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Arts & Culture

George A. Romero: May The Godfather Of Zombie Films Rest In Peace

George A. Romero in the documentary "Birth of the Living Dead."
First Run Features
George A. Romero in the documentary "Birth of the Living Dead."

Pittsburgh filmmaker died on Sunday at 77

George A. Romero filmography

"George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead" (2009)

"George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead" (2007)

"Land of the Dead" (2005)

"Bruiser" (2000)

"The Dark Half" (1991)

"Two Evil Eyes" (1990)

Tales From the Darkside: The Movie (1990)

"Monkey Shines" (1988)

"Creepshow" (1982)

"Knightriders" (1981)

"George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead" (1978)

"Martin" (1978)

"The Crazies" (1973)

"Season of the Witch" (1973)

"There's Always Vanilla" (1971)

"Night of the Living Dead" (1968)

Filmmaker George A. Romero died Sunday after a brief battle with lung cancer. He was 77.

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Romero will forever be remembered as the godfather of the modern zombie. He gave us the rules that continue to this day for many zombie films. The only way to kill zombies is to destroy the brain or remove the head. And if you get bit by one you become one and then crave human flesh. The best explanation for them came in his 1978 film "Dawn of the Dead.”

"When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth," one character calmly observes.

But Romero did more than create a movie monster. He suggested that zombies could be a blank canvas for social commentary and a way to explore what it means to be human.

“My films are more about what's happening today. My view of what's happening today," Romero said in my 2008 interview with him. "The shopping mall inspired Dawn of the Dead; Day of the Dead was about mistrust, people holing up and completely losing trust for each other. Land of the Dead is about the Bush Administration."

Edgar Wright’s 2004 film "Shaun of the Dead" got to the essence of the zombie’s appeal when the characters in the film find themselves trying to act like a zombie. Diane, the actress in the group, instructs them on the key to getting the look and feel of the undead.

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"Look at the face, it's vacant with the hint of sadness, like a drunk who lost a bet."

Romero’s zombies were like a faded memory of what it’s like to be human, which was what made them both compelling and terrifying.

George Romero has died but unlike so many of the characters he created, may he rest in peace.

Zombie Walk San Diego will be holding a George Romero Remembrance Vigil Saturday during Comic-Con starting at 8 p.m. at Fourth and Broadway downtown.

Here is my video tribute to him. I will also have a podcast tribute to him with interviews from the Zombie Walk vigil on Monday.

Paying Tribute To George A. Romero