My Horror Heroes, George Romero

Don’t miss the first episode of this series, about Stephen King.

Long-time readers of PBW will know that I am in love with Pittsburgh. I wasn’t born here, but I’ve lived most of my life in Butler, which is close enough to consider Pittsburgh my hometown. So it’s no surprise that I have a little-sister-like admiration for George Romero.

Night of The Living Dead poster

Romero spent most of his life in Pittsburgh. He got his start in the field on a small show, maybe you haven’t heard of it. 

Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood. 

If you know anything about Pittsburgh, you know what a big deal that is. Mr. Rodgers, being the supportive saint that he was, was a lifelong cheerleader for Romero. He even went to the premiere of Romero’s iconic film, Night of The Living Dead. 

Speaking of Night of The Living Dead, you may not know that the film was done on a shoestring budget. And I mean a thin shoestring. Like, this shoestring would have probably broken if someone else had been handling it. $114,00, to be specific. I know that sounds like a shit ton of money. It’s more than I make in a year, that’s for damned sure. So to put that in context, Rosemary’s Baby came out the same year. Another horror classic, by the way. That movie cost 3.2 million. And I’d argue that both movies are equally scary.

Creepshow poster

Romero committed himself to the horror genre. He found what worked for him, and he went with it. And it worked! Romero went on to create 26 films, most of which were about zombies. He revolutionized the zombie genre and is a large reason why it’s so well-loved today. And, he put Steel City on the map for zombie lovers. There are still massive zombie events held here every year.

All of this Romero was able to do because his work is fun. I have never seen a Romero film that I didn’t love from start to finish. Even as time goes on, they hold up. 

I think this is largely because everyone working on these movies was just having a blast. The actors are having fun. The special effects crews had fun. The makeup people might have had a little too much fun. Romero’s movies were a great time, from start to finish.

To sum everything up, here’s what any creator can learn from George Romero

– Money doesn’t matter as much as a good story told well.

-Find a place in the world where you’re happy. 

-Having supporting mentors is priceless. 

-When you find something you’re good at, do it! 

-Have fun with your work, and other people will have fun with it too. 

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