George A. Romero is the godfather of the dead and this is not an opinion. It’s a fact – he’s done more for an entire horror subgenre than any other visionary in a long and storied career. It all started when he got tired of doing commercials and decided to go into movies with his friends.
With a budget of $114,000, they went on to make a film that would change the landscape of not just horror, but the wider silver screen world as a whole. His first try night of the living dead, is one of the most culturally significant films of the 20th century, inspiring generation after generation of horror filmmakers. There’s a reason you always see indie horror movie characters watching No.
Romero spent the next decade making movies that weren’t as warmly received as Night, but still excellent on their own, including Crazypeople and Martin, which have become cult over time. Knowing there was an audience begging for his return to the zombie genre, Romero posted dawn of the dead in 1978. Possessing one of the most instantly recognizable locations in movie history (say “mall” and most people will know what movie you’re referring to), Dawn was a smash hit, achieving huge profits on a budget of $1,500,000.
Not one to play it safe and release something for fun, Romero once again let the undead sleep until 1985. The day of the Dead, taking the apocalypse underground with him. Although not a critical or commercial success at the time due to its slower pace and relative lack of hype, Day has become a cult classic in recent years, thanks to its pioneering zombie makeup and character-driven storyline. It was redone unsuccessfully in 2008 and is due for another redo in 2017.
The creative period that followed for Romero was mixed. He remained active, releasing many different hit films, including a sequel to his immensely popular horror show. Fans thought his’deaths‘ the series was done and dusted until Romero made a surprise comeback after twenty years with land of the dead. Boasting the biggest budget of any of his zombie films to date, Earth recouped more than double its estimated $20 million budget and cemented Romero’s legacy.
Rather than wait another decade to follow his successful comeback, Romero instead got back to work and released two Dead series movies in quick fashion. Diary of the dead featured the popular found footage techniques that were all the rage in 2008, but it couldn’t captivate half the audience of its peers, earning just $5 million on a $2 million budget. Undeterred, Romero then led Survival of the dead in 2009 – it did even worse, earning less than half a million dollars on a $4 million budget, becoming the series’ least successful film.
At 76, it looks like Romero might be done with movies, having not been behind the camera since 2009. However, George A. Romero’s zombie films will inspire creators and terrify viewers for decades to come. , which is why we decided to take a look at them from worst to best.
6. Survival of the Dead
Probably the film that prevents Romero from dusting off his clapperboard one last time, Survival of the dead should be considered a disaster. After going independent and deciding not to rely on major studio backing, Romero had full creative control without the firepower to realize his vision, leading to the critical and commercial bombshell of Survival.
Set on a Delaware island largely safe from the undead, Survival never threatens to show the kind of finesse or originality for which the director had become famous, deciding instead to play too much with the very mythos that Romero himself had helped to establish and develop. Teaching zombies to use tools is one thing, but riding them and eating other kinds of meat than human was too much.
Pit two rival families against each other, Survival could have been an intense and dramatic affair, but there was just something seriously missing throughout. The direction was inconsistent and the zombie action uninspired, even the themes often masterfully handled by Romero being muddled and uninspiring. None of the characters, especially the deeply unsympathetic protagonist, have anything interesting to say or do, leading to a film that unfolds like the monsters that are central to Romero’s filmography.
Survival of the dead is a movie that won’t be remembered as well as its predecessors in the series and, in all honesty, it doesn’t deserve to be.
5. Journal of the Dead
This is where things get a little confusing in Romero’s undead canon. Diary of the dead serves as a reboot of its zombie universe, set during the same time period as the 1968s night of the living deaddespite the cast using and abusing modern technology.
Noticing the found horror movie trend, Romero decided to put his stamp on the style and, overall, succeeded. Featuring a group of film students during a zombie outbreak, Diary is the most humorous of all of Romero’s zombie films, making it clear that the master was having fun. The cast is also quite capable, although the majority of them are unknowns, with the strong female lead, a staple ingredient of Romero’s work, being particularly likable.
DiaryThe themes of are some of the most overt in Romero’s filmography as they include racism and our reliance on technology quite heavily. Considering how hot these two topics are now wherever you watch, the fifth film in the Dead the series could also have arrived five years too early. Who knows how effectively Romero might have lamented Snapchat and the racism debate currently tearing America apart.
Diary of the dead has its moments, but none that rival the classic scenes from previous films in the series. Well, apart from this spectacular scene involving a deaf Amish and dynamite.
4. Land of the Dead
The movie that dusted off Romero’s cinematic cobwebs and showed there’s still a lot to be said for the zombie genre, land of the dead is an adventure, aided in large part by the continuation of the “zombie evolution” displayed in the 1985s The day of the Dead.
Its zombie lead, Big Daddy, steals the show throughout, though Land boasts some of the biggest names in all of the Dead movies. John Leguizamo, Simon Baker, Asia Argento, and even the legendary Dennis Hopper haven’t lit up the screen as much as the smartest member of the undead army. The emergence of him and his zombie peers underwater is one of the most unsettling scenes in any horror movie.
If there were any concerns that Romero’s absence dulled his searing social commentary, land of the dead quickly put them to bed. Showcasing a post-apocalyptic world where the wealthy still rule, Land’s themes are still prominent a decade later, if not longer. The rich get richer while the poor get poorer, which makes the film’s climax all the more satisfying – Romero’s take on the class system is unmistakable.
Featuring one of the most diverse and intriguing casts of characters you’ll find in any horror movie and more innovative ways to slay the undead than you’d expect from someone who’s been there and has done so for three decades, Land’s success owes as much to the zombie. the revival began with the remake of one of Romero’s own films, much like the master’s steady hand behind the camera.
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