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Guillermo del Toro: George Romero ‘Created an Entire Subgenre in Cinema’

Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro remembers horror pioneer George Romero: “He created an entire subgenre in cinema.” Albert L. Ortega / Getty

George Romero’s death on Sunday at age 77 inspired tributes from scores of directorial peers and acolytes praising the pioneering horror director. For Guillermo del Toro, who earlier on Sunday called Romero “one of the greatest ever,” the filmmaker’s contribution to cinema transcended the genre he helped conceive.

“George created an entire subgenre in cinema,” del Toro tells Rolling Stone. “He singlehandedly forged the tale of the cannibalistic undead Zombies.

“Before him, the Zombie existed mainly as a vague Afro-Caribbean myth about the powers of Voodoo and such,” he adds. “What George did is give us, in them, a dark mirror in which we can reflect socially; to learn what in them remain us and what it is to be human. George was an iconoclast, an untamed mind and a liberal thinker who used horror to illuminate the darkness around us.”

Romero died following a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer” while listening to the score of the 1952 film The Quiet Man, his producing partner Peter Grunwald told the Los Angeles Times. In addition to Romero’s revered, influential Zombie Trilogy – 1968’s Night of the Living Dead, 1978’s Dawn of the Dead and 1985’s Day of the Dead.

Source: Rolling Stone

George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968) Gallery

George A. Romero 1940 – 2017

Legendary horror movie director George A. Romero, pictured here in 2008, died Sunday. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

It was the night of April 4, 1968, and George A. 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. Romero’s “Living Dead” franchise went on to create a subgenre of horror movie whose influence across the decades has endured, seen in movies like “The Purge” and TV shows like “The Walking Dead.”

Romero died Sunday in his sleep after a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer,” according to a family statement to The Times provided by his longtime producing partner, Peter Grunwald. He was 77.

Romero died while listening to the score of one his favorite films, 1952’s “The Quiet Man,” with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter, Tina Romero, at his side, the family said.

Source: L.A. Times