Horror fans were shocked to learn that George A. Romero, the director of all-time classics like Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Creepshow, passed away over the weekend after a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer.” He was 77 years old. In a heartfelt tribute, Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright wrote, “It’s fair to say that without George A. Romero, I would not have the career I have now.” It’s also accurate to presume that without the “father of the zombie film,” there would be no The Walking Dead, currently one of the most popular shows on TV. He might have been fine with that.
Romero was outspoken about AMC’s zombie series over the years, calling it a “soap opera with a zombie occasionally. I always used the zombie as a character for satire or a political criticism and I find that missing in what’s happening now.” He also said that because of The Walking Dead and World War Z, “I can’t pitch a modest little zombie film, which is meant to be sociopolitical.” Romero continued, “I used to be able to pitch them on the basis of the zombie action, and I could hide the message inside that. Now, you can’t.” He even declined directing episodes of The Walking Dead.
“All of a sudden, here came The Walking Dead. So you couldn’t [do] a zombie film that had any sort of substance. It had to be a zombie film with just zombies wreaking havoc. That’s not what I’m about.”