Today, the passing of a legendary man has taken place. While he did not work in the video game industry, George A. Romero has deeply affected it by creating the modern zombie. For those who do not know, George A. Romero is a filmmaker that is best known for such films as "Night of the Living Dead" and "Dawn of the Dead." Today, he passed of lung cancer in his sleep at the age of 77.
Romero, considered a pioneer of the horror genre, started out in one of the scariest parts of the filming industry; commercials. After some work with commercials and short films, he and some others decided to start on a little project that would change the horror genre and start a whole sub-genre. That little project would later be known as "Night of the Living Dead."
With only $114,000, Romero not only made a cult classic, he also made one of the best director debut movies of all time and made a new type of enemy that will be seen in countless movies, video games, books, and other forms of entertainment. Despite the idea of the walking dead being around for much longer, "Night of the Living Dead" is what sculpted the modern zombie. What used to be voodoo slaves were now the reliving in search of flesh with an infinite appetite. It was this film that laid down the groundwork for many characteristics of the zombie: only damage to the brain is effective, hordes of thoughtless people that were formerly dead shuffling in search of living meat, being bitten turns you into a zombie, and more. "Night of the Living Dead" got some controversy from its extreme gore and unconventional ending, but those things didn't stop the film from becoming a cult classic and starting a whole new movement of horror. It didn't take long for movies, video games, and other forms of entertainment to catch wind of this crazy zombie thing. "They're coming to get you, Barbara."
"Night of the Living Dead" ended up being many things. It made Romero the zombie king. It showed that horror could happen even in the most boring of places such as farmhouses. It was and still is a major source of inspiration for splatter films and slasher films. And their is so much more that I haven't even said. Romero is a legend when it comes to horror films and his invention of the modern zombie would turn media into the undead even to this day.
Now of course I don't talk about other forms of media on here if it doesn't relate to video games. Despite Romero not making any games and at best making a trailer for a game or making a cameo, Romero has impacted the video game industry greatly. Zombie video games were around ever since the birth of video games, but it too had a pre-Romero. In the beginning, zombies were just enemies that came back alive. They didn't have all the other traits of a zombie. It wasn't until 1996 when a little game known as "Resident Evil" came out that put that mold back into video games(think of it like the Romero of video games.) The rest is history.
But this isn't about video games. This is about Romero and the legacy he leaves behind. Romero has made such a big impact on media that expands beyond just movies and can still be seen today stronger than ever. Romero took what was once voodoo slaves and turned them into a endless horde of thoughtless dead with an appetite for living human flesh. What started as a low-budget film soon turned into a cult classic film that has impact to this day with zombie games, movies, shows, and others coming out by the dozens each year. I thought about making a joke about Romero coming back from the dead, but I have too much respect for him to do that. May his legacy and name live on and may his family find peace.
Here is a cool video from Ahoy that talks about the history of zombies in culture(primarily through video games.)
Also, the entirety of "Night of the Living Dead" is on Youtube, so definitely go there and watch the film(I didn't put the video here because I wasn't sure if this would be flagged for the nudity in the movie.)