Horror movie fans all over the globe have been paying tribute to one of the giants of the genre, George A. Romero, who has passed away aged 77 following a "brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer," according to his longtime producing partner, Peter Grunwald.
According to reports, the celebrated Master Of Horror passed away listening to the soundtrack of John Ford's Irish-lensed classic The Quiet Man, a favourite film of writer-director Romero, a pioneer of independent cinema who worked for much of his celebrated career in his native Pittsburgh.
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Romero will forever be remembered for his acclaimed series of zombie movies, made over four decades, beginning with 1968's Night Of The Living Dead and concluding with 2008's Survival Of The Dead. The films created the template for the modern zombie movie, and were a direct influence on the massively popular TV juggernaut The Walking Dead, although Romero himself once dismissively referred to the show as "a soap opera with a zombie occasionally."
Films such as World War Z, 28 Days Later and Edgar Wright's Shaun of the Dead are directly inspired by Romero's vision of a world overrun by hordes of the undead - he later gave Wright and Shaun co-creator Simon Pegg his official seal of approval by casting them as zombies in his 2005 epic Land Of The Dead.
Romero enjoyed a successful collaboration with novelist Stephen King on much-loved anthology movie Creepshow (1982); he later adapted King's novel The Dark Half for the big screen. In recent years Hollywood produced big-budget remakes of his low-budget classics Dawn Of The Dead and The Crazies, while the filmmaker himself struggled to find finance for new movies. For many fans, his masterpiece remains the cult favourite Martin (1976), Romero's truly original take on the vampire genre.
Sad to hear my favorite collaborator--and good old friend--George Romero has died. George, there will never be another like you.— Stephen King (@StephenKing) July 16, 2017
What truly set Romero apart from the pack was a darkly satirical bent; many of his movies, particularly his zombie works, were laced with his unique brand of wry social commentary. "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 said in a 2013 interview. One of the many noteworthy online tributes came from writer-director Jordan Peele, whose acclaimed 2017 hit Get Out directly channels Romero's brand of subversive social horror.
Romero started it. pic.twitter.com/i4dnxi8EFV— Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele) July 16, 2017