18 July 2017

We pay tribute to horror movie legend George A Romero with a list of zombie-inspired facts on the filmaker and his undead creations

GEORGE A Romero – the man who gave millions of moviegoers nightmares with his gory zombie flicks – has died.

The 77-year-old American director created the terrifying flesh-eating monsters in Night of the Living Dead in 1968.


Filmmarker George A Romero passed away on Sunday after what his family called ‘brief but aggressive battle’ with lung cancer[/caption]

It went on to become a cult classic and inspired a host of other zombie movies – including Brad Pitt’s World War Z, Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later and Shaun of the Dead starring Simon Pegg.

Romero died on Sunday with his wife Suzanne Desrocher Romero and daughter Tina at his bedside after a “brief but aggressive battle” with lung cancer.

Here, GRANT ROLLINGS pays tribute to Romero with a zombie-inspired Z to A on the filmmaker and his undead creations.

Zombology is the study of the biology and pathology of zombies. The perfect degree course for brain-dead students. And if you think that’s a joke, the University of Baltimore in the US did offer a course about zombie movies.

You can run away, you know, as zombies can usually only manage a shuffling walk. In some movies the undead have been able to run – making them more scary and a lotless fun.

X-rated was the UK certification for the original uncut version of Night of the Living Dead – although these days it is considered suitable for 15-year-olds.


He gave birth to the concept of the living dead with his 1968 film Night of the Living Dead[/caption]

Walking was the Romero way. He said: “I don’t buy running zombies” and insisted they had to walk in order to be the real thing. The hit TV series The Walking Dead, starring Brit Andrew Lincoln, keeps to the tradition of the shuffling undead.

Virus was the means by which the humans were killed in Romero’s 1968 masterpiece. He was inspired by Robert Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend, where a virus creates a nation of vampires. I Am Legend was adapted into a 2007 movie starring Will Smith – which many feel is a zombie flick.

Undead is how zombies prefer to be known – and you wouldn’t want to make them angry. Romero described them as “the recently dead” who are “too weak to dig themselves out of graves”.

Tooled up is what you need to be to take out the relentless monsters. A sawn-off shotgun is best because you can keep your distance. But hammers and cricket bats will also keep them at arm’s length.

Shaun of the Dead, starring Simon Pegg and directed by Edgar Wright, made zombies cool again in 2004. Romero was a fan of the British comedy, saying: “I love it. It was done with such affection.”

The legendary filmmaker also directed Day of the Dead (1985)

The legendary filmmaker also directed Day of the Dead (1985)[/caption]

Romero created the rules of zombie behaviour. The three-time married director struggled to get big budgets despite Night of the Living Dead’s success. He met second wife Christine Forrest while directing Season of the Witch in 1972, which was later recut with his approval to give it a soft porn appeal.

Quiet is what you need to be or the zombies will get you. They react to sound, so try not to knock anything over, although clumsy actors always seem to manage it on the big screen.

Panned. The legendary director hated Brad Pitt’s big-budget 2013 zombie movie, World War Z. Romero said: “They didn’t look like zombies at all.”

OTT is what a zombie film needs to be if it is truly great. Whether it is Woody Harrelson taking one out with a banjo in Zombieland or Richard Briers outpacing another using his zimmer frame in Cockneys vs Zombies – the more ridiculous the better.

Night of the Living Dead became a cult classic when it was released in 1968. Slammed by the critics the movie – which cost $114,000 (£88,000) – made $30million (£23million) at the box office and was followed by five sequels and two remakes.

The director inspired the likes of Brad Pitt, Danny Boyle and Simon Pegg to create zombie themed movies
AP:Associated Press

The director inspired the likes of Brad Pitt, Danny Boyle and Simon Pegg to create zombie themed movies[/caption]

Trailer for 1968 George Romero classic Night of the Living Dead

Moaning is the low groaning sound zombies make as they shuffle inexorably towards you. This is not the Talking Dead. They cannot communicate with you. Though this rule was broken by last year’s British movie The Girl With All The Gifts, starring Gemma Arterton.

Look out! In Danny Boyle’s brilliant 28 Days Later the zombies are incredibly fleet-footed, so out-running them proved tricky for Cillian Murphy. The 2002 movie, set in a post-apocalyptic Britain, was followed by a sequel, 28 Weeks Later, starring Robert Carlyle, in 2007.

Kick-ass is what your average nerd will have to become in order to reach the end of a zombie movie without dying. The genre is filled with geeks suddenly developing incredible fighting skills as they take on hordes of bloodthirsty killers.

Jones, Duane Jones, was the black actor who played the hero in Night of the Living Dead. It was a radical move by Romero to have an African-American as his lead actor in 1968. This was the year the Civil Rights Act was introduced in the US and Martin Luther King was assassinated.

Night of the Living Dead was released in 1968 and shortly became a cult classic

Night of the Living Dead was released in 1968 and shortly became a cult classic[/caption]

Infection is the way you’ll become a zombie, and you don’t want that. One of the key rules is that infection is passed on through blood. Generally, they have to bite you in order to pass on the virus.

Head shot is the only surefire way to kill a zombie. A double tap is best. Romero said: “I invented a few rules, like kill the brain and you kill the ghoul.” In The Walking Dead you need to destroy the brain stem and in World War Z the frontal lobe is the weak point.

George Romero was born in the Bronx, in New York City, on February 4, 1940, to a Cuban father and Lithuanian mother. He passed away on Sunday, in Toronto, Canada.

Friends or family will at some point get infected in a zombie movie. As a result a character will face the dilemma of killing them. Watch out for someone saying “But it isn’t them any more.”

Eating is what zombies have in mind for you and your loved ones if you can’t outrun them. Romero’s creations ripped humans to shreds in a frenzy.

The US film director at the 40th Sitges Film Festival in Sitges in 2007

The US film director at the 40th Sitges Film Festival in Sitges in 2007[/caption]

George Romero slams The Walking Dead on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight

Dawn of the Dead is the 1978 Romero classic which earned $40million (£30million) and is regarded as the ultimate zombie film. In one gory scene a zombie’s head is blown to smithereens like an exploding melon.

Cocktail. Several kinds of rum, liqueur and fruit juice make up the “zombie” concoction. Drink enough of them and you’ll soon be stumbling around like a zombie bashing into things, but hopefully the only munchies you’ll want is a takeaway.

Brains are tasty treats for zombies, who like to smash open skulls and scoop out the grey matter. Although Romero argued that his creations were not strong enough to do this.

Apocalypse is the end of the world – which is coming if someone doesn’t stop the flesh-eating monsters . . . it’s unlikely as zombie films are here to stay.

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