George A. Romero, the maverick independent filmmaker who changed the movie industry forever with his low-budget, high grossing 1968 film "Night of the Living Dead", has passed away at age 77 from lung cancer. Romero represented the true "guerilla filmmaker" when he and his partners cobbled together the meager production budget for "Night of the Living Dead", which was shot locally in Pittsburgh, where Romero had attended college, and used non-seasoned actors in starring roles. The movie, shot in B&W, quickly became infamous for its unprecedented grisly depiction of flesh eating zombies preying upon people trapped in a remote country house. Most critics were aghast but audiences responded with enthusiasm. Romero's film inspired a generation of young horror moviemakers but although it grossed many millions in profits, a snafu regarding the copyright prevented Romero and his investors from fully capitalizing on the phenomenal success of the movie. It was a mistake he would not make again. Romero would go on to make other zombie movies, all with much higher budgets and the copyright situation carefully paid attention to. He also occasionally directed other horror films for mainstream studios including the cult hit "Creepshow" in 1982 that was inspired by the E.C. horror comic books of the 1950s. Romero's manager confirmed that Romero passed away in an almost manner far removed from the world of horror movies: he was listening to Victor Young's score for "The Quiet Man" .
For more about Romero and tributes from film industry colleagues, click here.
Here is the full length feature film "Night of the Living Dead".