we’re actually the most sensitive people on the planet. So, seeing Ben’s lifeless corpse thrown on top of a pile of zombies in those startling stills that played over the end credits was one of the most indelible cinematic impressions on my psych. I grew to love Ben over the course of that movie, and that ending made me cry. Wow. Movies could do that?

The second memory came years later, shortly after meeting my childhood best friend Steve in Junior High School, because we bonded over his Evil Dead 2 T-shirt. One of the first times I went to his house, him and his younger brothers upturned the couches and we played Dawn of the Dead. We were the characters from the movie, and the house represented the mall setting of Romero’s classic feature. We would run around with fictional imaginary guns trying to avoid being bitten.

I’m sure my stories aren’t unique or original. At some point, we all have variations on the above and what each and every one of George’s movies meant to us. But, as I mentioned on my personal Facebook page when I first heard the news, we fall in love with these movies growing up. And at some point, we seek out the people responsible for them. And because the horror community is so tight knit and kind, we look at each other as family. George Romero was the cool Uncle we all wish we had.

I met him several times at conventions and his big warm smile, calming voice and firm handshake only confirmed my early suspicions that he was totally a member of my family that my folks never told me about. He made every single person that ever came up to him feel that way.

The only comfort I can take is that I can walk over to my movie collection and spend a little time with George any time I like. Now’s the time to break out one of his movies, show it to some friends, and celebrate the many gifts this talent left us during his 77 years on this planet.

R.I.P., George.

We will never stop talking about, or celebrating you and your movies.

– Robert Galluzzo

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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