Remembering George A. Romero by Staci Layne Wilson

GeorgeARomero nfl documentary 1 750x422 - Remembering George A. Romero by Staci Layne Wilson

Maybe I’ve said this a time or two, but it’s true: I’m not a zombie fan. I wish I was, but hey – nobody’s perfect. However, I am a huge George A. Romero fan. He was one of the most kind, amiable, down-to-earth and intelligent directors I have interviewed in my 16-year career as a writer, TV host and entertainment reporter.

I first met George in the mid-2000s, when I was working on my book about animals in the movies – since Monkey Shines is one of my all-time faves, I reached out to him to get some inside info on the sinister simian. He graciously obliged, telling me Ella’s real name was Boo and that the scenes in which the Capuchin charmer is trying to get frisky with her hapless human object of affection, it was not acting. “Monkeys are pretty raunchy animals. So, in the scene where Ella has to come on to Allan, we actually waited until she was in heat,” he told me. “The trainer shared that tip with me, and we got exactly what we wanted on camera.” Talk about a great director doing whatever it takes to get the mon(k)ey shot.

The second time I saw him was at a big party for the launch of the “Masters of Horror” television series. I got a chance to chat with him, Mick Garris, and John Landis – plus there was an open bar. Now, that’s what I call a party! After that, I covered Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead, and Survival of the Dead… every time I talked to George, he remembered me and would ask how my book was doing.

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Romero Staci Landis - Remembering George A. Romero by Staci Layne Wilson

One of my favorite memories of George is from when I was interviewing him on-camera at the Diary of the Dead press junket. On a whim, I asked him if I could wear his famous specs during the interview. He said “Sure!” and handed them over. Those glasses were no joke. They were thicker than Coke bottles and heavier than dead weight. When I handed them back, he put them on and said, “Oh, there you are. I was just following the sound of your voice.

Staci Romero - Remembering George A. Romero by Staci Layne Wilson

When the time came for me to write and direct my first feature film, wouldn’t you know it? It turned out to be about zombies. And you know it: There’s an homage to the horror-master himself in it. When a character called Bettie (Carrie Keagan) tries to kill an undead by strangling him, Jake (Chase Williamson) slaps his forehead and groans, “Don’t you know the only way to kill a zombie is with a gunshot to the head? It’s Romero 101!

Whether you’re a fan of the living dead or not, George A. Romero’s legacy is indelible. Surely it will color the cinematic landscape of our beloved genre and live on for eons to come. As he said himself, “I’m like my zombies. I won’t stay dead!

Staci Romero 1 - Remembering George A. Romero by Staci Layne Wilson

Staci Romero 2 - Remembering George A. Romero by Staci Layne Wilson

George a Romero - Remembering George A. Romero by Staci Layne Wilson

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