Zombies Z mourn Romero
George A. Romero, godfather of the modern zombie-apocalypse flick and creator of the 1968 horror masterpiece “Night of the Living Dead,” died Sunday of cancer, his family said. He was 77.
The Bronx-born director, who fought a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer,” passed on peacefully in Toronto with his wife and daughter by his side, according to a statement from his producing partner, Peter Grunwald.
Romero spent his final moments listening to the score of one his favorite films, 1952’s “The Quiet Man,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
The horror-film auteur had been living in Canada after becoming a dual citizen in 2009.
Romero is considered to have created the modern-day zombie genre after “Night of the Living Dead” and its sequels spawned dozens of knockoffs.
“Night of the Living Dead,” co-written with John A. Russo, tells the tale of ordinary townsfolk getting munched on by those who had recently escaped the grave.
Although renowned for its terror element, Romero’s movie also made a civil-rights statement with the casting of Duane Jones, an AfricanAmerican, in the lead.
Romero said he wasn’t necessarily looking for an AfricanAmerican lead, but Jones performed the best in auditions.
“Perhaps ‘Night of the Living Dead’ is the first film to have a black man playing the lead role regardless of, rather than because of, his race,” he re- called in a 2010 interview with The Wrap.
Romero attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh — the area that inspired “Night of the Living Dead,” which was filmed near Evans City, Pa.
Romero has said he was flattered to be imitated by filmmakers like Tobe Hooper and John Carpenter, but he wasn’t a big fan of the new horror.
He said producers of the TV series “The Walking Dead” asked him to direct a few episodes, but he said no.
“Basically, it’s just a soap opera with a zombie occasionally,” he told the Big Issue in 2013.
“I always used the zombie as a character for satire or a political criticism, and I find that missing in what’s happening now.”
FLESH MOB: Director George A. Romero is surrounded by “zombies” at the Los Angeles premiere of “Survival of the Dead” in 2010.