Tuesday, 18 July 2017

George Romero

You know what's funny? I honestly can't remember the first time I saw Night Of The Living Dead. Now, I have a pretty good memory for fairly useless stuff like this and you'd think, given it's the greatest film ever made, I'd know to the minute when I first encountered the film. After all, I know I saw Dawn Of The Dead and Day Of The Dead at some point in the mid 90s during a late night showing on BBC2 (and the chances were Dawn was still missing the scene during which Peter shoots the two zombie kids as the BBFC cut that after the school shooting in Dunblane - an act I continue to find staggeringly pointless). I know I was blown away by the levels of violence in both films and the the almost cartoon-like garish colour of the blood in Dawn. I know I found Stephen getting shot in the arm while hiding on top of the lift to be more disturbing than the zombies chowing down, and I know I had to wait a while before getting the uncut versions of both films on dvd.

But, Night? That memory just isn't there.

Maybe it doesn't matter in the end. I know the film inside out and I know what it means to me as a horror fan, as a writer and as a man. And all that comes down to George Romero.

It's easy, all these years later, to overlook or simply forget what Romero and his colleagues did when it came to making Night. Changing horror is one thing; changing cinema is something else. Night managed both which is no mean feat for a low-budget shocker which has been in the public domain for decades. Of course, Romero wasn't just responsible for Night. The Crazies may well be the most cynical film ever made while Martin is up there as one of the grubbiest Much as I love most of his work, it will always be Night for me. They'll always be coming to get you, Barbra. If you burn them, they'll go up easy. And there'll always be a howl of impotent rage at the sheer ugly unfairness of the ending.

It will always be Night for me. And for that, I thank George Romero from the bottom of my undead heart.

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