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George A Romero: Has Been or Genius?

By Edited Nov 16, 2013 0 0

George A. Romero, father of the zombie genre, has had an interesting career to say the least. Despite being one of the most innovative directors of the past 50 years, he's stayed independent for the most part. That's both a good and bad thing. The good; he keeps more of his money and has refused to sell his soul for a buck. The bad; he will never be very well known outside of his niche market.

In 1968, Romero revolutionized the horror genre and virtually created the zombie genre. His first film, "Night of the Living Dead", was brilliantly made despite being made on such a tiny budget. From there he went on to make a few small films, nothing noteworthy, until 1973 when he released "The Crazies". "The Crazies" which was recently remade, was a fantastic film for Romero. It alluded on many social themes which soon became a backdrop for his later films.

Finally "Dawn of the Dead" was released in 1978. Exactly 10 years after his first masterpiece, his second was made. Sadly, this seemed to be the peak for Romero as every film released after this was not as spectacular and seemed to lack something. That's not to say that he didn't still release great films, just that no other film was able to match or surpass this one. His next two films, "Knightriders" and "Day of the Dead", were both very good movies. "Knightriders" was a creative film and a change of pace for him while "Day of the Dead" was just Romero milking his niche genre. Romero was still a very good director at this point.

Around 1990, Romero began to slip as a director. In 1990, he release "Two Evil Eyes" which was a decent horror film at best. He also had the first remake of any of his movies, "Night of the Living Dead", which was also his first film. "Night of the Living Dead", was a success in the sense that it was better than the original, but he was still trapped within his niche genre and this film did nothing to add to the genre. He released one more film during the decade, "The Dark Half", which was okay, but nothing great. The 2000's marked the beginning of the end for Romero.

In 2000, Romero released "Bruiser" which was a nice break from the typical "slasher" film that dominated the 90's, but still had a lot of wasted potential. From there he went on to remake "Dawn of the Dead", which was a nice remake that made his pockets a bit fatter, but the film never deviated much from the original. Then he made "Land of the Dead" which was a good film, but again he seemed to be trapped within his niche; he used the same tactics from each of his zombie movies except he added more of a social overcast in this one. To finish off the decade, he released two original zombie films that I can't comment much on. I've seen both of them twice and to me, they seemed quite shitty when compared to his legacy. I mean this is George Romero, they would be fine for any other no name director, but Romero basically invented the genre. In 2010, he released a remake of "The Crazies" which did quite well at the box office and was a good film despite being a remake, in some aspects it was better than the original.

No one know what will happen within the next decade with Romero. I think he'll either retire, release more remakes, or actually create some good original films. I'm pretty sure it will be the second option, but I have my fingers crossed for the latter. Whatever that happens, George A. Romero still remains as one of the best directors in the past 50 years in my opinion.



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