George A Romero, pioneer of modern horror films dies at 77, industry pays tribute on Twitter
US filmmaker George A Romero, whose 1968 cult classic Night of the Living Dead spawned the zombie movie genre, died on Sunday aged 77, according to his manager.Updated: Jul 17, 2017 07:53 IST
US filmmaker George A Romero, whose 1968 cult classic Night of the Living Dead spawned the zombie movie genre, died on Sunday aged 77, according to his manager.
Tributes poured in from Hollywood and beyond for the legendary director who according to his manager Chris Roe passed away “listening to the score of The Quiet Man, one of his all-time favourite films.”
“He died peacefully in his sleep, following a brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer, and leaves behind a loving family, many friends, and a filmmaking legacy that has endured, and will continue to endure, the test of time,” Chris Roe added in a brief statement.
Shot in black-and-white on a budget of just over $100,000, Night of the Living Dead daringly featured black actor Duane Jones as its lead in a script about a group of people attempting to survive an attack by re-animated corpses.
Some film scholars later suggested it was a subversive critique of US society during the 1960s, while its gory realism was reminiscent of footage from the Vietnam war that was airing on American TV at the time.
The film went on to gross over $30 million worldwide, and led to five sequels including Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead -- inspiring an entire genre that remains a Hollywood staple to this day, though the director admitted he was himself influenced by Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend.
Night of the Living Dead was added by the Library of Congress in 1999 to its National Film Registry for works considered “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Other notable works include 1981’s Knightriders, about a travelling medieval re-enactment troupe that jousts on motorcycles, and 1982’s horror anthology Creepshow written by author Stephen King.
Leading tributes to the director, King tweeted: “Sad to hear my favourite collaborator--and good old friend--George Romero has died. George, there will never be another like you.”
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
Director Eli Roth meanwhile hailed Romero for “confront(ing) racism 50 years ago” with his casting of Jones in Night of the Living Dead while also inventing the genre’s tropes that remain to this day: “The infectious bite. Shoot the head. Everything.”
Just heard the news about George Romero. Hard to quantify how much he inspired me & what he did for cinema. Condolences to his family. ❤️— Eli Roth (@eliroth) July 16, 2017
Romero used genre to confront racism 50 years ago. He always had diverse casts, with Duane Jones as the heroic star of NOTLD.— Eli Roth (@eliroth) July 16, 2017
Very few others in cinema were taking such risks. He was both ahead of his time and exactly what cinema needed at that time.— Eli Roth (@eliroth) July 16, 2017
You can trace a direct line from NOTLD to Get Out. And...Romero created the modern zombie. The infectious bite. Shoot the head. Everything.— Eli Roth (@eliroth) July 16, 2017
“George Romero deserved to get 5% of every zombie movie made after 1968. But he didn’t. And he was always classy about it,” added film critic Scott Weinberg.
Guillermo del Toro, who wrote and directed creepy 2006 fantasy classic Pan’s Labyrinth and produced 2013’s supernatural horror Mama wrote: “Romero has passed away. Hard to find words right now. The loss is so enormous.”
Romero has passed away. Hard to find words right now. The loss is so enormous.— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) July 16, 2017
Much of Romero’s work was shot in or around Pittsburgh, where Romero had attended Carnegie-Mellon University after moving away from his hometown New York where he was born in 1940 to a Cuban father and a Lithuanian-American mother.
He is survived by his wife and daughter, who were by his side when he passed, according to Roe.
Here are some reactions by filmmakers and industry persons
goodbye genius pic.twitter.com/09x2VpgqIX— Scott Derrickson (@scottderrickson) July 16, 2017
I just wrote this on Facebook concerning the passing of George Romero, but I thought I'd share it here as well. 💔 pic.twitter.com/r1qKM6GSka— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) July 16, 2017
Here's to the great George Romero, the man who started it all! A true legend and a huge inspiration. Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/Vl3TP46L0W— Robert Rodriguez (@Rodriguez) July 16, 2017
George Romero was a great director, the father of modern horror movies. He was my friend and I will miss him. Rest in peace, George.— John Carpenter (@TheHorrorMaster) July 16, 2017
Romero started it. pic.twitter.com/i4dnxi8EFV— Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele) July 16, 2017
Goodbye George A Romero. We laughed through 50 years and 9 films. I will miss him. There is a light that has gone out and can't be replaced. pic.twitter.com/N0MAC1ItVM— Tom Savini (@THETomSavini) July 16, 2017
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First Published: Jul 17, 2017 07:39 IST