didn't even have a feature film to his credit when he
teamed up with an ad agency in 1967 to produce a horror film.
The struggling Pittsburgh filmmaker was in his late 20s when he came up
with the idea for "Night of the Living Dead,"
a film inspired both by
Tales From the Crypt comic books and the long-forgotten, 1950s zombie
film "Invisible Invaders" (which bears remarkable similarities to
The film would
be made with almost no budget and a cast of amateur
actors, but would change both horror movies and the film industry itself for
For the first
time a filmmaker could have a major commercial and
cultural impact with a low-budget, independently produced B movie.
Romero followed up the worldwide commercial and critical success of
"Night" with a similar film, "The Crazies,"
where he displayed a taut
directing and editing style that would be seen throughout many of his
later films. A film about a disease that turns people into psychopaths,
"The Crazies" would be heavily imitated later by another legendary
horror filmmaker, David Cronenberg, in his film "Rabid."
Romero's one vampire picture "Martin" was the first to
creative touch with that of make-up artist Tom Savini, who designed the
incredibly realistic and bloody effects for the film.
Romero would return to worldwide commercial success with "Dawn
Dead," the official sequel to "Night of the Living Dead." At the time
was released in the late 1970s, "Dawn" was by far the goriest film ever
made. It was one of the first splatter films ever released without a
rating. Like most of the films in his repertoire, it was filmed in
Romero never made a better movie than "Night of the Living Dead," but he
came close with his first and only collaboration with the horror writer
Stephen King. The early 1980s horror hit "Creepshow"
inspired by the "Tales From the Crypt" comics that Romero had read as a
child. Penned by King, it featured a better storyline than all of Romero's
other films, with the exception of "Night."
The lack of the Stephen King touch became painfully noticeable in 1985's
"Day of the Dead," the disappointing sequel to
"Dawn." It bombed at the
"Day," Romero went mainstream, directing the accessible thriller
"Monkey Shines," one episode of "Two Evil Eyes" (with Dario Argento)
a slick, Hollywood adaptation of King's novel "The Dark Half."
At the time of this writing, he had completed "Bruiser."