George Romero Blames ‘Walking Dead’ for Trouble Funding Zombie Films
The zombie genre wouldn’t exist without Dawn of the Dead creator George Romero laying post-apocalyptic track, so leave it to those darn spiritual descendants to muck it all up. Romero claims his Road of the Dead has had a difficult … uh, path, given the ubiquity of The Walking Dead these days.
Where previously Romero pointed to Brad Pitt and World War Z for the Hollywood-ization of zombie drama, the revered filmmaker expanded on his comments with IndieWire to suggest that today’s prevalent undead makes funding scarce. Not only that, but modern zombie dramas lack the political edge his films would often include:
I harbor a lot of resentment … I used to be the only guy on the zombie playground, and unfortunately Brad Pitt and ‘The Walking Dead’ have made it Hollywood-ized. I was ready to do another one, a $2-3 million one, and nobody will finance a zombie film now … It’s not really resentment. I’ve had a terrific run … But mine have always been political. It’s not gore, it’s not just horror — I’ve always tried to put a little something in there. I felt that I almost found a niche, but it was bound to happen. There was no way to prevent that from happening.
In fact, fellow horror-master John Carpenter has previously accused The Walking Dead of simply stealing Romero’s process:
[The Walking Dead] was a movie that George Romero made back in 1968. And they have milked that, and they are still milking it.
The Mad Max meets Ben-Hur vibe of Road of the Dead still doesn’t have full funding (driving zombies, come on!), but the inevitable trip to Fantasia International Film Festival may change that. Has The Walking Dead nonetheless made an apocalypse of the apocalypse genre?