George A. Romero is a legendary filmmaker known for revolutionizing the horror genre with his groundbreaking films.
His films often feature social commentary and political subtext, making them not only terrifying but also thought-provoking. Here are some of his best films:
Night of the Living Dead (1968): This is Romero’s breakthrough film, which popularized the modern zombie genre.
It follows a group of survivors who are trapped in a farmhouse during a zombie outbreak. The film’s social commentary on race relations and consumerism made it a cultural milestone.
Dawn of the Dead (1978): A sequel to “Night of the Living Dead,” “Dawn of the Dead” is considered by many to be Romero’s masterpiece.
It takes place in a shopping mall overrun by zombies, and its commentary on consumerism and capitalism is even more pointed than its predecessor.
Day of the Dead (1985): The final installment in Romero’s original “Dead” trilogy, “Day of the Dead” is a bleak and brutal film set in a military bunker where scientists are trying to find a cure for the zombie plague. It’s a tense and claustrophobic film that explores the darker aspects of human nature.
Martin (1977): Unlike Romero’s zombie films, “Martin” is a vampire movie that subverts many of the genre’s tropes.
It follows a young man who believes he is a vampire and is struggling to come to terms with his condition. The film’s exploration of mental illness and isolation is haunting and poignant.
Creepshow (1982): “Creepshow” is a horror anthology film written by Stephen King and directed by Romero.
It features five short stories that pay homage to classic horror comics. The film’s mix of horror and humor make it a fun and entertaining watch.
George A. Romero’s films are an important part of the horror genre and have influenced countless filmmakers.
Best George A. Romero Movies
His willingness to use horror as a vehicle for social commentary and political satire set him apart from his contemporaries and cemented his legacy as a true master of the genre.
1. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
“Night of the Living Dead” is a 1968 horror film directed by George A. Romero. The film is widely regarded as a classic of the horror genre and is credited with popularizing the zombie sub-genre of horror films.
The film follows a group of people who are trapped in a farmhouse in rural Pennsylvania as a wave of flesh-eating zombies, awakened by radiation from a fallen satellite, terrorize the countryside.
As the group tries to fend off the zombies and survive the night, tensions rise and conflicts emerge among the survivors.
“Night of the Living Dead” is notable for its low budget, stark black-and-white cinematography, and its bleak and uncompromising tone.
The film’s social commentary on race relations and consumerism also added a layer of depth to the horror genre, and its ending is considered one of the most shocking and iconic in cinematic history.
Despite its initial mixed critical reception, “Night of the Living Dead” became a commercial success and has since been widely acclaimed as a groundbreaking and influential film, inspiring countless imitations, remakes, and homages in the decades since its release.
2. There’s Always Vanilla (1971)
“There’s Always Vanilla” is a 1971 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by George A. Romero.
The film follows Chris, a young man who returns to his hometown of Pittsburgh after serving in the Vietnam War, and meets up with his former girlfriend, Lynn.
The two rekindle their relationship, but struggle to find a sense of purpose in their lives.
The film was not well-received critically or commercially upon its release, and it is considered one of Romero’s lesser-known films.
However, it is notable for its exploration of themes such as the disillusionment of the Vietnam War generation and the search for personal fulfillment.
“There’s Always Vanilla” may appeal to fans of Romero’s work who are interested in exploring a lesser-known film from his oeuvre.
It is also of interest to those interested in American cinema of the 1970s, a period of great social upheaval and artistic experimentation in Hollywood.
However, those looking for a typical Romero horror film may be disappointed, as “There’s Always Vanilla” is a departure from his more famous works in the horror genre.
3. Season of the Witch (1972)
“Season of the Witch” is a 1972 drama-horror film directed by George A. Romero, known for his work in the horror genre, and starring Jan White, Raymond Laine, and Ann Muffly.
The film follows a suburban housewife named Joan Mitchell (played by White), who becomes disillusioned with her mundane life and turns to witchcraft as a means of escape.
As Joan becomes more deeply involved in the occult, she experiences strange and terrifying visions, and begins to lose touch with reality.
