Zombie-Film Legend George Romero is Not a Fan of The Walking Dead

And he declined several offers to direct episodes of the show

  • Share
  • Read Later

When you’re a horror-film legend like George A. Romero, you’ve got certain clout. And Romero used that clout to not only decline a chance to work on AMC’s The Walking Dead, but to let the world know via an interview with Britain’s The Big Issue that he didn’t want to get associated with “a soap opera with a zombie occasionally.”

Ouch.

Romero revealed that he was asked to make a couple of episodes of the hugely popular hit series, but declined. “I always used the zombie as a character for satire or a political criticism and I find that missing in what’s happening now,” the creator of Night of the Living Dead said.

George Romero

Malcolm Taylor / Getty Images

But it wasn’t just The Walking Dead that had Romero thinking about the current trend among zombies, saying the idea of using “fast-moving” zombies is akin to “army ants” and against everything we have known about the role in the past.

He also added that his idea of a zombie was a living person put into some sort of trance to serve as a slave. In his mind, he was raising the dead, an event that ties back to Jesus. Don’t get confused, though, folks. The current zombie trend has absolutely nothing to do with Jesus. We don’t need Romero to tell us that.

21 comments
BethPee
BethPee

You can't make a fair comparison between Romero's movies and TWD. Romero's movies were entertaining junk food made only to gross out audiences for 90 minutes and be forgotten. Don't get me wrong, I like them, but TWD is an ongoing weekly show that has to have some depth and character development.

nellydesign
nellydesign

A show about zombies that had no character development other than, "These people kill zombies and get eaten by zombies" would suck out loud.  George needs to take a break and realize that not everyone's vision is the same as his own and respect a vision that may differ from his.  His style of zombie story may have worked for a few movies, but for a series that supposed to be plausible, his style would quickly run out of steam, if only because all the characters would die in the first two episodes.

DavidZimmerman1
DavidZimmerman1

I respect that Romero is not a fan of the WD(I'm not really either but my wife is) but I think what we are seeing now with regard to the zombie craze is just the exploration of the whole idea of a zombie apocalypse in new ways. Its just like how in music one band influences another which then influences more along a similar line. The WD explores what it would mean to try and recreate society during a zombie apocalypse and how it would affect our concepts of morality and what it means to be human. I see Romero not being a fan the same way I might not like some band that lots of other people think is great. Romero didn't really create the idea of the zombie either just as Tolkien didn't create elves or dwarves.

MitchHale
MitchHale

I love (most of) Romero's zombie flicks. But let's face it, zombies amount to the ravenous fish in "Piranha". They are mindless eating machines that tend to school around food sources. What makes The Walking Dead interesting IS the human factor. We focus on the living because that is where the story is. That is our point of view. And life, even in a zombie infestation, still involves aspects that are not filled with the living dead. I personally enjoy TWD because it is anchored by the survivors. We see that the living are just as dangerous as the walkers, and that is an aspect that a 90-120 minute movie can only scrape the surface of. A series that is allowed to get graphic in the dispatching of zombies AND dig into the human nature that makes previously ordinary people either heroes or villains is something that a lot of us can enjoy. And obviously a lot of us enjoy The Walking Dead. It maintains great ratings even with a few missteps here and there. TWD (along with Sons of Anarchy and Justified) is only a tier below Breaking Bad in my opinion. AMC and FX are simply making better shows (HBO and Showtime are up there as well).

dieseldug
dieseldug

The guy basically invented the zombie...leave it to mainstream TV and movie houses to turn something dark, cultish and truly scary into something that fills the bovril prescription between commercials. Zombie offerings today are like the vampire pulp of 5-minutes-ago, soul-less (har har har) and uninteresting. The current zombie obsession represents 2 things to society: 1) another way to sell you an entertainment "product" and 2) an excuse for the weapon toting types to rationalize unnecessary "preparedness" and disguise over-violence in video games.

caleb.j.hale
caleb.j.hale

Hey George, millions of fans can't be wrong. I never really cared for zombie shows until The Walking Dead, so take that as you will.

sel77
sel77

The Walking Dead isn't about Zombies and it isn't a horror series. It's about the post-apocalypse world.  It poses interesting, thought-provoking questions. It's a great show. He sounds like a jealous old man to me. 

cryofax
cryofax

We're enjoying the Walking Dead less and less with each season. George is absolutely right. It's devolved from a great horror series into a soap opera with zombies (and 90% of the time they're just tacked on here or there so we don't forget the show is about zombies lol). I think its days are numbered. Also the idea that there is this limitless supply of undead walking around after months in remote areas is silly. Michone(sp?) could probably wipe out the entire zombie population around that prison in an afternoon.

