George Andrew Romero is basically the godfather of the zombie movie, one of the most popular horror sub-genres ever. In 1968, he directed Night of the Living Dead on a bare-bones budget, and he followed that up with Dawn of the Dead, Land of the Dead and many more.
However, in spite of his cult status, Romero has recently struggled to secure funding for his films due to the current cinematic climate.
He wants his works to have a deeper meaning aside from pure ‘shock’ or ‘fear’ factor (in fact Night of the Living Dead, since its release, has been read by critics as a commentary on consumerism in 1960s America, as well as a critique of racism and an allegory of the Vietnam War), but the studios disagree.
In an interview with Indiewire, the horror maestro said: ‘because of “World War Z” and “The Walking Dead,” I can’t pitch a modest little zombie film, which is meant to be sociopolitical.
‘I used to be able to pitch them on the basis of the zombie action, and I could hide the message inside that. Now, you can’t. The moment you mention the word “zombie,” it’s got to be, “Hey, Brad Pitt paid $400 million to do that.’
He says that in the aftermath of The Walking Dead especially, ‘you couldn’t a zombie film that had any sort of substance. It had to be a zombie film with just zombies wreaking havoc. That’s not what I’m about.’
He also said that he didn’t think Night of the Living Dead would get made if it were pitched today: ‘It has to be under the wire… The only way you could make a film like this is to hide the message — unless it’s a message that is currently acceptable. You cannot pitch an idea the way I did. It would not get financed.’