George A. Romero

Active - 1968 - 2012  |   Born - Feb 4, 1940 in Bronx, New York, NY  |   Genres - Horror, Drama

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American director George A. Romero was making films from the age of 14 -- like most teen movie enthusiasts, with an 8 mm camera. Matriculating into the industrial-film business in Pittsburgh, Romero accrued enough capital to make his first feature-length film in 1968, a graphically gruesome zombie picture entitled Night of the Living Dead. Barely making back its cost on its initial release, the movie received some welcome, if adverse, publicity when Reader's Digest devoted an article to it. The magazine was appalled at the scenes of cannibalism and similar horrors, going so far as to insist that a movement be started to have the picture banned. Naturally, this made the movie more popular than ever, much more so than if Reader's Digest had simply ignored it. And the subsequent profits of Night of the Living Dead enabled Romero to finance several more low-budget scare pictures before he broke into the mainstream with Dawn of the Dead in 1978, a semi-comic sequel to his first film. Day of the Dead (1985), the third of the Dead Trilogy, was more elaborate than his earlier productions, but also more disappointing. Still, Romero could point with pride to such films as Creepshow (1980), Martin (1978), and his weekly TV terror anthology Tales From the Darkside (1984-1986), which belied its tiny budget with excellent writing, first-rate actors (Barnard Hughes, Fritz Weaver, Jerry Stiller, Eddie Bracken, et al.) and bone-chilling makeup effects. Although remaining in the realm of B-movies by choice, Romero has exerted considerable influence on an entire school of higher-budget horror directors, notably John Carpenter, Wes Craven, and especially Brian De Palma. Romero is married to actress and long-time collaborator Christine Forrest.

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