It’s not an understatement that George Romero has had more of an impact on the way I’ve run Death Ensemble for almost three years now than any other force. I consider Romero the master when it comes to writing, filming, directing and editing horror, and his work has not only been influential to four decades of horror, but to filmmaking in general. Even his lesser films are interesting, in that they all have a commentary, a distinct voice criticizing our society. He will forever be known for his Dead saga, but they’re just part of a body of work that is a statement in brilliance. As Death Ensemble looks at turning 3 in a few weeks, it’s my pleasure to wish George a Happy Birthday as he turns 74 today.
George Romero is also the nicest legend a person would ever want to meet. Here’s the story of my first meeting with him:
X and I hop on line as soon as we got to the con, and there are maybe only 15 people in front of us. We still wait about an hour, because Romero is spending plenty of time with each fan. We’re down to one guy in front of us, when some autograph seller comes over and cuts the line. He’s got a deal worked out with Romero’s agent Chris Roe, so George agrees to sign some stuff. The whole line starts to groan. This seller pulls out a book with about 1,000 photos in it. Romero starts to sign, and this guy has Post Its all over the 8×10′s. He wants Romero to sign some of these pics in 4 different spots, in specific marker colors. People on line are getting vocal with their annoyance. Romero then says, ” Look, this is gonna have to wait. We can do this after the show tonight, in my room. I’m here to meet the fans, and signs things for them, not you.” The guy pushes the book of pics toward Romero, who barks: ”If you don’t get that book out of my face I’m going to get up and shove it up your ass!” The line erupts into wild applause. With that one gesture, I acknowledge that Romero is a god.
I have been fortunate enough in my life as a horror fan and in my position as the creator of Death Ensemble to meet George, interview many of the people who have worked with him in front of and behind the camera, and now to have had some of those interviews published. George A. Romero has guided this site and a big part of my life, and for that I can only say, Thank you, George. Happy 74th, and I hope there are more films to come.