George A. Romero is among the most beloved horror filmmakers in history, known for his vastly influential Night of the Living Dead series which changed the genre forever. Often referred to as the “father of zombie films”, Romero’s contributions to the history of horror cinema will always remain important for future generations of artists who continue to draw inspiration from his body of work.
Cinema was a major part of Romero’s life during his formative years as well and he would often use the subway to go and get film reels for personal screenings at his house. According to the reports that have survived, Romero and Martin Scorsese were the only two people who repeatedly rented the films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.
Romero’s vision of horror cinema is a highly satirical and complex one, often diving deep into the contemporary issues through allegorical tales such as zombie apocalypses. Throughout his career, the auteur often investigated omnipresent cultural phenomenons such as consumerism and other political issues through his films.
In an interview, Romero once explained: “It’s like in the US; the politics now are just ridiculous. We’re all shooting at each other. That’s one of my big concerns about society in general and I guess that’s why it always creeps in. Often a lot of these things are unconscious until it’s finally on the page and you are out there staging it, shooting it and really thinking about it. It comes out in the process.”
The horror film that remained embedded in this mind through the years was a 1951 cult classic called The Thing from Another World. According to Romero, it was the first film that actually terrified him as a child and introduced him to the horror experience even though he was more influenced by Orson Welles as well as Powell and Pressburger.
Recalling some of the cinematic masterpieces he watched during his childhood, Romero said: “The Thing from Another World was the first movie that really scared me. But the one that made me want to make movies was The Tales of Hoffman. That’s my favourite film of all time. It’s a fantasy film. It’s an opera. I never get tired of it.”
A fascinating sci-fi horror flick, The Thing from Another World is better known through the more celebrated adaptation helmed by John Carpenter. When Romero was asked to name his five favourite films of all time by Rotten Tomatoes, this was the only horror film he included in his eclectic list of top picks.