Night of the Zombie Films
Recently we lost the Godfather of the Dead, George A Romero. Even if you don't know his name, you've probably heard of his movies - Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Land of the Dead, and Knightriders just to name a few of my favorites. While he didn't invent the idea of the dead coming back to life, he did give us the foundation on which every piece of zombie pop-culture was built. If you've watched The Walking Dead or played everyone's favorite co-op mode in Call of Duty, you've experienced something that would otherwise not exist without George A. Romero.
I can still vividly remember sitting in my neighbors basement with two friends when we were probably in 6th or 7th grade. We had just finished watching Saturday Night Live and up next was something called the Acri Creature Feature (sponsored by a local home improvement company). This is when I first saw Night of the Living Dead. Long before zombies were revived in pop culture, I was learning from the master about the undead masses. Middle school me fell in love with this movie and high school me became obsessed with the genre. I owned books, I played games, I watched movies and TV - my friends and I even wrote our own stories about our friend group in a zombie apocalypse with a followup D&D style game, Zombie Survivalist, as a companion (did I mention we may have been considered nerds?).
I could go on about the actual artistic merits of George A Romero movies - Dawn of the Dead being an incredible example - but there are plenty of people online who have done it better than I could. What I want to do is properly thank Mr. Romero for giving my friends and me hours and hours and hours of entertainment. Whether it was through marathons of his own movies or through the stories and games that we constructed ourselves, it all comes back to George.