With the sudden news that one of the undeniable masters of horror just passed, lets pay tribute to a man that’s been scaring us for over 40 years. Here is the 10 greatest films by George Romero. Rest In Piece.
10. Land of the Dead
One of the absolute most anticipated films for fans of the genre, fans speculated for years what it would be. “Twilight of the Dead” or “Year of the Dead” were popular theories but in the end it was Land. The title instantly gives weight to the film. The dead own the world now. We lost. As a film, It’s not as good as the original trilogy but it’s still a competently made zombie film and is still enjoyable if taken on its own merits. Just go in with the knowledge that it’s not the trilogy and you’ll like it more.
9. The Crazies
Romero loved using horror as a way to address social issues. Night of the living Dead- Vietnam, Dawn of the Dead- consumerism and mall culture, and even Season of the Witch dealt with what it was like being a woman in the 60’s. He’s always been interested with telling stories that had an underlining message and The Crazies is no different. The Crazies is about fear of the government. Fear of the faceless men in those contamination suits. Fear of the unnamed men in the black suits that always show up at every catastrophe. Fear of the biological weapons they’re creating. Most films deal with the horror of the unknown, the outsider but The Crazies deals with a fear most Americans have: The Government.
Also check out the 2010 remake. It’s been completely forgotten about for some reason.
8. The Dark Half
Stephen King has had almost everything he’s ever written adapted. novel, novella, short story and even his drunken scribbles on a cocktail napkin have all made there way to the big screen but plenty of them live in the shadow of the bigger hits like The Shawshank Redemption, Carrie or The Shinning. The Dark Half is one that usually gets lost in the shuffle and that’s a shame. Hutton gives an incredible performance as a writer who’s pseudonym actually takes a life of its own and doesn’t want to be erased. It’s incredibly underrated and definitely worth checking out.
Martin is definitely an overlooked classic. John Amplas is absolutely incredible in the titular role of Martin, a young man who is convinced he is a vampire. And is trying desperately to stave off his impulses for blood. The film does an excellent job of keeping the audience guessing whether or not he truly is a vampire. Eventually this film will be reevaluated as the classic that it is.
6. Monkey Shines
This film is fucking fun. Martin is the better made film but this film involves a cripple fighting a crazy possessive monkey. I can watch that shit all damn day.
Why the hell is this film forgotten? You have Ed Harris as the crazy leader of a medieval reenactment group that uses motorcycles instead of horses to joust and Tom Savini as a rival fighting him for control. It’s incredible. Picture John Boorman’s Excalibur but replace the boring with motorcycles and the fantasy setting with a contemporary setting that’s trying to be a fantasy setting (and motorcycles) and you have Knightriders. Watch this film.
4. Day of the Dead
Night of the Living Dead created the zombie as we know it but I would argue that Day of the Dead created the zombie film. If you take a look at any episode of the Walking Dead, they’re just doing Day of the Dead. Stick people in a room, have them yell at each other and then zombies. Night and Dawn did the same thing But Day of the Dead was the first film that proved that maybe it was the Living that would be the ultimate threat. Plus, it has Bub the zombie and he’s the best.
I have an inexplicable love for horror anthologies. No matter the quality, and trust me, 90% of them are garbage, I will watch it. Maybe it’s my belief that horror works best at its absolute shortest or maybe I’m just trying to recapture the experience I first had watching Creepshow, whatever the reason, I keep watching hoping that one of them will come close to the greatness that is Creepshow. But they never do. Creepshow. Is easily the greatest horror anthology of all time.
2. Dawn of the Dead
Choosing between Dawn and Night was literally a coin flip. That’s how great both films are. They’re both iconic, influential and ground-breaking films that deserve their legendary status. Most horror directors only have one masterpiece, Romero has two.
1. Night of the Living Dead
The Star Wars of horror. There may not be a more influential horror film in existence. It created zombies. Yes, we’ve always had the undead and the term zombie existed in Haitian culture for decades but Romero created the mass of undead beings that crave human flesh we have today. Zombies. He created them. That’s mind boggling. And it all started with this film.
Fun fact: My friend and I would constantly quote this film, “You’re a dick, Cooper!” And disagree about the scene with the little girl in the basement. He swore up and down that she *Spoilers for a 50+ movie* kills her mother with a garden trowel and I swore up and down that she just bit her. It took 15 years for us to realize that he watched the original and not the remake and I had only saw the remake. Not the original. For some reason, that fight lasted 15 years and neither of us realized we watched two completely different films for years.
Thank you for giving us that fifteen years of discussions Romero. You will be missed.