George A. Romero – The Best Movies
The horror genre recently lost one of its true visionaries, filmmaker George A. Romero. Romero began his career with a black-and-white flick made on a minuscule budget pop culture forever. Throughout the decades which followed, this acclaimed director put his mark on filmdom with; ghouls, monsters, social commentary, and of course zombies. Now I think it is appropriate to look at some of the best films of George Romero.
Night of the Living Dead: George A. Romero’s first feature length picture which stands as one of the most influential pictures ever made. While controversial on its release it later grew to be revered by moviegoers and currently enjoys a spot on the National Registry of Films to be preserved for all time. Night of the Living Dead transformed the cultural idea of the zombie from a Haitian corpse bound to serve its master to the mindless wandering hordes we now know them to be. But transforming the way we think of the undead was not the only thing to come from this flick. Romero used his independent horror movie to make statements about society’s ills and about race relations during that era. An absolute masterpiece of the genre which horrifies audiences just as much as it makes them think.
Dawn of the Dead: George Romero may have changed the game with Night of the Living Dead, but he perfected it with Dawn of the Dead. There is no more room in Hell and the dead roam the earth forcing the living to run and hide. A band of humans seeking refuge during this zombie apocalypse in a shopping mall and naturally take full advantage of the resources and recreation available. Greater in scope that its predecessor, Dawn of the Dead ramps up the zombie action and violence in ways never seen in a film before. Tackling commercialism and consumerism head-on while still making a fun zombie movie must have been no easy feat for Romero. Hailed as one of the greatest films of the horror genre by fans and mainstream critics alike, this is largely seen as Romero’s finest picture.
Creepshow: The era known as the Golden Age of Comics was responsible for some of the greatest and most imaginative horror comics ever published. Collaborating with fellow horror legend Stephen King; his frequent partner-in-crime Tom Savini; and an all-star cast; Romero made an anthology flick which paid tribute to these comics. This colorful camp has become a cult classic among horror fans who share Romero’s affinity for the classic EC Comics books. A perfect blend of macabre imagery and tongue-in-cheek stories proves the depth of Romero’s talent as a filmmaker.
Martin: Romero may have been best known for his zombie movies, but he was also responsible for one of the best vampire flicks ever made. The underrated favorite Martin served as the first collaboration between Romero and make-up artist Tom Savini. Together these two geniuses flip vampire-lore on its head, with Martin, a vampire who is just a regular undead guy with no aversion to; crosses, garlic, anything else of the sort. But there is a constant hunger he fights constantly under threat of a stake through the heart via his uncle. As expected from a Romero film, Martin boasts a fun mix of social commentary, gore, and entertainment.
Monkey Shines: Scientists have (probably) proven that monkeys make all forms of entertainment better. This even counts for a movie with an evil psychic monkey who is not above leaving a trail of bodies. As with the rest of his contemporaries in the independent horror scene of that era, Romero eventually took his talents to a studio and Monkey Shines was his first major studio release. Allan is an athlete who becomes a paraplegic do to an accident. Luckily his friend is able to get Ella for him, a cute helper monkey to give him assistance and companionship. The human and the ape become close and form a telepathic bond. This becomes a problem as people get closer to Allan and even offer to help him walk again which angers Ella. The ape preys on those who would get between her and Allan. In the hands of a lesser filmmaker Monkey Shines would be dismissed but under the guidance of George Romero, Monkey Shines has become a cult classic.
The Crazies: Evans City, Pennsylvania may seem like an ordinary town, but that changes when a biological weapon from the military goes off. The people of the town go into violent rages due to the accident forcing a firefighter and his compatriots to try and survive. Not only does this trio have to deal with the Crazies but also with the US government which has orders to shoot on sight as they try to contain the problem. In dealing with this town gone mad, the military issues the orders to utilize nuclear weapons to cover up their own mistake. The chilling climax of the Crazies is one that will stick in viewer’s minds long after the movie ends. While it was ignored when it was originally released the Crazies has become a fan-favorite for horror lovers.