George A. Romero, the maverick film director who died Sunday, brought zombies into our cultural consciousness decades before those in âThe Walking Deadâ were even crawling. Hereâs a look at five of his most memorable films.
âNight of the Living Deadâ (1968)
Mr. Romeroâs black-and-white zombie shocker was a horror movie game-changer. Set on a Pennsylvania farm under siege by the undead, the low-budget film featured a horror rarity: a heroic black leading man, played by Duane Jones, who tries to calm a house of white folks. (It doesnât go well for him, or anyone, really.) It also kicked off the modern zombie film genre, and did so with social commentary â about race and violence, most notably â in its blood. (Mr. Romero called the racial themes in the film âan accident.â)
The director Jordan Peele cited âNight of the Living Deadâ in interviews about âGet Out,â his megahit horror film this year about black trauma and white monsters. âThe way that movie handles race is so essential to what makes it great,â Mr. Peele said. [Read the review]
âThe Craziesâ (1973)
Mr. Romero turned to bio-horror in this frenzied film about the United States governmentâs attempt to contain the release of a deadly biological weapon, nicknamed Trixie, in a small town. Lesser-known than Mr. Romeroâs other films, âThe Craziesâ emerged alongside…