Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


In 1968 Pittsburgh filmmaker George Romero came out with the ghoulish horror film Night of the Living Dead. ["Wait until you're dead to see it," quipped William Wolf of Cue magazine.] The low-budget film was not a badly-made movie and it had effective moments, and perhaps more than Psycho it influenced the furthering depiction of gore and graphic gross ghastliness in movies, a dubious honor. There were a number of sequels, made by Romero, and others -- some of these were actually grisly black comedies and not horror films per se -- and the cannibal-zombie movie became a sub-genre of the horror film. Some critics started looking at Romero's dead movies as intellectual items along the lines of Shakespeare [upon this I won't even comment]. With his "dead" movies Romero was really "brilliantly" commenting upon our society. In reality, movies like Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead were just mind-numbing and ultimately dull exercises in gore with delusions of profundity. Now Romero has yet another "dead" movie out called Survival of the Dead. Who cares? Talk about retreading the same material over and over and over again.

The problem I have with Romero is that he's beginning to believe his own publicity. Time magazine [!] recently made him the subject of their "10 Questions" column, referring to him as a "horror master." Please. "If there's something I'd like to criticize, I can bring the zombies out ... so I've been able to express my political views through those films," he says. Now this is a real intellectual -- he uses gore movies about dead people chewing on intestines to get across his political views. It would be funny -- in fact it is funny -- except that Romero has fans who actually believe the guy and his silly dead movies are profound. [These are the same people who think Eugene O'Neill is a comic book writer and read Fangoria religiously but never crack a real book.]

At best I'd say Romero is an okay craftsman, but when people start talking about him as if he's on the level of an artist like Alfred Hitchcock I say "enough already." An artist is supposed to grow, not make the same movie over and over and over.

The question is: What nerd-boy at Time magazine decided it was appropriate to do publicity for another crappy zombie movie?

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