It’s George Romeros’ birthday today, so what better time to acknowledge the influence he’s had on modern horror?
According to award-winning writer-director Quentin Tarantino, Romero is single-handedly responsible for all the action, gore, and intensity that make modern genre films great. Max
Brooks, bestselling author of Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z, says that when it comes to the modern zombie it’s Romero’s world, and we’re all just living in it. And John Carpenter, director of such horror classics as Halloween (1978) and The Thing (1982), simply states that Romero profoundly influenced an entire culture.
Legendary author Stephen King was a junior in college when Romero’s classic film Night of the Living Dead premiered in 1986, and he has said that it turned him to jelly. Director of The Evil Dead and Spider-Man franchises Sam Raimi says it was the first film to have a profound impact on him:
“I was probably about ten years old and my sister snuck me into the theater under her coat, if you can believe that. It was a crime that she committed against me, watching that film. I was too young. And it blew my mind, the terror. I could not believe it. I was so terrified watching that film.”
In his late twenties, Wes Craven had never seen a horror movie before and had no interest in the genre. A friend dragged him to Romero’s Night, and it shook him to the core:
“I was hooked, and it was George’s fault.” Craven would later go on to direct dozens of iconic modern horror films, including The Hills Have Eyes, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and the wildly popular Scream franchise, to name a few.
If you think you’re a zombie fan and you don’t know the importance of George A. Romero, or haven’t seen Night of the Living Dead, then you’re dead wrong.
Happy Birthday, George!