It is one of those strange things, the ability of us to develop for an affinity for noted personalities who we will likely never have the fortune of crossing in life. As a lover of cinema, I have such a relationship with many of my favorite filmmakers.
So when one of them passes away, we reflect upon the impact their films had on our lives as a matter of our remembrances; it is our way of paying tribute …
When I heard of the passing of George A. Romero this past week, my head and my heart was filled with a general sadness afforded someone of his standing at the news of his passing as well as an overwhelming, heartfelt sentimentality as I recounted the connection he and his films had to my own life. Namely, my relationship with my dear, late father.
Poppa D. was a Romero fan and LOVED Night of the Living Dead. And while I was not always a fan of this subgenre which spawned this landmark film, watching it with my father was definitely a cornerstone of my cinematic education.
This education was about many things, chief among them –
- The aforementioned introduction (and subsequent appreciation) of the horror genre;
- The significance of the film having an African American (Duane Jones) in the chief protagonist role;
- The value and significance of independent film productions.
Of course, all of this was not always apparent to me from jump. But over the years, several hours of cinematic studies and subsequent rewatches have left Night of the Living Dead with a special place in my heart.
Imagine that, a film that prominently features flesh eating zombies is one that, when I see it on television, I have to pause and watch because it fills me with warm fuzzies and the fondest of memories.
Thanks George and may you rest in peace.