Perhaps the most recent example of the relevance of "The night of the living dead" in the horror film is the much criticized "Bird box: blind", in which Sandra Bullock survives blindfolded to a mysterious plague that leads to people to commit suicide. In the film, the character of Bullock hides in a house next to a group of survivors. There they find out by the news of what happens outside and, according to the fear and the oppression of the encierro they grow, the problems between them begin. Any follower of George A. Romero will have discovered the similarities between the debut film by the father of the zombie cinema and this film by Susanne Bier.
In any case, it is probable that Romero would have given his blessing to Bier's unofficial inspiration in his work, since his was also the result of a kind of appropriation. The filmmaker, who died of cancer six months ago and whose date of birth was chosen to celebrate Zombie Pride Day, was based on Richard Matheson's novel "Soy leyenda" to create the film that introduced the undead to the big screen. In fact, the book talks about vampires, and Romero's success was in replacing him with hungry cannibals coming out of his
graves in search of fresh food.
Romero, John Russo and Russell Streiner, with whom he had set up a production company, raised just over $ 100,000 and, armed with chocolate syrup to simulate the blood and entrails of sheep to recreate the scenes in which the zombies eat human flesh, They started shooting in Pittsburgh, where the trio lived and had studied at Carnegie Mellon University. "The Night of the Living Dead" premiered on October 1, 1968 and was an immediate success for critics and audiences.
The iconography created by Romero -whose father was a Spanish raised between Cuba and the Bronx- in that first film, as well as in the five others that followed him, would be the basis of all the films and series of zombies that still sweep at the box office and in television ratings, from "The Walking Dead" to the aforementioned "Bird box", where although the "bad guys" are not zombies, they have some of their qualities: that crazy look and the superhuman ability to survive bullets and blows.
But not everything is cannibalism and immortality in this genre. His followers defend that, as in science fiction and fantasy, zombie horror movies are an excellent setting for social criticism. In fact, that's how "Dawn of the Dead" came about, sequel to "The Night of the Living Dead", which came ten years after this and in which Romero and Dario Argento, with whom he wrote the script, wanted to make a criticism of consumerism.
"I knew some people who were building a big mall in Pennsylvania, the first one we saw in the area. I went to meet him before it opened and I saw the trucks coming in, bringing to this building everything a person could want in life. There was the concept: it seemed a temple of consumerism. I started writing the script. It was then that I realized that I could use the zombies, that they would give me the opportunity to do a bit of social criticism, "Romero explained in a 2013 interview with" Little White Lies. "
Beyond the cinema, the passion that the zombies awaken – that constantly reminds us of our mortality and revives the latent fear of what will come later – has moved, as far as possible, to reality. Around the world, and Spain is not the exception, events such as Survival Zombie, a kind of zombie-themed gymkhana in which people who sign up, who usually have the role of humans (but can also be zombies, and makeup is included in the price of the ticket), have to make a series of tests by the city or town while the living dead pursue and attack. The next one to be held in Madrid will be on February 23, in Cenicientos.