1. Romero’s zombies don’t eat brains. “I’ve never had a zombie eat a brain! I don’t know where that comes from,” he told Vanity Fair. “Who says zombies eat brains?”
2. Romero didn’t even call his undead characters zombies in his first movie. “When I did Night of the Living Dead,” he told About.com, “I called them ghouls, flesh-eaters. I didn’t think they were. Back then zombies were still those boys in the Caribbean doing the wet work for Lugosi. So I never thought of them as zombies. I thought they were just back from the dead.”
3. Romero doesn’t watch The Walking Dead. “I love the books,” he said to io9.com. “I haven’t seen any of the episodes.”
4. Romero has had it with people asking him about zombies. When asked by eatsleeplkivefilm.com if he is tired of zombie queries he said, “Yes. But you know what are you going to do?”
5. Romero wears his famous thick-rimmed black glasses mostly for show these days. “I don’t need them anymore. I mean I don’t need them to read, I mean these are bifocals. I used to need them for reading and for middle-distance. Now I’m a little fuzzy on the long-distance, but I guess that all turned around with old age, so I don’t need for these reading but I’m thinking of just taking the lenses out, because I’ve got to wear them for photographs; everybody says, ‘Where’s your glasses?’“
6. Romero wears Goliath brand glasses. From barimavox.blogspot.ca: “The Goliath is favoured by famed horror filmmaker and Grandfather of the Zombie, George A. Romero and worn by Elliot Gould in the Ocean’s 11 trilogy and Robert De Niro in Casino, as well as by the late flamboyant actor and game show host Charles Nelson Reilly.”
7. Quentin Tarantino says the “A” in George A. Romero stands for “A fucking genius,” when actually it stands for Andrew.
8. Romero calls the 1951 Michael Powell film The Tales of Hoffman, “the movie that made me want to make movies. I was dragged kicking and screaming by an aunt and uncle. I wanted to go see the new Tarzan; the new Lex Barker movie to see how he stacked up against Weissmuller and they said, ‘No! We’re going to see this,’ and I fell in love with it. It’s just beautiful. Completley captivating. It’s all sung. It’s all opera. It’s not like The Red Shoes where there is a story running through it and then Léonide Massine does a ballet at the end. I just fell in love with it from the pop.”
9. Romero is of Cuban and Lithuanian descent. His father was Cuban-born of Castilian Spanish parentage, his mother Lithuanian-American.
10. At age 19 he worked as a gofer on the set of Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest but was unimpressed with the director’s mechanical and passionless directorial style. He was there for the train station scene shot in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. Also among the onlookers was future It’s Alive director Larry Cohen.
Welcome to the House of Crouse. This week the late, great George A. Romero puts an end to one of the most enduring film legends of all time. Then the former Vice President of the United States drops by to discuss his new documentary “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power” and what to do when it gets so hot the street starts to melt. Stop by and sit a spell, it’s good stuff. Also, there is a great pun inhere somewhere about the pairing of the Zombie King and a man named Gore, but we are too tasteful to make it.
Welcome to the House of Crouse. World War Z, Zombie Women of Satan and The Walking Dead owe a debt of gratitude to Night of the Living Dead. In 1968, the story of story of people trapped in a rural Pennsylvania farmhouse trying to survive an attack by reanimated ghouls dragged a bloody new horror genre into the marketplace. The film was directed by George A. Romero, man a kind and gentle man who became known as the King of the Zombies. He passed away this weekend at the too young age of 77. The House of Crouse pays tribute to the great man.
Movies like World War Z, Zombie Women of Satan and this weekend’s comedy-horror Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse — the story of three Scouts who must bond to save their town from a zombie outbreak — owe a debt of gratitude to Night of the Living Dead. In 1968, the story of story of people trapped in a rural Pennsylvania farmhouse trying to survive an attack by reanimated ghouls dragged a bloody new horror genre into the marketplace.
For better (see Re-Animator) and for worse (see Zombie Nightmare) the movie Rex Reed called “a classic” has spawned almost five decades of brain eating and head explosions, but according to the film’s co-author John Russo, the origin of the idea was anything but sinister.
