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George A. Romero On ‘World War Z’: “They Butchered [The Zombies]”

World War Z

Since George A. Romero technically gave birth to the “zombie,” it’s always interesting to hear his take on the modern undead craze.

Back in 2013, Romero publicly scrutinized AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” calling it “a soap opera with a zombie occasionally.”

Now, in a new interview with THR, he takes a shot at Brad Pitt’s World War Z.

Besides, Romero is no fan of ‘The Walking Dead,’ the hottest zombie fare on TV, or VFX-driven zombie tentpoles. “Brad Pitt was the guy that took the big bite with ‘World War Z,’ and butchered it basically…. The zombies were like army ants. It was like the remake of ‘The Naked Jungle,’ ” he said, recalling Byron Haskin’s 1954 film about a plantation overrun by a giant column of army ants that starred Charlton Heston.

You have to lost Romero’s honesty on the subject, and others. For instance, he’s never wanted to be part of the “Hollywood Mafia,” as he calls it.

Romero’s need for the creative control and innovation not possible in network TV comes from the zombie godfather long having shunned working or living in Hollywood. “I’ve stay away from Hollywood as far as possible. I made all my movies in Pittsburgh or Toronto. I’m not comfortable. I’ve never looked for a big project,” he said.

That meant being a wayward indie maverick outside the studio system, along with other industry pioneers like John Waters and actor-turned-producer and director Tony Bill (‘The Sting’). “There was that whole Hollywood mafia — [Martin] Scorsese and [Brian] De Palma. I respect them all, and I respect many of the films they made, but it’s not my cup of tea. I didn’t want to be a Hollywood guy,” Romero says.

He adds that working outside Los Angeles came in part from career success often proving fleeting in Tinseltown. “What happened to Bob Evans, or to Tony Bill? They were hot for a while, and just like everything else in Hollywood, all of a sudden you’re yesterday’s pizza,” Romero said.

Back in June it was reported that Romero would be scripting “Empire Of The Dead,” an adaptation of the 15-issue comic series that not only focused on the zombie plague but also introduced vampires into the mix. It took place mainly in New York City.



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COMMENTS

97 Comments
  • Blade

    Yeah I didn’t even finish that movie, I was watching it with some friends and like 30 minutes in I found myself mindlessly surfing the web on my phone lol and I have yet to watch an episode of Walking Dead so I cant really say anything about it.

  • Keith Bishop

    I wasn’t a huge fan when I saw it in the theater but it was much better the second time. And I love TWD. Comics, show, and TTgames. But after Day of the Dead I kinda got disinterested. I don’t like zombies that talk or use guns usually. Lol

    • GinsuVictim

      Day of the Dead, for some of us, is the favorite. The effects work STILL holds up today and characters are so over-the-top, it’s great.

      • J Jett

        i agree DAY is the best of Romero’s zombie films.

  • Tosufai

    He’s right about WWZ. Utterly pointless film and one of the most cynical exercises in film-making that I have ever seen.

  • RiesenRatte

    He’s right. I quite dislike zombies, so I don’t know romero’s work, but World War Z didn’t really have anything interesting.

    It was Brett Pit going from one location to another and then fleeing from this location with a large Shot of the Place Burning and Inception’s Orchestral “BRUUUUUMMM”.

    • GinsuVictim

      I’m so sick of every trailer these days going
      “BRUUUUUMMM!!!”
      ….fade to black….
      “BRUUUUUMMM!!!”
      ….fade to black….
      “BRUUUUUMMM!!!”

  • Scott Milkins

    I agree that World War Z was terrible. However, I don’t think Ramero is one to judge. He absolutely deserves credit for getting the ball rolling on the popular zombie genre, but what are his credentials? 1 genuine Zombie horror movie, an at times goofy, social commentary with awesome effects. A mediocre movie with a stupid plot but fantastic gore and tongue in cheek humour. Then a back catalogue of utter trash, ridiculous plots, terrible acting, effects that get worse with every movie, jumping on the POV bandwagon (granted Diary was way better than Land or any that God awful one set on an island) rehashing the same ideas over and over. Ramero does all the things he criticises and worse. You can’t own the zombie genre because you made two good movies and an okay one 30 goddamn years ago. He actively contributed to this problem as soon as Dawn got remade and he realised his cash cow was back from the dead once again and began churning out terrible movies.

