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I know there are quite a few horror fans on here and even more zombie fans.
If you haven’t heard already but legendary film maker George A. Romero died today.
It’s amazing to think how much of an effect Night Of The Living Dead had and that the shock wave it created is still, very much, being felt today. Especially in gaming.
Before Night Of The Living Dead in 1968 zombies were fairly innocuous figures. Usually brought back to life through by very un-PC voodoo priests to do their bidding (usually capturing a girl). Night Of The Living Dead’s ghouls (they are never actually called Zombies in the film) made the walking dead in to terrifying flesh-eating visages of our loved ones. It’s the way zombies have been portrayed since, in uncountable amounts of knocks offs and unofficial sequels (normal Italian or Spanish) .
Dawn Of The Dead is the real mater-stroke though. The zombies in Dawn went from being visages of our loved ones to visages of ourselves. They were soulless, shambling, brain-dead husks mindlessly shuffling around a shopping mall in middle America. Dawn injected humour and satire into the genre and is a pitch perfect, timeless genre masterpiece.
Day Of The Dead is a gem also. A commercial flop at the time but a bonafide cult classic now. A nightmarish vision of a post-apocalyptic future. Grim and dark but still with a huge slice of satire. On the surface it could be seen as a mean spirited gore-a-thon but delve deeper into it and its is one of the richest and denset zombie movies ever made.
The effect these films had on gaming is astonishing as well. Look at the amount of games out there that are effectively the plots to one of his three original Dead films. Board Games, Wargames, Miniatures Games and RPGs. Any genre ou can think of there is a game that is inspired by – or totally ripped off from – a George Romero film.
When I was young Zombies were a thing for weirdo horror nerds like myself. I had to hunt out copies of Romero films (along with Lucio Fulchi, Sam Raimi and Umberto Lenzi film of course) In the depths of sleazy video rental shops. Now you can by The Walking Dead merch in Primark. It shows how before his time Romero was.
Of course his non-zombie work is phenomenal as well. Notable mentions for Creepshow, Martin and The Crazies but he will always be remembered by us gamers for the man who’s films inspired a million of our games!
What is your favourite Romero/Zombie flavoured game or movie? Lets get us horror, gore and Zombie fans together on here and remember the man that changed it all!
Dont mention the Z word!
Sad news indeed.
I think the strength of the zombie trilogy (or Hexalogy if you want to include Land.. Diary.. & Survival..) was the way that they were such different films. They changed perspective each time – as you say, from the (communist) monsters at the door, to cultural commentary on american capitalism, and then onto the end of day scenario.
Day.. was always my favourite – as it was the first time I had seen the monster of a piece being used as a character with personality. And where a genuine attempt was made to get the audience to empathise with the traditionally mindless creature.
I rewatched Shaun of the Dead a couple of nights ago. It’s pretty much a perfect film in my eyes – but would be nothing without the bedrock of modern horror laid down by Romero and his peers.
Dawn of the Dead is undoubtedly the best of his zombie work, and is possibly still the best example of the genre by anyone. It might be his best film, though it’s rivalled by Martin for that title.
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