WienersPeener
WienersPeener

Right on! Ever since the Sopranos we have series after series of Cable Network TV shows that are little more than soap operas with various themes. Take Battlestar Galactica--it was more soap than science fiction. All these shows are modern incarnations of the Young and the Restless. They are occasionally entertaining, but the genre is wearing thin.

Seph
Seph

Romero needs to get up on the times. Zombies were dead until Dawn of the Dead (2004). I'll bet most Walking Dead viewers don't know who George Romero is. Dumb move to turn down an opportunity to collaborate with the Walking Dead. This could have put George back on the map. But he is too stubborn about a change in the fictitious character he created. So sad. I would have liked to see his vision in the Walking Dead.

lauriloo
lauriloo

@sel77 I agree. The "walking dead" really refers to the survivors themselves, not the zombies. The zombies are the constant threat that forms the survivor's choices, not the main focus. It would be really hard to have an entire series that carried that "zombies are an allegory for mindless consumerism" theme.

dieseldug
dieseldug

@sel77 Yes, Romero is in the club of jealous old men like Kubrick and Lucas...we should all be so fortunate. "Night of the Living Dead" probably cost less to create than a single episode of any modern show and yet will be remembered as long as there are movies to discuss...and "Walking Dead" will be relegated to late night reruns with the likes of the original Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers (both of which were "critically acclaimed" in their day but had the staying power of backyard mosquito spray)...it's pretty tough to feel truly scared by any TV show requiring you to hold your fear while they pause for a message from their sponsors. 

NJLobsterGator
NJLobsterGator

@Seph I get what you're saying, Romero hasn't made a movie in a generation; current Walking Dead fans may not be aware of who he is.  Not every WD fan is a zombie fan, per se; that's why the 'soap opera' style works so well for the show.  It isn't just about the gore, like Romero movies seem to be.  It isn't just about ths shock value, or the zombie effects, or the half-naked screaming girl who can't seem to save herself.  It's a new, modern generation of people watching a show they can find themselves within because it has real characters, not fake, over-the-top screen villians and maidens.  Apples and oranges, really, but I do agree that Romero would be bringing in new fans to his genre and, he'd bring something new, possibly fresh to the show, if he swallowed a bit of that ego and offered his experience and legend to the Walking Dead.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@Seph Wow, you diss him, saying that no one who watches the show knows who he is and that he needs to get up on the times, then say you would have liked to have seen his vision of it? 

Go back to junior high debate and learn something, little girl.  Logic and argument aren't your forte'.

CuCaBaNaAn
CuCaBaNaAn

@Seph Romero doesn't "need" to be put back on the map.  Romero created the cinematographical zombie map.  Without Romero there wouldn't be a Walking Dead.  He's not stubborn.  He has his idea of what his zombies are and disagrees with what the Walking Dead's image of what Zombies are.

dieseldug
dieseldug

@NJLobsterGator @Seph Making a point that he hasn't made a movie in a generation is like saying George Lucas doesn;'t know what he's talking about when it comes to space fiction because he hasn't made a Star Wars recently. When you create the movie that sets the standard for all similar movies that follow, you basically don't have to make another movie ever again. The spaghetti western was defined by "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly"..."Star Wars" (and especially Episode 5) set the standard for the space movie..."Clockwork Orange" defined crazy, wacked out dystopia for decades. Why should any of these directors feel the need to adapt their style or art to suit ever changing perceptions of the modern audience?

CarlyChristinex
CarlyChristinex

@CuCaBaNaAn @Seph People should know who George Romero is he is the creator of Zombies and anyone who doesn't isnt much of a Zombie fan then. I agree here he does not need to be put back on the map. Loyal fans will not forget him or put him in anyway on the back burner. This guy is a legend to me and all fans like me. I agree with George though I love anythng with Zombies this is a Soap Opera and I am more and more hating The Walking Dead it is too dramatic and Rick Grimes is getting on my last nerve. 

lauriloo
lauriloo

@CarlyChristinex @CuCaBaNaAn @Seph No, Romero made zombies famous in the US, he didn't invent zombies. I understand what Romero says about his zombies being used as symbols of mindless consumerism in his movies but that doesn't mean any other use is invalid. I've tried to watch Romero's later movies and movies he's agreed to have his name tacked on to and they've all been pretty crappy so I'm surprised he turned down this opportunity with a vehicle with more quality than those.