is the Godfather of zombies, bringing the undead flesh-eaters into the public consiousness with his seminal Night of the Living Dead (1968). Zombies are once more front and center of our cultural zeitgeist thanks to the phenomenal success of AMC's zompocalypse drama The Walking Dead, but it seems that Romero is not particularly impressed with the smash-hit show.
In an interview with the Big Issue, Romero admitted that he'd been asked to do a couple of episodes on the show but turned them down:
They asked me to do a couple of episodes of The Walking Dead but I didn’t want to be a part of it. 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 agree with Romero about the symbolism of the zombie in fiction. From his early work, where the undead could be read as a fear of communism, the Red Menace and nuclear annihilation, to Shaun of the Dead's comment on consumerism and the apathy of the young, a great zombie story is about more than ghouls eating brains.
But while TWD doesn't use the walkers as a cultural comment as much as Romero did, the show often explores human nature in times of hardship and the balance that has to be struck between survival at any costs and morality.
What do you think about Romero's comments? Is he right to criticize TWD?