The Original Walking Dead: How George Romero Created Zombies In 1968

By | October 18, 2019

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S. William Hinzman in 'Night of the Living Dead' (1968). Source: IMDB

Zombies are everywhere these days, from The Walking Dead to Zombieland: Double Tap, but these horror and Halloween mainstays are not the age-old phenomenon you might think. The modern idea of the zombie as a back-from-the-dead brain-eater dates back to 1968, the year Night Of The Living Dead, by zombie auteur George A. Romero, shambled into movie theaters.

The word "zombie" doesn't occur in Romero's film, nor did the director think of his monsters as zombies -- he called them "ghouls." "There were a few Universal films about ghouls and that was what was in our minds," Romero told the Irish Times. "We thought up very few rules or powers for them. The idea was they are your neighbours in a different state."

They Won't Stay Dead

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Source: IMDB

Not everything in life is cyclical, but just about everything that was once popular, will become popular again. Except for the pet rock, that’s never coming back. In the year 2000, no one was talking about zombies. Vampires, a trope that appears timeless, were very hot.

But then a movie about zombie-like infected humans called 28 Days Later (2002) became a hit. A little comic book called The Walking Dead (which premiered in 2003) found an audience. A zombie parody, Shaun Of The Dead (2004), gained a cult following. George A. Romero's original Night Of The Living Dead got a remake in 2004, directed by Zack Snyder, and Romero himself was there with Land Of The Dead (2005). The zombie infestation has been going for over a decade now.