Don't kid yourself: George A. Romero is a living legend. The 70 year-old filmmaker maintains a kind of independent status, not particularly affiliated with Hollywood, and still representing Pittsburgh whenever possible. He has his own distinct style, which runs through all his films, and he always manages something more in his work than just gore and scares. At least two of his films belong on the list of the greatest movies ever made, Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Dawn of the Dead (1978), and several more are on the list of underrated and overlooked classics, including, but not limited to the quasi-vampire film Martin (1977). One would think that Romero's more recent films, including his new Survival of the Dead, reveal a downfall in his work, but it's always a mistake to assume this, especially since the early films have had plenty of time to simmer, and the new films have not. (The same assumption is usually made about Orson Welles.) While the response to Survival so far has not been exactly enthusiastic, I like it very much. It's a fun combination of totally loopy and intermittently brilliant, employing a bizarre cross-section of genres (Westerns, sea pictures, "feud" films, cartoons, etc.). And even if I hadn't liked it, don't think I would pass up a chance to sit down with a living legend. (The new film opens May 28.)

[The interview begins after the jump.]