There are few directors who have had a bigger impact on my life than George A. Romero. When I was growing up I cut my teeth on horror films and Romero’s films were part of my steady diet. Whether he was playing at political satire and distrust in the government in The Crazies or challenging racial tensions in Night of the Living Dead, Romero was constantly pushing boundaries. His collaborations with practical effects wizard Tom Savini are the stuff of legends and the movies they made together still hold up to this day. I’d like to also mention that he’s one of the few directors to actually get it right when portraying the works of Stephen King on film (Creepshow is still a favorite of mine to this day).
Romero made a living on grass roots promotion and made a name for himself in the face of an industry that wanted no part of his films. He was made no compromises about who he was or what he wanted to do and that’s about as big of a compliment as I can pay the man. I know everyone is going to have their favorite film but for me it will always be his look at pop culture consumerism in Dawn of the Dead. As malls die and become empty shells, the kids of today won’t understand how big of a role they played in our culture. Thankfully his mall survival masterpiece will forever seal that era like a time capsule…it’s also one of my favorite horror films ever. It’s a sad day. Sad day indeed.