Her relationship with her husband and daughter also becomes strained, as they struggle to understand her newfound beliefs and behavior.
“Season of the Witch” was praised for its exploration of feminist themes, as well as its use of atmospheric horror and psychological suspense.
The film was also notable for its realistic portrayal of witchcraft and paganism, which was still a relatively taboo subject in mainstream cinema at the time.
While “Season of the Witch” was not a commercial success upon its initial release, it has since gained a cult following and is now considered a classic of 1970s horror.
The film has been praised for its intelligent writing, strong performances, and haunting visuals, and remains a must-see for fans of the genre.
4. The Crazies (1973)
“The Crazies” is a horror film released in 1973, directed by George A. Romero and starring Lane Carroll and Will MacMillan.
The story follows the residents of a small Pennsylvania town who are affected by a military biological weapon that turns them into violent and unpredictable killers.
The film explores themes of government corruption, the dangers of science and technology, and the breakdown of social order.
“The Crazies” is considered a classic of the horror genre, known for its intense atmosphere, suspenseful pacing, and social commentary.
The film was remade in 2010, but the original is widely regarded as a cult classic and a must-watch for horror fa
5. Martin (1976)
“Martin” is a 1976 American horror film directed by George A. Romero and starring John Amplas in the titular role.
The film follows a young man named Martin who believes that he is a vampire, although it is unclear whether his condition is real or imagined.
Martin lives with his elderly cousin Cuda, who is convinced that Martin is an actual vampire and treats him accordingly.
Martin struggles to reconcile his desire to feed on human blood with his sense of morality and his growing attraction to a young woman named Christina.
The film explores themes of alienation, identity, and the horror of modern life. Romero uses the character of Martin to comment on contemporary society and the ways in which it dehumanizes and isolates individuals.
“Martin” is considered one of Romero’s best films, and is often cited as a unique and groundbreaking take on the vampire genre.
The film’s use of a modern, urban setting and its ambiguous portrayal of Martin’s condition have earned it a cult following among horror fans.
6. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
“Dawn of the Dead” is a 1978 horror film directed by George A. Romero and is widely regarded as one of his best works.
The film takes place in a shopping mall during a zombie outbreak, where a group of survivors takes refuge and tries to fend off the undead.
Here are three reasons why you should watch “Dawn of the Dead:”
Pioneering work in the zombie genre: “Dawn of the Dead” is often credited with defining the modern zombie genre.
It popularized the idea of slow-moving, flesh-eating zombies, and established many of the genre’s conventions that are still being used in zombie films and TV shows today.
The film’s depiction of a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies is terrifying and unforgettable.
Social commentary: As with many of Romero’s films, “Dawn of the Dead” uses horror as a vehicle to comment on social issues.
The film is a biting critique of consumerism, as the survivors take refuge in a shopping mall and are tempted by material goods even in the face of a zombie apocalypse.
The film’s themes of greed, consumerism, and the decay of society are still relevant today.
Suspense and gore: “Dawn of the Dead” is a tense and bloody film that doesn’t shy away from gore.
The film’s special effects, created by Tom Savini, are impressive and add to the overall sense of dread and horror. The characters are well-developed, and their struggles and conflicts keep the audience engaged.
Overall, “Dawn of the Dead” is a classic horror film that combines social commentary, suspense, and gore in a unique and unforgettable way.
Its influence on the horror genre cannot be overstated, and it remains a must-watch for fans of the genre.
7. Knightriders (1981)
“Knightriders” is a 1981 drama film written and directed by George A. Romero. The film follows a traveling troupe of modern-day knights who perform jousting tournaments as a way of preserving a sense of chivalry and honor in the modern world.
The leader of the group, Billy, played by Ed Harris, struggles to maintain his vision in the face of outside pressures and internal conflicts among his followers.
As the group travels from town to town, performing their jousts and interacting with locals, they face increasing challenges and obstacles that threaten to tear them apart.
“Knightriders” is notable for its unique blend of medieval and modern elements, with the knights using motorcycles instead of horses and incorporating rock music into their performances.
