Romero never set out to become a Hollywood figure, yet, he has become one of the most defining, successful and imitated director/writer in recent times.¬†Below are a collection of my comments on George A. Romero’s zombie films, the Godfather of the undead.¬†Sit back and I hope you enjoy.
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (1968)

George A. Romero has readily admitted that Herk Harvey’s Carnival of Souls influenced in his making of Night Of The Living Dead (NOTLD). For me, they’re both low budget, both filmed in black and white and both are chilling creepy in places.
Both went onto be get ‘lost’ but unlike Carnival of Souls, NOLD was haled by critics abroad, who saw it not just as another horror movie, but a film that reflects society. Romero has gone on to define a genre, a feat that very few have accomplished. Many films have been influenced and have imitated George’s creation but few successfully.
A group of people hide from bloodthirsty zombies in a farmhouse…
NOLD is seeped in history and has become as intriguing as the chiller its self. There’s really not too much to comment on that hasn’t already been said before. The dead are played mindlessly well. Duane Jones is a fantastic lead actor and stands out, an actor ahead of his time but the others are less convincing. The stock music is bold, and the sound is an adequate mix but all these things with their faults add to the charm of this little horror classic.
It’s dark, gloomy and entertaining but more importantly it was a turning point in horror history.

DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978)

A pandemic has caused the reanimation of the dead and four survivors of the outbreak hide inside a suburban shopping mall and attempt to keep out the dead.Dawn of the dead, there’s loads of reviews on the net. I’ll start with the bad, make-up consistency, poorly edited, poor sound, intrusive score music and a pie fight. Sounds horrid eh? Like a bad B-movie? Well Dawn of the Dead through all it’s faults is still a classic sub-genre film. I wont go into all the under tones, subtext of consumerism, mass hysteria, social commentary and satire yada, yada.

This is possibly George A. Romero’s most balanced and satisfying of all his zombie films. What it boils down to is film has dated. Even so, the script is very well written and the film oozes atmosphere, the emptiness, notably the basement, and airfield scenes.
Tom Savini provides some fantastic gore effects, many of which stand up effectively today. While it’s gory, bloody, violent and disturbing, I would think today’s film viewer has hardened up to it, but this is not fault of the film, it is an amazing product of it’s time.
Many horror buffs think it’s overrated, but it’s more that just a straight horror, the character interaction, even down to the priest speech is understated. Should they have had a bigger budget and more time, maybe the faults I mentioned wouldn’t have been made. However, made they were and Dawn of the Dead is still the finest zombie film to date, a must see.
DAY OF THE DEAD (1985)

A small group of military officers and scientists reach breaking point in the confines of a bunker as the world above is overrun by zombies.The first two scenes set precedence that the rest of the film can’t equal. The jumpy dream sequence is followed by and eerie deserted city during the day that soon comes to ‘life’ with the walking dead. The city scene creates tension, the howling wind and echoing voices.

Lori Cardille acting is excellent as Sarah, as too is Terry Alexander, as realist pilot, John. Jarlath Conroy is the alcoholic radioman William McDermott, however, after this strong introduction and the movie looses it lustre and wider audience as it goes into the underground bunker.

From here on in, we’re treated with a great performance from Sherman Howard as the ‘thinking’ zombie Bub and a fantastic monologue from Alexander, this is where the film finds it feet. There are fantastic special effects by Tom Savini, who fine-tunes what he did in Dawn’ and adds some more gore into the mix. Over the years the score by John Harrison has really grown on me and given the film a memorable lost hope feel.

There are other fine moments in Romero’s script, Miguel Salazar’s break down, Sarah’s struggle and some memorable on liners mostly from Richard Liberty’s Logan and Joseph Pilato’s Rhodes. However, what lets this film down slightly is some uneven acting. That said, John Amplas underrated and overlooked subtle performance as Dr.Fisher is a hidden gem and Johns monologue at the ‘Ritz’ is Oscar worthy.

Day of the dead is a tight zombie film, and debatably a classic but even if you disagree it’s worthy enough to enjoy time and time again.

LAND OF THE DEAD (2005)


The living dead have taken over the world, and the last humans live in a walled city as they come to grips with the situation but how long will it be a safe haven.

Panned by fans and critics, I feel Romero’s grander scale zombie instalment has got a rough ride. It’s true it lacked that roughness of the previous zombie outbreaks, I’m talking about zombie grit but truth be known it was only really Dawn that had this (as it was a 70’s product film of it’s time). That said, Diary’s shaky cam didn’t do the job either.

What Land’ does have is an ominous tone, story and great performances notably from Simon Baker, John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper, who delivers some great one liners. The music score is fitting. In honesty aside from some CGI blood there’s nothing really wrong with George A. Romero’s movie. Although some of the themes, like ‘putting out the trash’ could have been explored there’s some visual striking set pieces, great zombie ideas and more.

Either way George can’t win, every time he panders to ‘fans’ whims he shoots himself in the foot. Let the guy just make his movies, watch Land’, it’s dead good.

DIARY OF THE DEAD (2007)

As the dead rise a group of people during their plight for survival decide to record the epidemic incident.Actress Michelle Morgan, an Eliza-Dushku-a-like thankfully holds this film together. It was said to be a George A. Romero goes back to basics after the studio look of Land of the Dead. However, the filming while commendable is unnecessarily complicated as the story is told through the lens of a cameras (but that’s been done to death).

My gut feeling is that if this film were to have been filmed in the ‘traditional’ manner with some tweaks on the dialogue, it may well have been more satisfying as the characters journey is quiet interesting. The effects are also executed sleekly and the acting, bar a few dodgy moments, is above average for this type of horror.
It tries to be to clever for it’s own good, all in all watchable zombie film but lacks Romero’s secret magic formula.

Survival of the Dead (2009)
On an island local residents and a group of soldiers simultaneously fight a zombie epidemic while some hope for a cure to return their un-dead relatives back to their human state.Zombie heads on sticks, underwater zombies, zombie children, soldiers, horse back zombie, Irish accents, yeap, is it’s Romero’s latest dead flick. In George A. Romero’s 2009 zombie instalment there is anisland off the coast of North America where local residents try tocontrol and fight a zombie epidemic.

The ferry scene covers a lot of exposition ground and there’s a flash back to diary. One jumpy scene stands out but the whole story feels like a forced rehash of ‘For A Few Dollar More’ or ‘Last man Standing’with a few zombies thrown in. Every living character is borderline stereotype, there’s no one to root for, the dead are not menacing and just set up to be killed (on occasion with poorly executed CGI).
The acting is a lot better than in Day, the script is not bad, however,there’s a little too much humour in it for my liking but there are plenty of rotten zombies. The female characters are underdeveloped¬†written but the actresses do their best. Athena Karkanis rightly grabs some attention. Adam Swica’s cinematography deserves a mention great Autumn-like backdrops and moonlit sky’s. Romero’s direction is fine as too is the editing, with plenty of cuts and gone is the shaky point of view ofDiary.
It’s a shame that George hasn’t found that balanced zombie diet of Dawn’s eerie, foreboding and empty feel…

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