One of the godfathers of horror cinema and one of Pittsburgh's favorite sons has left this earthly realm. George Romero, the man who—for all intents and purposes—created the zombie movie, has passed away at the age of 77. What follows is a statement released by Romero's manager Chris Roe...
“Legendary filmmaker George A. Romero passed away on Sunday July 16, listening to the score of ‘The Quiet Man,’ one of his all-time favorite films, with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter, Tina Romero at his side. He died peacefully in his sleep, following a brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer, and leaves behind a loving family, many friends, and a filmmaking legacy that has endured, and will continue to endure, the test of time.”
Romero made his feature film debut with 1968's Night of the Living Dead, shot in his hometown of Pittsburgh on a modest budget just above $100,000. It would go on to gross over $30 million and became the blueprint for the zombie movie that has since become so prevalent in pop culture. His 1978 follow-up Dawn of the Dead really went for the jugular, as Romero crafted a zombie film that was an allegory for consumerist culture, while also pushing the boundaries of on-screen gore that earned the film an X-rating in its initial release. He completed the trilogy with 1985's Day of the Dead, a commercial disappointment upon its initial release, but a film that has since been reevaluated and stands among the great third entries in genre trilogies.
He would go on to make three more "of the Dead" zombie movies, but the walking dead weren't his only playthings. Among the other films he made were two Stephen King adaptations—Creepshow and The Dark Half—the underrated vampire classic Martin, the motorcycle jousting flick Knightriders, and even a romantic dramedy titled There's Always Vanilla.
There will never be another filmmaker like George A. Romero, and his impact on film cannot be understated. He will be missed not just by the horror hounds and genre-philes, but by anyone who could appreciate a solid social commentary doused in copious amounts of blood and guts.