The film also explores themes of loyalty, honor, and personal sacrifice, as the characters grapple with the difficulties of living according to their ideals in a world that often seems at odds with them.
Although not as well-known as Romero’s horror films, “Knightriders” has gained a cult following over the years for its unconventional and thought-provoking approach to the theme of modern-day chivalry.
The film also features early performances by several notable actors, including Ed Harris, Tom Savini, and Patricia Tallman.
8. Creepshow (1982)
“Creepshow” is a 1982 American horror-comedy anthology film directed by George A. Romero and written by Stephen King.
The film consists of five horror stories, all of which are inspired by the horror comics of the 1950s.
The film is notable for its dark humor, impressive practical effects, and creative storytelling. The cast includes a number of well-known actors, such as Leslie Nielsen, Adrienne Barbeau, and Ted Danson, and the film has become a cult classic among horror fans.
“Creepshow” is a great choice for horror fans who enjoy a mix of scares and laughs. The film’s unique approach to horror, its memorable characters, and its iconic visual style have made it a favorite among genre enthusiasts for over 30 years.
Additionally, the film’s success led to the creation of two sequels, a comic book series, and a television series reboot.
9. Day of the Dead (1985)
“Day of the Dead” is a 1985 horror film directed by George A. Romero and the third installment in his “Living Dead” series, following “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) and “Dawn of the Dead” (1978).
The film takes place in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies, and focuses on a small group of survivors who are holed up in an underground bunker in Florida.
As tensions rise between the survivors and their military protectors, the group’s scientists attempt to find a cure for the zombie epidemic by experimenting on captured zombies.
However, their efforts are complicated by the increasing aggression and intelligence of the undead, leading to a violent and chaotic showdown between the living and the dead.
“Day of the Dead” was praised for its bleak and uncompromising portrayal of a society in collapse, as well as its graphic depictions of gore and violence.
The film also explored complex themes related to science, government control, and the ethics of experimentation.
While “Day of the Dead” was not a commercial success upon its initial release, it has since become a cult classic and is now considered one of the most iconic zombie films ever made.
The film has been praised for its intelligent writing, strong performances, and inventive special effects, and remains a must-see for fans of the horror genre.
10. Monkey Shines (1988)
“Monkey Shines” is a horror film released in 1988, directed by George A. Romero and starring Jason Beghe, John Pankow, and Kate McNeil.
The story follows a paralyzed man who receives a trained capuchin monkey to assist him with his daily tasks, but soon discovers that the monkey has been experimentally altered and has developed a telepathic bond with him.
As the monkey becomes increasingly aggressive and violent, the man must confront the dark forces behind the experiments and fight for his survival.
“Monkey Shines” is known for its effective use of suspense, its unsettling portrayal of the bond between the man and the monkey, and its exploration of themes such as the ethics of animal testing and the dangers of playing God with science.
While not as well-known as some of Romero’s other works, “Monkey Shines” is a unique and creepy horror film that has gained a cult following over the years.
11. Two Evil Eyes (1990)
“Two Evil Eyes” is a 1990 horror anthology film directed by George A. Romero and Italian filmmaker Dario Argento. The film is divided into two segments, each based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe.
The first segment, “The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar,” is directed by Argento and stars Adrienne Barbeau as a greedy woman who marries an elderly man (Bingo O’Malley) with the intention of inheriting his wealth.
When her husband becomes ill and nears death, she conspires with his physician (Ramsey Ames) to keep him alive using hypnosis. However, the situation soon spirals out of control with horrifying consequences.
The second segment, “The Black Cat,” is directed by Romero and stars Harvey Keitel as a photographer who becomes increasingly unstable and abusive towards his wife (Madeleine Potter) and their pets.
When his behavior escalates to murder, he hides the evidence in the walls of their home, but the spirit of one of his victims returns to exact revenge.
“Two Evil Eyes” is notable for its blend of American and Italian horror styles, as well as its tribute to the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Despite mixed reviews upon its initial release, the film has since gained a cult following among horror fans.
