The father of the modern movie zombie and the inspiration for generations of horror filmmakers died of lung cancer Sunday, his family said. - From latimes.com
Romero was driving to New York City from Pittsburgh on a mission: In the days to come he was to meet with film studios in hopes that one might buy the horror film he was lugging in his trunk, “Night of the Flesh Eaters.” None of the studios was interested, but Romero still managed to get his $114,000 film in front of audiences that year.
And though critics panned the picture, retitled “Night of the Living Dead,” moviegoers were mesmerized — packing theaters, hitting the drive-ins in droves and making Romero the father of the modern movie zombie.
So now all of a sudden the power of the film was ratcheted up that much more.” “He took the image of the zombie, which up to that point was rooted in the Caribbean and part of a black Caribbean culture, and turned it into a metaphor for all sorts of things in American culture,” said Leo Braudy, a USC professor who last year published “Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies, and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural Worlds.” Up to this point, Braudy said, horror movies focused on individuals like Frankenstein’s monster, Dr.
Romero solidified his reputation as a master of the genre with the sequel “Dawn of the Dead,” which premiered in the U.S.
In the years immediately after “Night of the Living Dead,” he made films that were less popular, including 1971’s “There’s Always Vanilla,” 1973’s “The Crazies” and 1978’s “Martin.” Between other “Dead” films he directed the 1981 film “Knightriders,” starring Ed Harris; the 1988 movie “Monkey Shines,” his first studio-produced film, which introduced him to Grunwald; and “Two Evil Eyes,” a 1990 horror film he made with Italian filmmaker Dario Argento inspired by Edgar Allan Poe short stories.