Remembering George A. Romero: A Life With The Undead

July 21, 2017 | Viveca

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George Romeroival de Venise 

"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. 


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.  

Night of the Living Dead Theatrical Poster 1968

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 DVD cover Dawn of the Dead + Land of the Dead DVD Cover Day of the Dead DVD Cover Diary of the Dead DVD Cover

Martin 1976 Survival of the Dead DVD Cover

Romero's 1976 film Martinthe 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: 

Empire of the Dead Act One Book Cover Empire of the Dead Act Two Book Cover Empire of the Dead Act Three Book Cover 

George A. Romero

February 4, 1940 – July 16, 2017

George Romero and Friends


Photo credit: George Romero, Venice Film Festival, 2009 CC courtesy of Nicolas Genin