Rest in Peace, George A. Romero (and a Brief Appreciation of "Creepshow")
The last few years have been brutal for celebrity deaths, from musicians like Prince and David Bowie to actors like Harold Ramis and Gene Wilder. All of them were icons in my eyes, but the death of George A. Romero yesterday hit me a lot harder than I thought it would. Reading an obituary reminded me of how ended up where I am, as a huge fan of horror films. It wasn't always that way though.
For me, Romero was one of the most important parts of me becoming a horror fan. I tried watching horror movies when I was too young a lot, and I scared myself off from the genre. I watched Jaws when I was eight years old and I didn’t sleep for a couple of days. I tried to watch The Thing when I was twelve and when the thing’s body bag started moving in the foreground of a shot I turned it off and barely slept.
I stayed away from horror, until I started hearing about Creepshow. This is where I have to give credit to James Rolfe (also known as the "Angry Video Game Nerd) and his series of videos “Monster Madness,” where Rolfe would review a horror film every day of October. I saw clips of Creepshow then and I was captivated by the odd colors, the humor, everything. I was about fifteen then, and I decided I would give it a try.
I was absolutely floored by it. The tagline for Creepshow is “The Most Fun You’ll Ever Have Being Scared!,” and goddamn does that accurately sum it up. It never occurred to me that horror could be fun without becoming outright parody, and Romero taught me that. There's a lot to unpack in terms of the five segments that Creepshow presents, from a Father's Day gone wrong to a fluffy beast in a box, but I'll write about more about Creepshow another time. I want to focus more on the effect Creepshow had on me.
After Creepshow gave me a renewed confidence and understanding of horror, I watched so many more horror films and learned how broad and fascinating the genre truly is in the hands of masters. I would never have become a fan of David Cronenberg (who is literally one of my personal favorite filmmakers), Sam Raimi, and many many more without discovering Creepshow. Maybe I would have found another movie to ease me into the genre, but that’s not the point. The point is that Creepshow was THE film that sent me down the path into the horror genre in the end, so thank you so much, Mr. Romero. I’m going to miss you, but I’m never going to forget the joy you’ve brought me.
Rest in Peace.