George Romero

George Romero defined the cinematic zombie with his groundbreaking work in practical gore effects. Romero’s creative use of makeup would be imitated for decades, and cinematic zombies rarely strained from the template he’d defined. In fact, when Danny Boyle introduced fast moving zombies in “28 Days Later,” it was a novelty that he wasn’t simply replicating Romero.

Romero saw zombies as a reflection of what humanity left behind, and his undead represented societal fears. Although his long standing “Living Dead” franchise has varied in terms of quality, each entry was unique. Each of Romero’s films is terrifying, but they also address the social climate with each installment.

Romero’s debut film “Night of the Living Dead” examined the anxieties of ’60s America; tensions were high due to the Vietnam War, the Red Scare, and the assassinations of key political figures. The characters in “Night of the Living Dead” constantly question who has been infected, and ultimately mankind is the scariest danger of all. 1978’s “Dawn of the Dead” attacked consumer culture, setting its band of survivors in a mall. 1985’s “Day of the Dead” satirized militarism and the refusal to listen to scientists; it was a grim warning in the Reagan era that resonated strongly throughout the Trump presidency.


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