“Sometime in the winter of 1966 George Romero and I were having lunch with Richard Ricci,” says Russo, then a co-partner with Romero and Russell Streiner (who has the film’s most famous line, “They’re coming to get you, Barbara!”) in The Latent Image, a commercial television production house.
“George and I were complaining about the fickleness of our commercial clients. Richard said, ‘So why don’t you do something about it?’ I thought about it and said, ‘We oughtta be able to make something better than the crap we see on Chiller Theater.’
“George right away got excited, slammed the table with his big hand, sending bottles and glasses flying, and yelled, ‘We’re gonna make a movie!’”
The two batted around several ideas. One, titled Monster Flick, was a horror comedy about teenage aliens, while another focused on flesh eating aliens.
“But we quickly discovered that we could not afford all the necessary special effects,” he says, so the writing continued.
“We’d go to work late at night in separate offices, at separate typewriters,” says Russo. “I said right away that our story should start in a cemetery because folks found cemeteries spooky. I was working on a script that started in a cemetery and involved aliens coming to earth in search of human flesh. But George took a break at Christmas time and came back with half of a story that started in a cemetery, and was in essence what became the first half of Night of the Living Dead. There were all the proper twists and turns and a lot of excitement, but George never said who the attackers were or why they were attacking.
“I said, ‘I like this, George, but who are these attackers? You never say.’ And he said he didn’t know. So I said, ‘It seems to me they could be dead people. But why are they attacking? What are they after?’ Again, he said he didn’t know. So I said, ‘Why don’t we use my flesh-eating idea?’ And he agreed. “So that’s how the modern flesh-eating zombies were born!”
These days it doesn’t take a lot of braaaaaaaaaaaaaaaains to see the legacy of Night of the Living Dead. The ghoulish story is considered a classic, has spawned comedies like the box office hit Zombieland and hit television shows like The Walking Dead.
“We were absolutely dedicated toward making a movie that was true to its premise and the motivations of its characters, from start to finish,” says Russo, adding, “[the movie] struck a primal chord in everybody, perhaps because of the atavistic memory of our species as easy prey for wild beasts, which we were for most of human history. We all carry the deep-seated fear of being devoured.”
Read about the documentary series “Reelside” at Dork Shelf!
“I think that the series is really beautiful, if you look at them all together, which you’ll be able to do once they’ve all had their first run on TMN, you’ll see as you go though VOD and see them all together just how beautifully they fit together.” says Crouse, “I like to think of them like Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, they all look a little different, they all have a slightly different point of view, but they feel like a series. That was the important thing to all of us.”
From “Fangoria” editor Chris Alexander: “Now screening on Canadian pay television is REELSIDE , a new 6-part series executive produced by veteran Toronto film critic and journalist Richard Crouse in which key Canadian performers and artists explore the creative mechanisms of their similarly Northern based colleagues. In the first beautifully shot installment, David Cronenberg favorite Sarah Gadon joined forces with Cronenberg’s photographer daughter Caitlin on an art project, and future episodes will see the likes of Seth Rogen and Bruce McDonald also discussing their own processes and struggles to make their voices heard.
“But for FANGORIA readers, it’s the second installment that stands as the most interesting…” Read the whole thing HERE!
– Each episode of REELSIDE offers an insider view of the creative process –
– Featuring Sarah Gadon, Caitlin Cronenberg, George A. Romero, Evan Goldberg, Seth Rogen, Don McKellar, Bruce McDonald, Stephen Amell, Michael Hogan, and more –
May 21, 2015
TORONTO (May 21, 2015) – The Movie Network goes behind the scenes of the creative process with REELSIDE, a new six-part, half-hour original documentary series that celebrates the stories of prominent Canadians both in front of and behind the camera. Debuting Thursday, June 4 at 9 p.m. ET on The Movie Network, each episode follows filmmakers on a unique journey, such as Sarah Gadon who partners with Caitlin Cronenberg on a photography project, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen who share experiences about being Canadian boys in Hollywood, and Matthew Hannam who sets off with mentors Don McKellar and Bruce McDonald on a classically Canadian road trip.
