Legendary horror film director George A. Romero has died. The man behind the classic Night of the Living Dead and the creator of the modern zombie genre was 77 years old. As reported by the LA Times, Romero died on Sunday, July 16, in his sleep, following a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer.”
Romero influenced an entire generation of horror filmmakers with the release of his 1968 zombie movie Night of the Living Dead. The low-budget black-and-white shocker was radically different in tone and style to most other horror films of the era, and its mix of scares, dark humour, social commentary, and explicit violence helped usher in a new wave of American horror in the following decade.
In 1978 Romero directed the hugely successful Dawn of the Dead, which is now widely considered to be one of the greatest horror films ever made. His other zombie movies include Day of the Dead (1985), Land of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2007), and Survival of the Dead (2009).
Romero’s influence can be felt across the many zombie movies and TV shows that were inspired by his work, including The Walking Dead. Many of the ‘rules’ of the zombie genre, such as destroying the brain of a zombie in order to stop it, originated from Romero’s films. Edgar Wright heavily referenced his movies in his horror comedy Shaun of the Dead, while Batman v Superman director Zack Snyder made his directing debut in 2004 with a remake of Dawn of the Dead.
In addition to the Dead series, Romero made a number of other movies beloved by horror fans, such as The Crazies (1973), Martin (1978), and the Stephen King collaboration Creepshow (1982).