George Romero — the godfather of the zombie genre, and the director behind Night of the Living Dead, Day of the Dead, and Dawn of the Dead — is not a huge fan of The Walking Dead, blaming the AMC series (and Brad Pitt’s World War Z) for difficulties in his own career, suggesting that the bigger projects have prevented him from making smaller zombie films with a sociopolitical message. Romero, who was once asked to direct a few episodes of the series, declined, calling the series “a soap opera with a zombie occasionally. “
Nevertheless, executive producer, special effects supervisor, and frequent director of The Walking Dead, Greg Nicotero, owes a tremendous debt to Romero, and not just for launching the genre that catapulted The Walking Dead to the most popular series on television. Nicotero got his start working on Romero’s 1985 film, Day of the Dead, and Tom Savini — who did the special effects for many of Romero’s films — was Nicotero’s mentor.
Nicotero, like his mentor Tom Savini, is a Pittsburgh guy, and the Night of the Living Dead was filmed outside of Pittsburgh in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. It’s the same city where Creepshow — based on a screenplay written by Stephen King (who also starred in one of the film’s vignettes) — was filmed. Nicotoro’s mentor Savini also did the special effects for Creepshow, which was directed by Romero.
In other words, a lot of Greg Nicotero’s influences were involved in Creepshow, which was filmed around Nicotero’s hometown, so it makes sense that Nicotero would pay homage to Creepshow as he did in this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Say Yes.”
Here’s the movie poster for Creepshow.
Part of this week’s episode of The Walking Dead took place in on an abandoned carnival grounds overrun by zombies. It’d be impossible to detect without knowing it was there in advance, but the episode featured a quick homage to Creepshow in it. A close-up shot wasn’t available in the episode itself, but here’s the nod to the Creepshow poster featured on the Instagram of Greg Nicotero, who directed the episode.
The booth inspired by Creepshow is seen at several points throughout the episode, but mostly from a side angle. However, if viewers are looking for it, they could also see it in a wide shot as Rick is slaughtering a small herd of zombies.
Maybe Romero is not a huge fan of The Walking Dead, but clearly The Walking Dead — or a least, Nicotero — is a huge fan of Romero. In fact, the series has paid homage to the work of Romero several times over the course of the series, including another nod to the one of the Creepshow segments, “The Crate,” which features a label on a crate in the fifth season premiere identical to that of the crate in Creepshow.