Vanity Fair has posted an awesome interview with George Romero about all things Zombies. What’s surprising to me is that Romero’s zombies have always been just that, reanimated corpses that walk around looking for a nice piece of living human to gnaw on. If you look at the zombie genre, they’ve always been seen as representative of something, whether it be Communism (Night of the Living Dead) or couch potatoes (Shaun of the Dead). Well, apparently not:
Eric Spitznagel: To paraphrase Freud, sometimes things have symbolism and sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Are the zombies in your movies always a metaphor, or are they sometimes just bloodthirsty walking corpses?
George Romero: To me, the zombies have always just been zombies. They’ve always been a cigar. When I first made Night of the Living Dead, it got analyzed and overanalyzed way out of proportion. The zombies were written about as if they represented Nixon’s Silent Majority or whatever. But I never thought about it that way. My stories are about humans and how they react, or fail to react, or react stupidly. I’m pointing the finger at us, not at the zombies. I try to respect and sympathize with the zombies as much as possible. (Laughs.)
It’s also obvious that Romero still loves what he’s doing:
So you’d never watch one of your movies and point to a random zombie and say, “That guy in the tie? His name’s Fred, he used to work in real estate, and he died of melanoma at 48.”
(Laughs.) That would be great! But no, I’ve never done that. There were a few zombies that were memorable. I really liked the helicopter pilot in Dawn of the Dead, when he gets bitten and comes out of the elevator. That guy was amazing. He did this incredible walk that we didn’t even know about until we started shooting. And I also have a soft spot for Bub from Day of the Dead, which was a brilliant performance, worthy of Boris Karloff. But that’s pretty much it.
At any rate, it’s a great interview and as always, Romero is thought provoking and a lot of fun.
George Romero’s latest movie, Survival of the Dead, was released May 28th, 2010. Here’s the trailer, please note, it’s a red band, so no peaking if you’re under the age of 18.