12. The Dark Half (1993)
“The Dark Half” is a 1993 horror film directed by George A. Romero and based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King.
The film tells the story of a writer who decides to kill off his pseudonym, only to find that the pseudonym has taken on a life of its own and is now seeking revenge.
Here are three reasons why you should watch “The Dark Half:”
The source material: “The Dark Half” is based on a novel by Stephen King, one of the most celebrated horror writers of all time.
The film is a faithful adaptation of the book, and fans of King’s work will appreciate seeing one of his lesser-known stories brought to the screen.
The performances: Timothy Hutton gives a compelling performance as both the protagonist, Thad Beaumont, and his sinister alter ego, George Stark.
Hutton’s ability to switch between the two characters is impressive, and he brings depth and nuance to both roles. The supporting cast is also strong, with standout performances from Michael Rooker and Julie Harris.
The themes: “The Dark Half” explores themes of identity, creativity, and the duality of human nature.
The film raises questions about the nature of artistic expression and the toll it can take on a person’s psyche. The film’s themes are thought-provoking and provide plenty of material for discussion and analysis.
Overall, “The Dark Half” is a well-made and thought-provoking horror film that is sure to please fans of Stephen King’s work. The film’s exploration of identity, creativity, and the darker aspects of human nature make it a compelling and unsettling watch.
13. Bruiser (2000)
“Bruiser” is a 2000 horror film written and directed by George A. Romero. The film stars Jason Flemyng as Henry Creedlow, a mild-mannered man who works at a fashion magazine and lives a mundane life with his wife.
One day, Henry wakes up to find that his face has become blank, devoid of any features, and he becomes a man without an identity.
As he tries to figure out what has happened to him, Henry begins to seek revenge against those who have wronged him.
“Bruiser” is notable for its exploration of identity, with the main character struggling to find his place in the world and fighting against a society that seems determined to strip him of his individuality.
The film also features elements of body horror, as Henry’s transformation becomes increasingly grotesque and surreal.
While “Bruiser” received mixed reviews from critics upon its release, with some praising its exploration of themes and its use of surreal imagery, others criticized its slow pacing and lack of scares.
Despite its mixed reception, the film has gained a cult following over the years and is regarded by some as an underappreciated entry in Romero’s filmography.
14. Land of the Dead (2005)
“Land of the Dead” is a 2005 American post-apocalyptic horror film written and directed by George A. Romero. It is the fourth installment in Romero’s “Dead” series, which began with “Night of the Living Dead” in 1968.
The film is set in a world where the majority of the human population has been turned into zombies by a mysterious virus.
The remaining humans have barricaded themselves in a fortified city, with the wealthy living in a luxury high-rise tower and the poor living in slums.
The film follows a group of scavengers who venture out into the zombie-infested wasteland in search of supplies, only to find themselves caught in the middle of a power struggle between the living and the dead.
“Land of the Dead” is a thought-provoking and socially relevant film that explores themes such as class conflict, government corruption, and the effects of unchecked capitalism.
The film’s use of practical effects and makeup is impressive, and the action sequences are intense and thrilling.
If you are a fan of the horror genre or of George A. Romero’s work in particular, “Land of the Dead” is definitely worth watching. It is a compelling and entertaining film that manages to be both scary and socially relevant.
15. Diary of the Dead (2007)
“Diary of the Dead” is a 2007 horror film directed by George A. Romero and the fifth installment in his “Living Dead” series, following “Night of the Living Dead” (1968), “Dawn of the Dead” (1978), “Day of the Dead” (1985), and “Land of the Dead” (2005).
The film takes place during the early stages of a zombie outbreak and is presented as a found footage-style documentary.
The film follows a group of college students who are filming a low-budget horror movie when they hear news reports of the dead returning to life and attacking the living.
As they attempt to make their way back home, they witness firsthand the breakdown of society and the horrifying consequences of the zombie epidemic.
“Diary of the Dead” was praised for its innovative use of the found footage format, as well as its commentary on the role of media in shaping public perception and response to crisis situations.