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  • rs

    Watching a Romero movie is pretty much on par with watching a Uwe Boll movie. That ain’t good.

    • GinsuVictim

      Troll harder next time. We ain’t bitin’.

      • J Jett

        rs, is 100% spot on. Romero has made like 2 or 3 decent films at most.

        • GinsuVictim

          Yeah, which is 2 or 3 more than Uwe Boll. I never said Romero was perfect, because that would make me a stupid person.

          • J Jett

            Ginsu, i admit i’ve never not even once watched a Boll film. lol. even I will declare that Romero is infinitely better than what i’ve seen (trailers/clips) of Boll’s films.

  • I love the whole swarm zombie attack. It makes sense from scientific perspective (no matter how inaccurate the reasons behind it are). But if any zombies spot a victim, they are not going to politely attack it – excuse me Sir, this is my portion! They are going to attack it like a pack of vicious dogs. WWZ suffered from a watered down pg-13 version, but some moments were very tense. I want more!

  • Let’s just say, I’ll take WWZ zombies over the docile, slower-than-my-grandma Walking Dead zombies….

  • JB

    What are Romero’s credentials? Ewe Boll? What the fuck is wrong with you people? The man made 3 of the greatest zombie movies ever and The Crazies and Martin. Fuck all of you.

    • GinsuVictim

      And Creepshow!

    • Kent

      I do not question his credentials. The man is a legend. This just seems like his cranky old man side peeking out a bit. Happens to the best of us.

    • J Jett

      so the fact he’s made (according to you) 3 “good” movies means he is the god of all things horror/zombie related? um, no. the majority of his films are awful. so to quote a Rhodes Scholar….FUCK ALL OF YOU (or just you JB).

      • Ulfr Thorvaldson

        Not because he did three good movies, but he invented the idea of the modern day flesh eating zombie, if it were not for Romero, there would be no WWZ there would be no Walking Dead, before that it was all voodoo zombies and vampires. (his idea for this was inspired by Richard Matheson’s 1954 vampire novel, I Am Legend,)

        • J Jett

          Ulfr, i DO have respect for what Romero did in the genre and (in past interviews) he seems like THE nicest, most friendly guy in the world. i just think he’s not very talented. yes, just like Argento and Carpenter (Carpenter is one of my all time faves) his earlier works were pretty good (DAY is my fave) but for him to sit there trashing other people’s work/movies, when his record is not very good….it’s not only unprofessional but it’s ironic.

      • JB

        Where did I say “good”? Night, Dawn & Day Of The Dead are all GREAT movies. As is Martin. The Crazies is decent and Creepshow is dated but still pretty fun.
        I also never said he’s the God of horror/zombies but he’s responsible for introducing the modem day zombie to film. Granted I haven’t watched any of his movies since Diary Of The Dead which wasn’t good (I think Land was decent though) but who among his peers still makes great movies? Carpenter, Argento, Hooper & Craven haven’t made a good movie in at least a decade.
        Go watch your shit World War Z, I’ll stick with real non-cgi zombies.

  • Kent

    George, I love ya, but it was a re imagining of zombies. There is room for more than one interpretation.

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  • suffering

    In world war Z ,they arent zombies but INFECTED

    • Darth_Siskel

      So what does the Z stand for?

      • suffering

        its like the infected of the great series of “28 after” or “Left4dead”(not the special infected only the regular) its not a NECRO-virus

    • Stitches

      I am, too. But it’s all good. Only hurts when I pee. Don’t tell your mother.

  • Darth_Siskel

    That’s one of the (few)things I liked about WWZ that we’ve never seen in zombie movies befor. The shear number of zombies that would be around in an outbreak.
    A veritable sea of humanity coming at you.
    It was alluded to in 28Days Later through monologue, but that’s it.

    And I’m sorry George, but Empire Of The Dead is boring me.

  • J Jett

    um, no. Romero is one of the biggest hacks i’ve ever had the displeasure of seeing (his films). he’s made maybe 2 good movies in his entire career. what fucking nerve he has!!! it’s hilarious and quite pathetic how he clearly must think his SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD, DIARY OF THE DEAD, etc, etc, etc, are good films. they aren’t. they abominations and he should be embarrassed for how atrocious they are. i’ll take Pitt’s WWZ over any Romero films any day of the week.

