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Dedicated to Romero's Dead Trilogy

This section will be dedicated to the man who started it all - George A Romero. I haven't got time for it at the moment so I've just added his biography to obate your hunger! Keep checking though, you never know what might happen...

This Pittsburgh-based independent filmmaker was a pivotal figure in the development of the contemporary horror film. Beginning with his first feature, "Night of the Living Dead" (1968), Romero not only upped the ante on explicit screen violence and gore but also offered an often satirical critique of American society that reflected the cultural upheavals of the late 1960s and early 70s. Ethnically and sexually integrated, pro-feminist, gay-friendly, anti-macho and skeptical about capitalism, his work represents the progressive wing of a sometimes reactionary genre. In Romero's films, the source of the horror can be found, more often than not, deep in the heart of the bourgeois family.

Inspired by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's "Tales of Hoffmann" (1951), Romero made 8mm shorts, industrial films and commercials before co-writing, editing, shooting and directing his first feature, "Night of the Flesh Eaters". Produced for $114,000 and renamed "Night of the Living Dead" (1968) by its distributor, the film became a landmark cult film and a significant social document. A stark parable of the American family consuming itself, the film's influences encompassed the EC horror comics of the 1950s, the cheapie gore exploitation flicks of Hershell Gordon Lewis, Hitchcock's "The Birds" (1963) and Rod Serling's talky allegorical dramas. Its intense scenes of violence--low-tech but convincing--which still have power to shock. Shot with a handheld camera in grainy high contrast black-and-white, "Night" could be a cinema-verite documentary of a nightmare.

Romero made several more low-budget privately financed features in his beloved Pittsburgh before securing his cult status with two remarkable films: "Martin" (1978) and "Dawn of the Dead" (1979). The former, Romero's favorite, was a lyrical, poignant, and deeply disturbing tale of a shy quiet boy who is convinced that he is a vampire. Produced by his partner, Richard Rubinstein, "Martin" was Romero's first project for their company, Laurel Entertainment. It also began an important collaboration with Tom Savini, a brilliant special makeup effects designer who provided cheap but astonishing gore effects for many of Romero's subsequent features. Their next project, the expansive sequel "Dawn of the Dead", was primarily set in a deserted suburban shopping mall where a hardy band of survivors are beset by zombies, bikers and their own personal demons. A powerful apocolyptic action film leavened with pitch black comedy, "Dawn" critiqued bourgeois culture, consumerism and machismo while spraying the screen with outrageous comic-book carnage. This classic of the horror film became one of the most profitable indies in U.S. film history.

Romero continued to do interesting work for much of the the 80s. A rare respite from things gruesome, "Knightriders" (1981) was a quirky, leisurely paced take on Arthurian legend. Ed Harris functions as King Arthur for a traveling band that stages medieval fairs with "knights" jousting on motorcycles. Clearly a personal film, "Knightriders" can be viewed as an allegory about working as an independent filmmaker. Scripted by Stephen King, "Creepshow" (1982) was a more blunt and commercial work featuring higher production values and a cast of seasoned professionals. This smart and boldly stylized homage to EC horror comics also contained a sly critique of patriarchy. "Day of the Dead" (1985), the ostensible conclusion to the "Living Dead" trilogy, was brutally undermined by last-minute budget cuts but still emerged as Romero's strongest horror film of the decade. Claustrophobic, talky, progressive and amazingly bloody, "Day" was Romero's last film as a director for Laurel Entertainment.

While still a partner at Laurel, Romero also worked in TV as the creator, co-executive producer and occasional writer of "Tales from the Dark Side". The thematic and stylistic concerns of "Creepshow" helped shape the early episodes. Frequent Spike Lee collaborator Ernest Dickerson photographed the first season of this visually striking low-budget syndicated horror/fantasy series.

Romero's first project as a journeyman writer-director was the uneven psychological thriller, "Monkey Shines: An Experiment in Fear" (1988), which was marred by a studio-imposed happy ending. For his next feature, "Two Evil Eyes" (1990), Romero and the celebrated Italian horror filmmaker Dario Argento each wrote and directed a story inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. Released widely in Europe, the film barely opened in the U.S. before being shunted off to the video stores. Romero fared better with the medium budget Stephen King adaptation, "The Dark Half" (1993), garnering enthusiastic reviews and lackluster box office. Hailed as a return to form for the horror master, this well-crafted film featured a strong dual performance by Timothy Hutton. "The Dark Half" numbers among the most thoughtful of the films made from King's works.