George Romero
George Romero, who made the excellent and highly influential Night of the Living Dead, has another film on the way. Unfortunately, his ambitions have far outweighed his abilities over the years, S. T. Karnick writes.

Filmmaker George Romero has had exactly one good idea in his life: the original, 1968 zombie film Night of the Living Dead. Since then, he has been coasting on a reputation as a maker of smarter than average horror films. Although he has made some good movies since Night of the Living Dead, few of his films have above par for the horror genre, and the average quality of horror films in the decades since his breakthrough movie is a very low bar to surpass.

In particular, Romero has revisited the zombie film in quite a few movies over the years, usually providing the press with some serious intellectual/social/political commentary his latest film is supposed to make. So it is once again with his new film, the Venice Film Festival entry Survival of the Dead. Reuters reports that Romero, age 69, said his new film deals with questions about when it’s right to go to war:

"I wasn’t looking at Iraq and saying, well, lets make a movie about Iraq," Romero told reporters on Wednesday.

"It’s much more about man’s underlying inability to forget enmity, forget their enemies even long after they’ve forgotten what started the conflict in the first place.

"I think that part of the problem is that nobody looks at both sides of any issue, it’s automatically: I’m on this side or I’m on that side."

There’s nothing dishonorable in being a hack filmmaker; truly accomplished hacks can make enjoyable movies. But hack filmmakers with big ideas just become increasingly worse bores as the years wear on. Their vapid nattering reminds one of . . . zombies.

–S. T. Karnick