George A. Romero, director of Night of the Living Dead, has passed away at the age of 77. The iconic horror director died in his sleep following a battle with an aggressive lung cancer while listening to the score of 1952's The Quiet Man, which was one of his favorite movies. As news of his death spreads, the horror world has taken to social media to pay their respects and pay tribute to the "Godfather of the Dead."
George A. Romero made 1968's Night of the Living Dead in Pittsburgh on a budget of $114,000. The movie became a cult sensation, earning $30 million. Romero's friends and associates along with this Image Ten production company threw their money together to make the project a reality. Romero was heavily influenced by Richard Matheson's book I Am Legend and made his black and white movie about a group of people trapped in a Pennsylvania farmhouse who were then attacked by the undead. The director later said that the movie was a critique on capitalism. It eventually gained critical success and has since been selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry, deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically pleasing."
After straying from the zombie movies throughout the 70s, Romero returned to the zombie genre in 1978 with Dawn of the Dead. Romero wrote the movie with Italian filmmaker Dario Argento and was also filmed in Pittsburgh over the course of 4 months. The movie became the blueprint for anything zombie related that you see today and spawned 4 sequels as well as a re-imagining in 2004 by Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, who wrote the script, with Zack Snyder directing. George A. Romero's influence cannot be understated, the man was a true trailblazer. The horror world has been paying tribute to the genre legend since the news was announced. Stephen King says this on Twitter.
"Sad to hear my favorite collaborator, and good old friend, George A. Romero has died. George, there will never be another you."
Eli Roth also took to Twitter to pay his respects. He says, "Just heard the news about George Romero. Heard to quantify how much he inspired me and what he did for cinema. Condolences to his family." Barbara Crampton shared: "RIP George Romero. Your groundbreaking contributions to the genre are unparalled. We will miss you and are made better for your brilliance." Don Mancini says, "RIP George Romero. You live on through your works and in the hearts of us fans."
Mike Flanagan (Hush, Quija) took to twitter to say that, "It is impossible to overstate George A. Romero's impact on the genre. We've lost a legend. May he rest in peace." Voiceover actor D.C. Douglas paid his respects by saying, "RIP George A. Romero...Everyone involved in the world of Zombies today owe you much gratitude... Here's hoping you stay dead." Larry Karaszewski (Ed Wood, Man on the Moon) said, "George A. Romero was the first filmmaker I ever met. I was a film student at USC and he kindly invited me to the sound mix for Creepshow. RIP" Many more in the horror community have paid their respects and you can read them below. RIP to the "Godfather of the Dead."