The film also explored themes related to the power of technology, the erosion of personal privacy, and the ethical dilemmas faced by documentary filmmakers.
While “Diary of the Dead” received mixed reviews from critics and was not as commercially successful as Romero’s earlier zombie films, it remains a compelling and thought-provoking entry in the “Living Dead” series, showcasing the filmmaker’s continued relevance and innovation in the horror genre.
16. Survival of the Dead (2009)
“Survival of the Dead” is a horror film released in 2009, directed by George A. Romero and starring Alan Van Sprang, Kenneth Welsh, and Kathleen Munroe.
The film takes place in a world where a zombie outbreak has devastated humanity, and follows a group of survivors who come across an island where two feuding families are engaged in a bitter conflict.
The islanders have their own way of dealing with the zombie outbreak, which creates a new set of problems for the survivors as they try to stay alive.
“Survival of the Dead” is known for its dark humor, social commentary, and creative take on the zombie genre.
While it received mixed reviews upon its release, it is still considered a worthwhile watch for fans of Romero’s work and the zombie subgenre.
3 Characteristics of George A. Romero Films
George A. Romero was an American filmmaker best known for his contributions to the horror genre.
He is credited with revolutionizing the zombie sub-genre with his groundbreaking 1968 film, “Night of the Living Dead,” and continued to explore themes of social commentary and political satire in his subsequent films. Here are three characteristics of Romero’s films:
Social commentary: Romero’s films often contain social commentary and political satire. For example, “Night of the Living Dead” features a black protagonist in a time when civil rights were a major issue, and “Dawn of the Dead” (1978) satirizes consumerism and American culture.
Non-traditional protagonists: Romero often cast non-traditional protagonists, such as women and people of color, in leading roles. This was groundbreaking at the time, and helped to diversify the horror genre.
Gore and violence: Romero’s films are known for their graphic violence and gore. He was not afraid to show the gruesome details of his characters’ deaths, which added to the realism of his horror films.
Overall, Romero’s films were influential in shaping the horror genre and pushing boundaries with their social commentary, unconventional protagonists, and graphic violence.
3 Reasons Why You Should Watch George A. Romero Films
Here are three reasons why you should watch films by George A. Romero:
Pioneering work in the horror genre: Romero is widely regarded as a pioneer in the horror genre, particularly for his work with zombie films.
His films often use horror as a vehicle to comment on social issues and explore themes such as consumerism, the decay of society, and the duality of human nature. His influence on the horror genre cannot be overstated, and his films remain a must-watch for fans of horror.
Creative storytelling: Romero’s films often feature unconventional storytelling techniques, such as nonlinear narratives and overlapping timelines.
His films also frequently feature ensemble casts and multiple storylines that intersect and overlap. These techniques add depth and complexity to his films and make them stand out from other horror movies.
Social commentary: Many of Romero’s films are notable for their social commentary and their exploration of topical issues. For example, “Night of the Living Dead” addressed issues of race and civil rights, while “Dawn of the Dead” critiqued consumerism and the decay of society.
Romero’s films are often thought-provoking and provide plenty of material for analysis and discussion.
Overall, films by George A. Romero are important works of horror cinema that are still relevant today.
They offer creative storytelling, thought-provoking social commentary, and groundbreaking work in the horror genre. Whether you’re a die-hard horror fan or just looking for a good scare, Romero’s films are definitely worth a watch.
Best George A. Romero Films – Wrapping Up
In conclusion, George A. Romero was a highly influential and innovative filmmaker who is widely regarded as the father of the modern zombie film.
His films explored social and political issues through the lens of horror, and his work has had a lasting impact on the genre.
Some of his most notable films include “Night of the Living Dead”, “Dawn of the Dead”, and “Day of the Dead”, which are considered classics of the horror genre.
Other notable films in his filmography include “Martin”, “Creepshow”, and “The Crazies”.
Romero’s work continues to inspire and influence filmmakers today, and his legacy in the horror genre is undeniable.
He will always be remembered as a true master of horror and a trailblazer in the world of filmmaking.