The zombie genre is dead. So says George Romero, whose indie horror film Night Of The Living Dead injected life into the zombie genre back in 1968. They weren’t called ”zombies” in that film, but they were beings who returned from the dead craving human flesh, and zombies pretty much have that lifestyle on lock. The Walking Dead also loves to avoid the “Z”-word, and refers to the returned as “walkers.” But according to Romero, big-budget fare like The Walking Dead and Brad Pitt’s World War Z ruined zombies for everyone else. “I think really Brad Pitt killed it,” Romero said when asked about the future of his Dead franchise in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. And no, he doesn’t mean Pitt slayed. He means he jammed a hacksaw right through the zombie genre. “The Walking Dead and Brad Pitt just sort of killed it all,” he added.
Romero doubled down, spewing some relentless World War Z hate: “along comes Brad Pitt and he spends $400 million or whatever the hell to do World War Z. [World War Z author] Max Brooks is a friend of mine, and I thought the film was not at all representative what the book was and the zombies were, I don’t know, ants crawling over the wall in Israel. Army ants. You might as well make The Naked Jungle.” There you have it: a rather succinct review of World War Z, a.k.a. Army Ants.
“As far as I’m concerned, I’m content to wait until sort of zombies die off,” Romero said. “My films, I’ve tried to put a message into them. It’s not about the gore, it’s not about the horror element that are in them. It’s more about the message, for me. That’s what it is, and I’m using this platform to be able to show my feelings of what I think.”
So while it looks like we shouldn’t get our hopes up about any new Dead films from Romero, his first is coming back to life with a 4k digital restoration, which will have its world premiere at the Museum Of Modern Art’s To Save And Project Festival on November 5. The film fell into the public domain, and over 100 home-video releases have circulated over the years. But all the years of those shoddy versions will now be corrected by this latest release, which will restore Night Of The Living Dead’s legacy. Meanwhile, zombies are still dead. Romero said it, so it must be true. Tickets to the restoration’s premiere can be purchased here.