Most people know what a zombie is but many people may not be quite so familiar with George A. Romero. Despite the name, Romero was born in the Bronx in New York.

Without Romero’s 1968 horror film Night of the Living Dead, I’m not sure that the TV series The Walking Dead would be the mega success that it is today.

That’s not to say that Zombies haven’t been part of folklore and local legends for long before Romero was born. The word ‘Zombi’ was a West African word coined in the 1,800’s. The name also reached Haiti and was more associated with voodoo and black magic.

Romero used this background zombie myth for his first full length horror feature film Night of the Living Dead (1968), which became this massive cult movie.

The film had a group of ordinary people held up in a barn who are attacked by humans who have risen from their dead status to tear flesh from the living hog-roast’s.

It was made on an extremely low-budget of around $114,000, shot in black and white and using untrained actors. The film grossed $30 million. He went on to make Dawn of the Dead (1978), Day of the Dead (1985), Land of the Dead (2005) and Diary of the Dead (2007).

In between time he directed another cult horror movie in Creepshow (1982) based on old 1950’s horror comic books featuring 5 different ghoulish segments. Starring a few big name actors such as Ed Harris, Stephen King (Yes, the very same), Leslie Nielsen, Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau and Ted Danson.

Romero’s Zombies are still the model for the present-day offerings and are also have the care-home shuffle, rather than the lightning fast moving Zombies in Danny Boyle’s 28-days Later (2002), and the Marc Forster / Brad Pitt World War Z (2013).

Unfortunately, his zombie movies were never quite so popular from the late 80’s onwards. I’m sure that this had a great deal to do with the emergence of the new breed of directors with the likes of Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dean (2004), Ruben Fleischer’s Zombieland (2013), World War Z (2013) and of course TV’s Robert Kirkman and The Walking Dead.

So, thanks George A. Romero for your vision of a dystopian earth overrun with the living dead. Rest in peace (seriously!)