Ian West’s review published on Letterboxd:
The birth of the modern horror film.
1968: When a bunch of 20 something's from Pittsburgh banded together like a group of survivors, with the heart and integrity of 100 major studios (and a final product every major studio has failed to replicate), even though I'm sure said studios have giant board meetings about how to do just that.
Also, 1968... in America... think about that for a minute... our main characters our main characters are and how they have to deal with a shithead alpha male who's obsessed with being in charge, we only find out what's really going on by way of TV and radio, Ghouls who ARE EATING PEOPLE and LITTLE KIDS KILL PEOPLE AND GET KILLED, AND EVERYONE DIES, all in one messed up night. 19fucking68
When I was about 9 or 10, I wanted to go to go to a drive in theater so my parents took me to a double feature in Pennsylvania, about an hour or so from where we lived at the time. We saw Carnival of Souls and Night of the Living Dead. I loved every damn minute of it and then all of the sudden BOOM… the ending left me feeling hopeless and depressed as I kept asking my parents why that happened. It still feels like it was yesterday. The sheer impact of George Romero is astounding and transcends the genre tenfold. Hell, I see people on this site who have never watched a Romero Zombie movie reference them, that's how vast Romero's footprint is. He shook up a bloated studio system and influenced so many independent filmmakers to pick up a camera and do whatever it takes to make a fucking movie. Lest we forget that his social commentary has been an undercurrent in society since 1968.
Way back in my pretentious late teens, when I used to over analyze the crap out of movies with dreams of being a spicy, modern day Roger Ebert by way of Leonard Maltin (and Lester Bangs) I would have rated this a 4 or 4.5, shunning independent cinema for its budgetary trappings, but luckily I woke the hell up and started actually enjoying the cinema I was watching, appreciating films in a whole new light and realizing that sometimes purpose is far greater than technique.
Best decision I've ever made, the equivalent of Cinematic Zen.
(That was by no means an insult to any members of this community, just a self depricating look on how I previously observed film)
I'm pretty damn thankful that I got to meet George Romero, and as I just mentioned, his impact was vast, and I'm lucky to have been a part of it as a viewer, learning many life lessons along the way, and hopefully becoming a better person because of it. <3
For 32 years, 2 months, and 16 days, I lived in a world where George Romero was smiling somewhere and smoking a cigarette. Tomorrow starts day 1 without that.