April 1, 2011

George A. Romero (1940 - 2011) [APRIL FOOLS]


Surrounded by family, loved ones, and former collaborators, legendary zombie and horror director George A. Romero passed away peacefully in his sleep last night at approximately 11:59pm. Romero was being treated at Toronto General Hospital for complications from H1Z1.

George A. Romero (1940-2011) 

Without George A. Romero, the modern horror landscape and zombie genre would be unrecognizable today. Credited as the father of the modern zombie genre, Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968) revolutionized horror with its bleak themes, shocking gore, and independent success. Throughout his life, Romero continued to shape the zombie genre with social satires like Dawn of the Dead (1978), gore spectacles like Day of the Dead (1986), and big-budget studio pictures like Land of the Dead (2005) before returning to his independent roots when he moved to Canada to film the final zombie pictures of his life: Diary of the Dead (2007) and Survival of the Dead (2009). In 2009, George A. Romero accepted an award from the city of Toronto to celebrate his new status as a permanent residence in Canada and to celebrate his work in film and the horror genre.

Ironically, it was Romero's presence in Canada that contributed to his passing. Earlier this year while prepping his new zombie masterpiece Winter of the Dead, Romero contracted H1Z1, the Canadian strain of the mysterious solanum virus that continues to claim lives and perplex doctors world-wide. "George took it in stride," confides long time friend Bill Hinzman who was at Romero's side when he passed. "Despite his prognosis, George just wanted to keep working. Right up until the end, he was writing and scouting locations for Winter. He seemed more alive than ever."

Peter Grunwald, long-time producer of Romero's films, confirmed Romero held an upbeat mood in his final days: "George Romero has always had a rebel spirit, and he was never the kind of guy who would say, 'Pack it in; it's all over.' George loved his work  too much to quit. That's why none of us were surprised when he heard news that George got back up again"

At 12:00 am on April 1st, 2011, George A. Romero reanimated.

Zombie Romero (2011 -)

"I was told that one of the first things he did was grab for a camera," says Christine Forrest, Romero's ex-wife. "Well -- actually -- first he took a bite out of Russ Streiner's neck. Then he grabbed a camera before shambling out of the hospital."

Due to strict gun legislation in Canada and a deadlocked Parliamentary debate over the rights and freedoms of zombie citizens, security had no choice but to escort Zombie Romero out of the hospital and onto the streets without cranial destruction. "I couldn't do it even if ordered to," said one security guard who wished to remain anonymous. "I mean, he made fucking Monkey Shines, man. Monkey Shines! I love that shit."

What does the future hold for Zombie Romero on the cusp of the zombie epidemic that threatens to destroy us all?

"George was one of the best editors I ever met," says Bill Hinzeman. "It doesn't surprise me that the first thing he did was pick up where he left off. In all George's movies, didn't the dead go back to the things they remembered most? Some went to the mall. George, I guess, went back behind the camera."

Reports indicate that Zombie Romero has scrapped plans to produce Winter of the Dead and is instead helming a brand new project that promises to reinvent the zombie genre yet again. Breaking new ground, Zombie Romero has begun filming Night of the Living Living in which a small group of zombies are trapped in a farm house while agile humans threaten to destroy their brains. Bringing his eye for social criticism to bear, Zombie Romero plans to offer Night of the Living Living as his comment on the inherent lack of cooperation and focus among the zombie horde that proves more a threat to the undead than the humans who hunt them.

Will Zombie Romero's new film revolutionize the horror genre once again and galvanize a new undead fan base for the beloved director? Will fans mourn his passing yet continue to criticize his work as heavy-handed and complain he's just 'going through the motions' ?

Only time will tell. But one thing is for certain, you can't keep George A. Romero down.