And one TV show.
Night of the Living Dead filmmaker George A. Romero, who died on Sunday at 77, created a new genre of horror and inspired countless writers and directors.
Romero’s 1968 classic essentially created the modern zombie, shifting the definition from Haitian mythology-influenced humans under a trance, to flesh-hungry ghouls who will tear you limb from limb.
But Night of the Living Dead wasn’t just groundbreaking for its depiction of the titular monsters: It also reflected Romero’s progressive values. He cast black actor Duane Jones as the lead, and infused the movie with the satire, dark comedy, and social commentary that would become trademarks of his films.
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The Evil Dead (1981)
The demons in The Evil Dead are certainly closer to Romero’s zombies than any earlier depiction of the undead — and their rampage through a remote cabin is straight out of Night of the Living Dead. Just as importantly, Sam Raimi’s film and its subsequent sequels blended gore with dark humor, a Romero staple.
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Dead Alive (1992)
Peter Jackson’s early zombie movie is even gorier and more deliberately funny than The Evil Dead. But as extreme as it is, it’s hard to imagine it existing without Romero’s work before it. And Dead Alive — along with the Living Dead series — was a major influence on Shaun of the Dead (see below).