George Romero Dies at Age 77

The man who created zombie movie cult classics has died. George A. Romero, who graduated from Carnegie Mellon, learned his craft by working on the set of 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood', and filmed his horror films near his hometown of Pittsburgh, is gone at age 77.

If it wasn't for Romero, there may have never been the often-binge watched "The Walking Dead" TV series. In fact, he wasn't too complimentary of the show, calling it a "soap opera".

He began his series of zombie flicks in 1968's “Night of the Living Dead.” It would be groundbreaking because imitators would use the same zombie formula: they walk slowly, lust for human flesh and can only be killed when shot in the head. And, if a zombie bites a human, the person dies and returns as a zombie.

“Night of the Living Dead,” was completed on a budget of $114,000 dollars and premiered on October 1st of 1968. The film became a financial success, grossing $12 million in the U.S. and $18 million internationally.

Ten years after “Night of the Living Dead,” Romero made “Dawn of the Dead,” where humans hide from the undead in a shopping mall. It was shot inside Monroeville Mall, and fans of the film genre visit the site for nostalgia's sake.

The third in the zombie series was “Day of the Dead" in 1985. Unfortunately, it was a critical and commercial failure. There wouldn't be another film in the Romero series for nearly two decades.

“Land of the Dead” in 2005 had some star power. The cast included Dennis Hooper, John Leguizamo, Asia Argento and Simon Baker. Two years later, it was “Diary of the Dead,” also considered a box-office flop.

Romero died Sunday following a battle with lung cancer, according to a family spokesman. Romero's family said he died while listening to the score of “The Quiet Man,” one of his favorite films, with his wife and daughter by this side.

Mike Steele

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