George Romero, father of the Living Dead, is one of 24 new people and places to be honored with a Pennsylvania historical marker.
For decades, writer-director George Romero made many iconic movies in his native Pittsburgh (including Dawn of the Dead, among others) before relocating to Toronto late in his career.
One of the great memories of my horror-loving life was viewing Night of the Living Dead for the first time. I was a preteen, and assumed a tame experience from the black-and-white VHS box art. Little did I know, I was wholly unprepared for what was in store. Nudity, flesh-eating, and a downbeat ending left me slack-jawed in the best possible way.
Many distinguish Romero as the low-budget, high-concept auteur who put Pennsylvania filmmaking on the map. Over the years, his works have been praised and studied not only for their visceral horror elements (including iconic makeup work by the legendary-in-his-own-right Tom Savini), but also their running commentaries on race, class warfare, and the sociology of survival in apocalyptic scenarios.
I met Romero at Horrorfind Weekend in 2004, and he was humble and appreciative toward the long line of fans waiting to meet him. Interview footage verifies his down-to-earth, self-deprecating manner.
While Romero passed away in 2017 at 77, he is nowhere near forgotten among fans, filmmakers, and the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission.
Per Penn Live, Romero’s Pittsburgh production studio “[is] among the 24 sites across the state being marked with the latest batch of Pennsylvania Historical Markers…. The new markers, selected from 48 applications, will be added to the nearly 2,300 blue-with-gold-lettering signs along roads and streets throughout Pennsylvania.”
The article also notes Night of the Living Dead as “the first nationally successful feature film from Pittsburgh.”
Romero’s legacy lives on through the efforts of The George Romero Foundation. In 2018, a detailed bust was created to commemorate the filmmaker’s passing and the 40th anniversary of Dawn of the Dead. The bust can be found on display at Pittsburgh’s Monroeville Mall, which served as that film’s central setting.
What is your favorite George Romero movie? Let us know in the comments.