George A Romero, the zombie film pioneer who directed Night of the Living Dead, has died. He was 77.
The legendary filmmaker died in his sleep after a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer”, Romero’s producing partner Peter Grunwald told the Los Angeles Times.
Romero’s family said he died while listening to the score of “The Quiet Man,” one of his favorite films, with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher, and daughter, Tina Romero, by this side.
Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, which he wrote with John A. Russo, jump-started the zombie genre in 1968 and became a cult classic.
Romero’s sequels included 1978’s “Dawn of the Dead,” 1985’s “Day of the Dead,” 2005’s “Land of the Dead,” 2007’s “Diary of the Dead” and 2009’s “George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead.”
The original movie set the rules imitators lived by: Zombies move slowly, lust for human flesh and can only be killed when shot in the head. If a zombie bites a human, the person dies and returns as a zombie.
Romero’s zombies, however, were always more than mere cannibals; they were metaphors for conformity, racism, mall culture, militarism, class differences and other social ills.
“The zombies, they could be anything,” Romero told The Associated Press in 2008.