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Podcast Episode 124: RIP George A. Romero, Godfather Of The Undead

Pittsburgh filmmaker’s legacy will never die

Photo caption: George A. Romero on the set of "Land of the Dead." (2005)

Photo credit: Universal Pictures

George A. Romero on the set of "Land of the Dead." (2005)

Episode 124: RIP George A. Romero, Godfather of the Undead

George A. Romero passed away on July 16, 2017. But his legion of zombies will never die. Here is a tribute to Romero from fans as well as archive interviews with him. May the godfather of the undead rest in peace.

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George A. Romero died July 16. The zombie community paid tribute to him during Comic-Con and I gather some of those memories and an archive interview with him for this remembrance.

I love zombies and the chief reason for that is George A. Romero.

With “Night of the Living Dead” in 1968 he created the modern zombie and with “Dawn of the Dead” a decade later he solidified zombie lore with rules about how to kill them and how you can become a zombie. Romero also proved that the horror genre was an ideal place for social commentary and that zombies were the perfect blank slate to tackle whatever issues happen to be relevant.

He created my favorite zombie of all time in Bub in "Day of the Dead." Bub was the first self-aware zombie, a being who once was human and seemed to have a vague understanding of what that meant. To me that made him sweetly endearing but it also suggested the absolute horror of what being a zombie could be like, being an undead being craving human flesh and never being able to die.

He also proved that you did not need to work in Hollywood to be a successful filmmaker. In fact, he showed how working outside of the mainstream film industry could allow a filmmaker much more creative freedom. Not only did he make a string of iconic zombie films but he also made brilliant horror films such as “Martin” and “The Crazies” that pushed the genre beyond conventional boundaries.

On top of all his creative and artistic achievements, Romero was also a genuinely kind, sweet man who was always gracious with fans and an absolute delight on panels with his candid and humorous discussions about filmmaking.

For this podcast, I speak with the organizer of Zombie Walk San Diego and the George A. Romero Remembrance Vigil during Comic-Con, include some of the tribute from July 22, and speak with Dread Central’s Steve “Uncle Creepy” Barton, who had a long friendship with the filmmaker. I also include my 2008 interview with the director about “Diary of the Dead” and his lifelong work with zombies.

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