Let's get one thing straight: George A. Romero isn't particularly thrilled with the zombie renaissance in general.
“I don't get it,” he responded when asked during a Q&A at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival. “I honestly don't. First of all, I'm a little pissed off because I used to be the only guy and now everybody's in my playground.”
Often called the “godfather (sometimes grandfather) of the zombies,” the director ushered in not only the modern zombie film but the modern horror film with his 1968 classic “Night of the Living Dead,” which he followed up with five sequels (and counting?). So what does he think of all the movies (and TV show[s]) he influenced with his low-budget B&W masterpiece?
With Romero's recent lambasting of AMC's “The Walking Dead” and the Brad Pitt vehicle “World War Z” making making the rounds, we thought it was time to collect his opinions on a number of other undead flicks of recent years, from “Resident Evil” to Zack Snyder's high-octane “Dawn of the Dead” remake. (Note: “28 Days Later” may seem like a glaring omission, but as far as I can tell his opinion on the film hasn't gotten much past “Zombies shouldn't be fast!” If I come across his opinions on more movies, I will update the list accordingly.)
Let's not stall on this any longer:
“Resident Evil” (2002)
“I wrote a screenplay for the first 'Resident Evil' film. We thought it was a shoo-in. I though Capcom loved it, everybody loved the script. But the guy that runs [film production company] Constantin, it just wasn”t the way he wanted to go. I don”t think he knew anything about video games, or anything else. This is the guy that made 'House of the Spirits' and 'Das Boot' and I don”t think he knew the spirit of the video game was meant to be. Frankly, and of course I have an axe to grind there, but I really didn”t like the movies.” – November 2012 interview with The Inevitable Zombie Apocalypse
“Dawn of the Dead” remake (2004)
“Q: You”ve said somewhere that you felt Zack Snyder”s 'Dawn of the Dead' remake was a bit like a video game in itself?
“I thought it was, yeah. I sort of thought it lost its reason for being. I know a lot of people really like it very much – Stephen King, for example. I didn”t like it very much. Basically, because I was using the idea for satire. My film needed to be done right when it was done, because that sort of shopping mall was completely new. It was the first one in Pennsylvania that we had ever seen. The heart of the story is based in that. And I didn”t think the remake had it.” – November 2013 interview with the Telegraph
“It was better than I expected. I thought it was a good action film. The first 15, 20 minutes were terrific, but it sort of lost its reason for being. It was more of a video game. I'm not terrified of things running at me; it's like Space Invaders. There was nothing going on underneath.” – September 2005 interview with Simon Pegg (for TimeOut)
“Shaun of the Dead” (2004)
“Well, 'Shaun,' man, I just flipped for 'Shaun.' And it was funny because those guys, when it was going to get North American distribution, I was living in Florida or had a place in Florida at the time and I was living on this little island called Sanibel with one little theater where the projector had a 40 watt bulb. I get this message from these guys, I didn”t know who they were. Some cat named Edgar Wright. 'I made this movie, I hope you like it.' So next thing I know, some cat from Universal shows up, like the guy with the bomb suitcase. Fucking print is chained to him and he says, 'I”m going to show you this movie at the local theater. We arranged it.' So this funky little drunkard comes down to open up the theater doors and turn on the projector.
“I see this movie a little too dark but hilarious and it”s just me in the theater and this cat from Universal back there just waiting to get the print back. And I flipped for it. It came with their phone numbers and I called them up immediately right after I saw it and I said, 'Guys!' And they just said, 'Oh, we just wanted to know that you weren”t going to slap us down.' I said, 'How could anybody slap you down for this? This was just so loving.' We”re still buddies. They came out to be zombies in Land, both Edgar and Simon. Simon does a voice in 'Diary of the Dead.' He does one of those voice tracks and we”re still good buds. Happy to know them. They are the cleverest really. They”re really cool. They could be the new Monty Python. They could take over. I don”t think that”s what they”re shooting for though. Simon is the new Scotty.” – March 2013 interview with Horrormovies.ca
“I like a movie called 'Fido.' Great, Billy Connolly, great. I just thought it was gas.” – February 2008 interview with Rotten Tomatoes
“It”s just a shoot-em up.” – November 2012 interview with Breitbart.com
“The Walking Dead” (2010-)
“They asked me to do a couple of episodes of 'The Walking Dead' but I didn”t want to be a part of it. Basically it”s just 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.” – November 2013 interview with The Big Issue
“World War Z” (2013)
“Brad Pitt was the guy that took the big bite with World War Z, and butchered it basically…. The zombies were like army ants. It was like the remake of 'The Naked Jungle.'” – July 2015 interview with The Hollywood Reporter
“Take 'World War Z.' Max Brooks” book was a little more political in that he was actually focusing on the way different countries behave and the way they speak to each other. But the film didn”t do that at all. I mean it sort of touches on Korea, but not in any way that”s meaningful. It”s just basically a video game.” – 2013 interview with Film4