The Walking Dead has enough hype heading into Season 7 that fans have been somewhat uncontrollable on social media and all around the press. But for those who know their zombie history, then you know that there is one man that put the cannibalistic creatures in the mainstream for pop culture, and that is George Romero.
George Romero was the acclaimed director for the 1968 hit horror film Night of the Living Dead, which quickly gained a cult following, and the movie went down in history as one of the most influential horror films of all time. That is because George Romero created the rules for the zombie, and most of those rules are strictly adhered to by The Walking Dead.
Why George Romero Isn't Making Movies or the Walking Dead http://t.co/4g2LOf5wr7 #zombies #romero #horror #moviesSo when the notion that George Romero would potentially direct an episode of The Walking Dead, that should have fans of the show jumping for joy. The cameo behind the camera would be an instant classic in TV history and Romero would give the show more cred -- as if it actually needed it, though?
— The Zombie Hoard (@thezombiehoard) August 18, 2014
Well, the short answer to this question is yes and no. Yes, George Romero was asked to direct an episode of The Walking Dead. But no, he has declined that offer, according to his interview on The Big Issue.
George Romero Fires A Shot at The Walking Dead - HorrorMovies.ca http://t.co/aA4UEurfBC via @horrormoviesThe truth is, George Romero is truly a god among men in the zombie genre, but he is not a big fan of mainstream success. Kind of like Kurt Cobain was with his music, Romero did not want his zombie films to be the cultural phenomenon that they have become. But if you factor in the massive success of The Walking Dead on AMC, then George Romero becomes quite disenchanted with the genre altogether.
— Horror Of Jennifer (@1Unaturalsoul) November 11, 2013
"Once they [zombie films] bleed out of pop culture, I'll be able to go back and do them again," George Romero told The Big Issue. "I don't want to touch them now. Gosh, they are all over the place. The Walking Dead is the number one television series in the States, World War Z, games, commercials… Ugh! It's too much!"
RT @ZombotZRA: George Romero's EMPIRE OF THE DEAD set to challenge THE WALKING DEAD. http://t.co/8FyteUF6tR pic.twitter.com/OuC0p1IPMHRomero seemed to be speaking to popularity of zombies in general and not The Walking Dead. He seemed to have a disdain for anything that breached his comfort zone of how big the genre should be in film and other media, desensitizing him to the allure of making those kinds of pictures. It's almost as if he wants to show his work to a very specific audience, with no one else weighing on the genre. Those sentiments also seem to echo Kurt Cobain's own feelings about his music and mainstream success.
— Moviepilot (@moviepilotnews) May 30, 2015
"It feels like I don't have a horse in the race. They asked me to do a couple of episodes of The Walking Dead but I didn't want to be a part of it," Romero said. "Basically it's just a soap opera with a zombie occasionally. I always used the zombie as a character for satire or a political criticism and I find that missing in what's happening now."
These are not recent comments that Romero has made about The Walking Dead. This interview was conducted nearly three years ago in November 2013. But the reason it is relevant to now is because a fellow filmmaker from his era, John Carpenter, has recently made comments similar to those of Romero.
John Carpenter Throws Shade at 'The Walking Dead' https://t.co/6JXxYsoCFK via @thewrap #TWDBut what is really unique about Romero's comments is what he had to say about the rules that getting bit by a zombie is what causes a person to turn in his mythology, which it seemed to many as though The Walking Dead invented the "everyone's infected" rule.
— Atlanta Comic News (@ATLcomicnews) July 5, 2016
Me and my buddy George Romero, the true father of the walking dead, back in the day. pic.twitter.com/7X2qMdaBIYGeorge Romero was speaking about his new comic series, Empire of the Dead, when he was asked about having vampires and zombies in a film and how they would coexist.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) March 1, 2016
"A vampire might get mistakenly bitten by a zombie, however this is one thing no one seems to get – it's not the bite that does it," Romero said. "In my mythology everyone who dies becomes a zombie. So even if a vampire was to get stabbed in the heart it would come back. As long as its brain was intact, of course."
[Photo by Malcolm Taylor/Getty Images]