Oh no you didn’t, George Romero! The legendary horror filmmaker of “Night of the Living Dead” told a British magazine he said no to an offer to direct episodes of the AMC mega-hit “The Walking Dead” because the drama is “just a soap opera with a zombie occasionally.”
“They asked me to do a couple of episodes of ‘The Walking Dead,’ but I didn’t want to be a part of it,” Romero said in the Halloween edition of The Big Issue. “Basically it’s just a soap opera with a zombie occasionally. I always used the zombie as a character for satire or a political criticism, and I find that missing in what’s happening now.”
Romero, the father of zombie cinema whose seminal “Night of the Living Dead” is in the National Film Registry, also seems to have an issue in general with modern film and TV zombies and the pace at which they try to track down their human snacks.
“I guess Zack Snyder started that with the remake of ‘Dawn of the Dead’ — fast-moving zombies — but the zombies in ‘World War Z,’ my God, they’re like army ants! But in all the [advertisements] here, they never called it a zombie film,” Romero said.
He also never referred to his zombies as "zombies" in “Night of the Living Dead,” he pointed out. “I never thought they were zombies. To me back then, zombies were those voodoo guys who were given some sort of blowfish cocktail and became slaves. And they weren’t dead, so I thought I was doing a brand new thing by raising the dead. Not that the dead haven’t been risen before… It goes back to Jesus, doesn’t it?”
“The Walking Dead,” which airs the fourth episode of Season 4 this Sunday, certainly isn’t hurting for viewers. “Dead” is far and away the number one series on cable, and one of the top-rated series in the 18-49 demographic amongst all broadcast and cable shows.
So we’re guessing the “Dead” folks won’t take the remarks by Romero — who’s also expressed his disapproval of “The Da Vinci Code,” the level of Ron Howard’s passion for filmmaking, and “Saw III” in the past — to heart.
Still, it is fun to think about a Romero-directed adventure with Rick Grimes, Michonne, Daryl, and The Governor…
"The Walking Dead" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.