Written by Patti Pauley
Readers, I have to confess I stared at my screen for a long time before typing anything out. What could I possibly say about someone as iconic to the genre as George Romero that would do the man justice? After I thought long and hard about it, the answer is simply nothing. To call the man a legend in the genre is almost an understatement in its entirety given all that he has given us fans over his fifty years in the business. I’m just a tiny speck in this ever growing community, and to try and put in perspective Romero’s legacy and importance that will forever continue with us in the world of horror could take up to a 2000 page novel in the hopes to give him proper justice.
Image credit: AMC
RIP George A. Romero
Born: February 4, 1940, The Bronx, New York City, NY
Died: July 16, 2017, Toronto, Canada
So to pay the wholehearted respect I have for the father of the Zombie Genre, I’m releasing this Retro Rewind a day early for the anniversary of Day of the Dead and in the wake of the heartbreaking passing of a true pioneer in the world of horror. Romero’s Day of the Dead is personally and most likely an unpopular opinion, my favorite of his zombie movies and just like 1968’s Night of the Living Dead and ’78’s Dawn, was far ahead of its time. Although Day is considered the least successful out of the three mentioned, it doesn’t make it any less beloved and a staple that should be had in every horror fan’s collection. It also has been reported that Day is Romero’s favorite of the original trilogy, regardless of studios cockblocking him into making Day into something much larger as was intended.
Word has it that Romero’s Day of the Dead original script was to be an apocalyptic spectacle of glory on an H.G. Wells level complete with a multitude of zombie battles resulting from the training from a group of scientists looking to manipulate an undead army of their own. Romero had described it as the “Gone With the Wind of zombie movies”, but studios denied him of his budget when Romero insisted on filming the type of gore film that would present an unrated release and threatened to slash the funds in half. So, Mr. Romero was given the option of filming his vision with a very small budget and little to no gore or opt for a rewrite with the amount of violence he envisioned in Day of the Dead. As history goes, he chose the latter.
Anywho, regardless of scratched scripts and again, the least popular of the original Dead trilogy according to fan polls, Day of the Dead seems to be the one that bears the most political subtext with Romero screaming a big fat “FUCK YOU” to the government. The powers of the military undermine both science and decent morality in an effort to sustain command over what’s left of society. Day of the Dead not only focuses on the aftermath of a true zombie apocalypse but the clash of ideologies between, well, let’s use the terms progressives and conservatives in a world gone to hell. And frankly, nothing is more terrifying than a small world of humans divided. Add in some zombies and you have a complete shit show ladies and gents.
In celebration of the life of Romero and the 32nd anniversary of Day of the Dead, I’ve dug up some really cool retro videos provided to the internets and uploaded by YouTuber Goremeister100. The YouTuber’s channel includes 20 super rad videos of Romero, Savani, Nicotero, and company behind the scenes making the magic happen and it surely is blissful to watch, so kudos to this righteous dude for providing the public with this fantastic treat for Dead fans. I’ve included a few of the videos here, however to get the full experience, head on over to Goremeister100’s channel in the link above.