John Carpenter Remembers the ‘Profound Impact’ of George Romero

George Romero Obit Appreciation

Director John Carpenter remembers filmmaker George A. Romero, who died July 15, as a very gentle person who happened to change film history.

“I first saw ‘Night of the Living Dead’ when it came out in 1968,” Carpenter said. “It gave hope to those of us in film school that it was possible to make a low-budget movie and get it on the big screen.”

The seminal zombie film was “the beginning of modern horror,” Carpenter said. “It was a little influenced by Vietnam, and it had a black hero. That was totally new; it just wasn’t done then. Now it doesn’t seem so shocking.”

The level of explicit gore was also pretty high for the time, the director said.

Carpenter also loved the sequel, “Dawn of the Dead,” which Romero co-wrote with Italian horror auteur Dario Argento.

A few years later, after Carpenter’s “The Thing” was released, the two filmmakers finally met up. “He was extremely gracious,” Carpenter said, and they became friends, talking on the phone and running into each other at genre conventions.

“Each of his ‘Dead’ movies was about more than just horror. There was always something under the surface. He was always trying to deal with certain themes and deepen them. His characters were really edgy,” Carpenter said.

“I cannot tell you the profound impact that movie had. Not just on me but on everyone.”

Argento later asked Carpenter to join him and Romero on an anthology film, “Two Evil Eyes,” but Carpenter was working on another project. The American fright mavens never collaborated, though they talked about writing scripts and the difficulty of raising financing.

Not surprisingly, Carpenter found he and Romero had a lot in common. “He was sort of a guy out of time, kind of a bebop guy from the ’60s. He was so much fun; he loved movies. We hit it off together.”

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  1. marcribaudo says:

    This man deserves all the credit for not just his zombie films, but for pushing the envelope when it came to gore and opening the door for all the horror films made in the 70s and 80s. Huge loss. I read an article recently that he was trying to make a new film but he was having trouble finding the financing. Shame we’ll never get to see it.

  2. Help us to honor George Romero on a Postage Stamp!

  3. Dennis Lemons says:

    I saw dawn of the dead in 1979 at 8 years old. My love for horror was born that day. I love everything Romero did from night to the crazies to creepshow. They just dont make films like these anymore. George a Romero rules!

  4. Bill B. says:

    He was sort of a one trick pony, but there is no denying the impact of the original Night of the Living Dead. I remember finally going to see it with a friend after hearing that this supposed piece of schlock was more than what it looked like. It seemed implausible that it would actually be any good & I have to admit I remember feeling a bit embarrassed about going to see such “trash”. We got to the theater quite a while after it opened and was quite surprised that there was a line to see it. It was the scariest thing I had ever seen up to that point and it is still among the greatest horror films ever made.

  5. Mac888 says:

    Although I’m not a fan (zombies just ain’t my thing, I hate The Walking Dead) I’m well aware of the power/influence of Romero’s films. He will be missed.

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