Written by John Edward Betancourt
There are few directors in this world that to me, are master storytellers. It's not an insult to the men and women that work hard to make great films, it's just that, there are people who truly understand motion pictures and are able to put together an incredible film time and time again. One of the directors that I firmly believe has that magic touch when it comes to movies is who we will be talking about at length today, George A. Romero.
Romero is of course best known for completely updating and evolving the zombie genre with his groundbreaking film, Night of the Living Dead, but his work goes far beyond turning the dead into a pop culture phenomenon. He has managed to touch multiple genres in his career, from fantasy films grounded in reality like Knightriders to even trying his hand at a serious drama with his mostly forgotten film, There's Always Vanilla. But Romero's finest work always comes when he tries to terrify us and I'd thought I'd take a few minutes today to talk about what makes his work so incredibly vibrant.
First and foremost, he has a unique and appealing visual style as a director that is fluidic and engrossing. Every shot that Romero puts together is a feast for the eyes. You'll find all kinds of motion within the frame, bringing multiple dimensions to his films. But what matters most is his ability to make you feel as though you're not watching a film. His cuts are oh so quick and done in such a smooth fashion that you never quite notice it. It allows the viewer a comfortable experience, which is a good thing because well...the man knows how to scare the hell out of you.
He is able to do that, because of the fact he is a master storyteller. Romero's greatest strength is his writing because of how uniquely he crafts a story and a screenplay. His work is designed to be completely accessible to anyone who watches it. A great example of this is the Dead saga. All six films are connected, but you wouldn't know it if you picked up Diary of the Dead as your first Romero zombie film to watch. He is also a master of making sure there is something that appeals to everyone in his films. In fact he is the only writer I am aware of that can craft a screenplay that leaves you thinking and purely entertains you all at once. If you want to just kick back and enjoy the ride you can, but all the while are engrossing concepts about our humanity, waiting to be discovered. But when it comes to the scares, George preys upon our most primal fears. Death, our loss of identity and even what it means to lose one's mind are some of his common themes and when he brings those fears to the screen, they reach the darkest parts of our soul and leave us shivering in terror.
He truly is a master of horror and a master of film and the fact that we are still discussing his work speaks to this fact. Because the greatest test of film is the test of time and Romero's movies are in fact timeless, since they were truly ahead of the game, recognizing conflicts in mankind that were yet to arrive or still plague us today and I certainly hope we get more from George before he decides to retire, after all, it would be quite the achievement to see the Dead saga find an ending, and see what incredible part of our psyche he can uncover next.