Following the premiere episode of REELSIDE, featuring Sarah Gadon and Caitlin Cronenberg, is a special presentation of the Canadian feature film, Enemy, starring Gadon and Jake Gyllenhaal.
“From exploring road movies in an RV in Northern Ontario to the streets of Toronto with horror icon George A. Romero, REELSIDE captures honest, behind-the-scenes moments with some of this country’s biggest names in entertainment,” said Tracey Pearce, Senior Vice-President, Specialty and Pay, Bell Media. “Visually and creatively, this is Canadiana at its finest and a must-see for fans of great storytelling.”
REELSIDE is a production from Fifth Ground Entertainment in association with The Movie Network and Movie Central. Executive Producers are Richard Crouse, Raj Panikkar, and Christopher Szarka. Producers are Szarka and Panikkar. Directors are Sarah Gadon, Philip Riccio, Taylor Clarke, Matthew Hannam, Matthew Lochner, and Raj Panikkar. For Bell Media, Lisa Gotlieb and Tina Apostolopoulos. Corrie Coe is Senior Vice-President, Independent Production, Bell Media. Tracey Pearce is Senior Vice-President, Specialty and Pay, Bell Media. Phil King is President – CTV, Sports and Entertainment Programming.
Ep 101 – Caitlin Cronenberg with Sarah Gadon Premieres Thursday, June 4 at 9 p.m. ET
Commissioned by an Italian fashion magazine for a photography project, celebrated photographer Caitlin Cronenberg and actor Sarah Gadon (Maps to the Stars) travel to Bruce Peninsula National Park. This episode explores how the pair connected amidst the Hollywood and Fashion machine, and issues of image-making, film, and fashion. Sarah Gadon’s directorial debut.
Ep 102 – Philip Riccio with George A. Romero Premieres Thursday, June 11 at 9 p.m. ET
Actor Philip Riccio (REPUBLIC OF DOYLE) goes behind the camera to explore filmmaking in the pre-digital era with his mentor, horror film icon George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead, Creepshow). Together, they remake one of Romero’s lost films. Romero guides Phil through 16mm filmmaking, reminiscing about his long career along the way.
Ep 103 –Evan Goldberg with Seth Rogen and Matthew Bass Premieres Thursday, June 18 at 9 p.m. ET
This episode catches Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen in LA on the set of big budget comedy Neighbors and at the premiere of their more personal project, This is the End. On the crux of the next big step forward in their careers, they share their journey from Canadian boys to making it big in Hollywood. Meanwhile, the pair guide rising talent Matt Bass through an endless string of rejections.
Ep 104 – Science Fiction Premieres Thursday, June 25 at 9 p.m. ET
Vincenzo Natali (Cube) takes audiences through a demonstration of world building, from conceptualizing a project from scratch to a fully realized creation. Graeme Manson (ORPHAN BLACK), Michael Hogan (BATTLESTAR GALACTICA), Astronaut and Space-X Engineer Garrett Reisman, and film critic Jesse Wente all weigh in on the genre and the critical point at which science meets fiction.
Ep 105 – Don McKellar and Bruce McDonald Premieres Thursday, July 2 at 9 p.m. ET
Accomplished editor Matthew Hannam (SENSITIVE SKIN) sets off to Northern Ontario with his mentors, Don McKellar (SENSITIVE SKIN) and Bruce McDonald (Hard Core Logo), to create a documentary about their careers. Along the way, the two legends explore the iconic power of the Canadian road movie.
Ep 106 – Superheroes Premieres Thursday, July 9 at 9 p.m. ET
Emerging filmmaker Matthew Lochner is on a journey to create his own superhero concept, complete with a trailer. Along the way, Matthew enlists the help of Stephen Amell (ARROW), David Hayter (X-Men), and Lloyd Kaufman (The Troma Empire) to understand what it means to be a superhero, what’s behind the genre, and what it means to fans while uncovering glimpses of what drives them in their careers.