Remembering George A. Romero: A Life With The Undead
"Wait – what? No!!" said my middle-schooler, staring at his phone with dismay. George Romero had died at the age of 77, leaving legions of fans mourning across social media. As the undisputed King of the Zombie Film, Romero wrote the playbook on the modern zombie. From World War Z to The Walking Dead, zombies continue to trend – lurching and shambling to the beat of Romero's drum.
Romero had been a Toronto resident since 2004, and a public visitation at Mount Pleasant Cemetery is scheduled for July 24.
- Night Turns to Mourning as diehard fans pay tribute to George Romero, Toronto Star
- Fans Say Final Goodbye to "Godfather of Zombies" George Romero at Visitation, CBC
Romero is remembered by filmmakers, authors, and actors who recognize his profound influence. Here is a selection of obituaries from the CBC, the New York Times, the Guardian and the L.A. Times. Romero's history as an independent filmmaker was a solid inspiration to young directors everywhere.
Romero put the brains in braaaaains with his (literally) biting political and social commentary. Canadian film critic Robin Wood wrote, "Romero's work represents the most progressive potentialities of the horror film." In fact, Romero's undead tore the flesh off the nuclear family, capitalism, consumerism, racism and the military. In The Night of the Living Dead (1968), the African-American hero is senselessly gunned down by police; in 2017, director Jordon Peele acknowledged Romero's influence on Get Out: "Romero started it," he tweeted.
George Romero's films will continue to terrify, engage and inspire many generations to come.
Watch or re-watch Romero's zombie films available from the Toronto Public Library:
- Night of the Living Dead (1968) Black and white version, please. Also available on eVideo.
- Dawn of the Dead (2004) Full disclosure: Romero's Dawn of the Dead is not available on DVD - the version in our collection is the 2004 remake [shudder].
- Day of the Dead (1985)
- Land of the Dead (2005)
- Diary of the Dead (2007) Shot on location in Toronto. Keep your eyes peeled for Canada's Tatiana Maslany of Orphan Black.
- Survival of the Dead (2009) Shot on location in Toronto and Port Dover.
Romero's 1976 film Martin, the story of a troubled young vampire, contributed to the growing recognition of the horror film as social commentary.
Romero also wrote a three-part graphic novel series available from the Toronto Public Library:
George A. Romero
February 4, 1940 – July 16, 2017
Photo credit: George Romero, Venice Film Festival, 2009 CC courtesy of Nicolas Genin