George A. Romero

One of the best horror movie makers.

Night of the Living Dead (1968) -- What everyone says about this movie is true, that it's good because it's just plainly-shot footage of a night where dead people happen to be slowly approaching to eat living people, unexplained. There's a bit of theory about some kind of gas causing it, but this is only a theory by a character or two, and not the one the movie actually proposes--leaving the movie to be a perfect horror film that doesn't explain itself more than it needs to. It's just happening, and these people have to deal with it. Some of the best and smartest characters (not all of them, of course) in horror history as well. (See below for the sequel, Dawn of the Dead.) B

Dawn of the Dead (1978) -- Ten years later, Romero makes another great zombie movie without simply redoing what he's already done. In fact, almost everything is new... less creepy, but more exciting. Even more than the first one, you find yourself caring for the characters personally as much as you're just having fun watching an action movie. The consumer culture commentary is used more for laughs than some kind of serious social critique, so it's all fun. Pretty great. (See above for the predecessor, Night of the Living Dead.  See below for the sequel, Day of the Dead.) B

Day of the Dead (1985) -- Where Dawn of the Dead had lots of heart, the characters really caring about each other and trying to help each other, this one has people at each others' throats the entire time.  Even the people who like each other are angry at each other.  The movie begins with the story having already happened (the zombies have taken over the world, the craziness has set in with the humans), so there's thick tension from the very beginning, and it rarely settles down.  Lots of interesting stuff going on here (science vs. violence vs. instinct vs. god), and even more information about zombie lore. (See above for the predecessor, Day of the Dead.  See below for the sequel, Land of the Dead.) B

Land of the Dead (2005) -- We didn't get a Dead movie in the 90s unfortunately, but we got this one, and -- once again -- Romero has a little more to add about his zombies.  In this one, the zombies are learning to reason and, by the end, learning to avoid the distractions (pretty fireworks) that keep them from the task at hand: we're learning from zombies in this movie about how to behave.  As usual, the movie is more symbolic than allegorical, so there's no one-to-one "interpretation" of what he's trying to say (he's saying lots of things), but -- even more important -- the symbolism is not heavy-handed and you don't have to pay attention to it at all to enjoy the movie, since the primary goal here is entertainment and watching cool gore (plenty of snacking on flesh shots here) and some great exploitation.  Fun stuff again, the friendships are strong and characters likeable, it's got Crazy Dennis Hopper, and Dario Argento's daughter Asia is hot. (See above for the predecessor, Day of the Dead.) B

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