Every George A. Romero Movie, Ranked From 'Dawn of the Dead' to 'The Crazies'
You'll be hard-pressed to find a more influential horror filmmaker than George Romero. It's not everyone who can claim credit for inventing an entire genre. Now it's time to honor the late, great legend by ranking each of the 16 films he directed over the course of his undead career.
16. 'There's Always Vanilla' (1971)
Romero's name is so synonymous with horror that it comes as a shock to many fans to learn that he once directed a romantic comedy. Unfortunately, there's a reason he never returned to that particular genre. Even Romero frequently voiced his displeasure with this ultra low-budget, unsatisfying love story.
14. 'The Dark Half' (1993)
While Romero found great success teaming with Stephen king for 1982's "Creepshow," that magic didn't quite carry over to this adaptation of King's novel about a writer tormented by a pseudonym come to life. Timothy Hutton delivers an interestign dual role performance here, but the film is too plodding and not nearly frightening enough.
14. 'Survival of the Dead' (2009)
"Survival of the Dead" is both Romero's final zombie movie and final project in general. Sadly, it's not the swan song we would have wanted. While "Survival" shows the same sense of humor that characterizes Romero's latter-day zombie movies, it doesn't really stand out or do anything new with the genre.
13. 'Monkey Shines' (1988)
"Monkey Shines" was Romero's first studio picture, a fact which proved to be the film's undoing. You can sense some of that trademark Romero charm in this quirky tale about a paralyzed athlete who befriends a super-intelligent helper monkey. Unfortunately, Romero's clashes with the studio resulted in a haphazard mess of a horror film.
12. 'Two Evil Eyes' (1990)
"Two Evil Eyes" pairs Romero with fellow horror luminary Dario Argento, with each director adapting a different classic tale from Edgar Allan Poe. That sounds like a match made in heaven. Unfortunately, Argento's portion of the film greatly overshadows Romero's more pedestrian "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar."
11. 'Diary Of The Dead' (2007)
"Diary of the Dead" hit during peak found footage mania, with Romero using the format to put a fresh spin on a familiar genre. "Diary" isn't subtle by any stretch, but it allows Romero to do what he does best -- combine zombies with social satire to hilarious, horrifying effect.
10. 'Season of the Witch' (1973)
As Romero's attempt at making a self-described "feminist film," "Season of the Witch" was very much ahead of its time. It doesn't help that the distributor originally recut it as a soft-core porn movie called "Hungry Wives." But despite the film's cheap production values, it works as a supernatural take on "The Stepford Wives."
9. 'Knightriders' (1981)
"Knightriders" is easily one of the strangest entries in the Romero canon, but that strangeness is also the source of its off-kilter charm. How many other directors would even attempt to make a movie about a motorcycle gang masquerading as Renaissance faire jousters? Beneath the weird trappings, though, the film actually has a very personal message the clash between an artist's need for financial success and their desire to pursue their art on their terms.
8. 'Land of the Dead' (2005)
Romero finally returned to the genre he basically created in this 2005 film. While not as novel or influential as Romero's earlier "Dead" films, "Land of the Dead" showed what was possible when Romero had a real, studio-level budget to work with. It was fun seeing him kick ass with a big budget.
7. 'Bruiser' (2000)
Romero proved he still had something special to bring to the horror genre as the 21st Century loomed. This underlooked gem cast Jason Flemyng as a spineless corporate drone who snaps and becomes a ruthless killer after his face transforms into a featureless mask. You really can;t go wrong with a Romero film that features a Misfits soundtrack and Peter Stormare as a slimy boss.
6. 'Day of the Dead' (1985)
The final part of Romero's original zombie trilogy is definitely the weakest, but that doesn't really say a whole lot. "Day" offers a bleak look at the zombie apocalypse, with a ragtag band of humans holed up in a military bunker while endless hordes of the undead wait outside. Better than most zombie movies, it begs the question of whether zombies or humankind are the true monsters.
5. 'Creepshow' (1982)
George Romero and Stephen King are two great tastes that taste great together. This anthology film takes its cues from classic horror comics and focuses as much on humor as delivering scares. But despite the often goofy approach, "Creepshow" also contains some of the most unsettling sequences in horror movie history.
4. 'The Crazies' (1973)
"The Crazies" plays like a thematic sequel to "Night of the Living Dead." While it substitutes a viral epidemic for a zombie outbreak, it's equally concerned with exploring what happens when civilization breaks down and ordinary people fight for their very survival. It's definitely a must-watch for any Romero fanatic.
3. 'Martin' (1978)
As much as Romero's name has become synonymous with zombie horror, he also crafted one of the great (albeit underappreciated) vampire movies of the 20th Century. This clever spin on the genre follows a protagonist who believes himself to be a vampire. It's a film that shows just how far Romero had come as a director and storyteller in the ten years since "Night of the Living Dead."
2. 'Night of the Living Dead' (1968)
This is the film that singlehandedly birthed the zombie genre as we know it today. "Night of the Living Dead" continues to resonate because it combines a terrifying premise with a captivating look at what happens when a group of desperate survivors are holed up in a house together.
1. 'Dawn of the Dead' (1978)
Throughout his career, Romero was preoccupied with two things -- zombies and the futility of capitalistic society. "Dawn of the Dead" is a perfect storm of both elements. It delivers plenty of terrific zombie horror, but it works equally well as a satire of consumer-driven American culture. More than any zombie movie before or since, "Dawn of the Dead" shows us that humanity will always be its own worst enemy.