George Romero Finally Getting ‘Walk Of Fame’ Star After 50 Years

The Godfather of Zombies, George Romero, is finally getting a Walk of Fame star, nearly 50 years after his cult classic, Night of the Living Dead, was released. Romero, who is best known for that film, has been one of the most influential horror directors and producers in the business, going on to make other zombie films that many have hailed as the gold standard in the genre.

The Walk of Fame stars were announced this week, and the Los Angeles Times reports that George Romero is finally going to be enshrined on the coveted Hollywood Walk of Fame, recognizing his contributions to popular cinema over the last five decades.

For those who do not know, George Romero broke the classic Hollywood mold and released Night of the Living Dead in 1968. While virtually creating the modern zombie genre, the film was hailed by many fans and critics as the goriest mainstream film of its time. The George Romero gold standard for zombie behavior has been quite unique to his own works and other works that have followed.

The Walk of Fame star indicates that Romero’s contributions to zombie cinema and film have reverberated throughout the industry and set a standard for zombie filmmaking that many have adhered to, including the highly successful AMC TV series, The Walking Dead.

So, what exactly is the gold standard for zombie genre filmmaking? Well, with what many have called the “Romero zombie,” you have a rotting corpse that has no known origin of existence; at least until his film, Dawn of the Dead,came out in 1978. The tagline for that film was, “When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the Earth.”

Therein lies the only real explanation for the existence of the Romero zombie, which was only revealed 10 years after the first film in his zombie franchise (originally a trilogy) was released.

The “Romero zombie” is the gold standard that many fans of the industry have been using for a long time now. That kind of zombie moves quite slowly and has no functioning brain activity, therefore no cognitive way of thinking for itself. It only knows one thing, and that is the instinct to feed off of living human flesh.

The Walk of Fame Star indicates that George Romero’s contributions to zombie fiction have a long history in the annals of cinema, and his school of thought has set a standard in the industry. But there have been other movies that have broken the Romero mold.

The first of which is Return of the Living Dead, and its subsequent sequel in the 1980s. Those zombies had a new hunger, and that was to eat human brains. As opposed to the Romero flesh eaters, they only wanted their victim’s brain to live. They were also smart zombies, in the sense that they could set up traps and bring their victims to them. But those films were also billed as comedies as well, so the genre was bent.

Then there was Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, which described those zombies as living people who had contracted a virus known as “Rage.” They could run, and hordes of them easily overwhelmed British society.

The eventual remake of the 1978 George Romero classic Dawn of the Dead featured running zombies, but they were still mostly brain-dead. In this case, the remake led to George Romero making the fourth installment of his “dead trilogy, Land of the Dead.

But after all this time, it speaks volumes that George Romero was finally able to break another Hollywood mold and receive a star on the Walk of Fame. Zombie lovers everywhere can finally celebrate this long overdue honor for a horror industry veteran that set the stage for generations of genre films to come.

[Photo by Malcolm Taylor/Getty Images]