While American Horror Story: Coven recently decided to remind people that zombies have a wide and varied history, horror cinema and television prefer to believe that George Romero‘s version of the undead is the biblical truth. A bulk of fiction would rather remember things as Night of the Living Dead intended for them to be learned. As it happens, Mr. Romero is not all that pleased with what is arguably the most popular iteration of the zom-genre he helped create, AMC’s The Walking Dead. And let me tell you something: his words ain’t exactly blasphemy, people.
Speaking with Big Issue, Romero claims we could have all watched some episodes that he scripted, had he been interested enough.
“They asked me to do a couple of episodes of The Walking Dead but I didn’t want to be a part of it,” he said, before dropping the big guns. “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.” I’ll get on board with that assertion right now, as the televised version of the undead has even less social relevance than that of Robert Kirkman’s comic book source material. If every single episode is essentially far worse than Romero’s best films, lacking all of their satirical and emotional edge, then what’s the point?
He acknowledges that he never referred to his undead creatures as zombies, saying, “I never thought they were zombies. To me, 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.” It’s worth pointing out that both Kirkman and the AMC series also avoid use of the word zombie, though Romero doesn’t offer them credit for that fact.
The zombie godfather didn’t just nitpick on The Walking Dead, as he also had a few words for the speed demon zombies of Marc Forster’s World War Z. “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!”
So, Romero basically called out two wildly popular forms of entertainment that don’t readily refer to their threats as zombies. We’re not going to criticize him too heavily for this, as no one, especially not Zack Snyder, can make Dawn of the Dead a better horror movie. But maybe he could shit on the plethora of extremely crappy zombie cinema out there.
But seriously, how awesome could a Romero-scripted episode of The Walking Dead be? Somebody talk him into this.