    • JB

      Hahaha you like shitty movies

      • J Jett

        JB, Hahahahahahah. it’s easy to post a comment like the one you did and not give any examples of movies/shows you like because you know you would be vulnerable to douche bags (like yourself) putting down your examples. been sucking Romero’s dick for a while huh?

        • JB

          No, because the majority of sensible horror fans would take a Romero movie over WWZ.
          And what’s with the gay innuendo? Are you 15? Grow the fuck up, troll.
          As for what I like, favorite horror movie is The Thing. I loved It Follows. Re-Animator, Tenebrae, Martyrs, You’re Next, Evil Dead, too many more to last. I’m sure there’s shitty movies I somewhat enjoyed that could be made fun of but I would never choose one of them over say, Rosemary’s Baby.

          • Stitches

            That right there kinda confuses me. Something is a classic and is therefore a better movie? Rosemary’s Baby was influential for sure, but there are a lot of newer movies that I felt were far better executed.

          • JB

            Oh I agree that there’s newer movies that are better than RB. I was just comparing it to something I’ve seen lately that I kind of enjoyed, let’s say Unfriended. If I had to choose between the two of them it’d obviously be RB.

          • Stitches

            Roger.

          • J Jett

            JB, well i actually love every movie you listed yet i just happen to find many of Romero’s movies to be pretty amateurish. and you attacking me saying i like shitty movies simply because i don’t like many of Romero’s movies is just as immature as my comment.

          • JB

            No you just have bad taste in movies.

          • abyx34

            Oh I loved Rosemary’s Baby, it’s uniquely eerie. I also enjoyed other movies you mentioned. Have yet to see It Follows.

          • disqus_ifdgANd7Ff

            It isn’t gay innuendo with J Jett. He is an admitted dick lover.

        • disqus_ifdgANd7Ff

          You are the one that likes sucking dicks, limp wrist.

    • disqus_ifdgANd7Ff

      You’re an idiot. Besides the zombie films, Romero has made Martin, The Crazies, Knightriders, Creepshow, Monkey Shines….

      • J Jett

        and you’re a cunt. see? i can call you names too.

        • disqus_ifdgANd7Ff

          You are still an idiot.

          • J Jett

            that’s fine with me. you’re still a cunt.

          • disqus_ifdgANd7Ff

            I’m sure an idiot like yourself never personally laid eyes on one. But plenty of porn on the net so he can see what you are missing.

          • J Jett

            well i’m gay so yeah. but i’m pretty sure you’ve never seen one let alone know what one even is (other than yourself of course). understand now cunt? good! you learned something today.

          • disqus_ifdgANd7Ff

            Oh, so you’re a fruit. No wonder you treat the word cunt as a term of derision.

          • RidleyScottIsADirector@gmail.c

            Quick, tell him to get out of his mom’s basement! You didn’t forget your Internet Insult Handbook did you?

            And you get all bitchy and prancy about his use of cunt but then call him a fruit? You’re a big shit.

          • disqus_ifdgANd7Ff

            You can always suck each other dicks and feel better, Ridley.

          • RidleyScottIsADirector@gmail.c

            Bark bark bark.

        • Chris Thrasher

          Hahaha I don’t know why, but just this quick retort was funny to me. As base as it is. lol

      • Stitches

        Yeah, dude. I wasn’t gonna say shit, but the guy states his opinion and doesn’t like all the same movies you’re into, so he’s an idiot? Pretty fuckin’ arrogant, man. You probably are a cunt.

        • disqus_ifdgANd7Ff

          “I can think….”
          This is in doubt, Stiches.

          • Stitches

            So, who’s the idiot now? You misspelled my name while looking at it.

      • RidleyScottIsADirector@gmail.c

        POOPY

    • 🙁 I understand not enjoying the most two recent Dead movies, but have you ever see “Martin” or “Creepshow”…even “Monkey Shines” is a great killer monkey movie. I certainly respect your opinion, just curious if you’ve seen some of his other stuff.

      • abyx34

        Mokey shines, Creepshow, and recently the Crazies were very nice movies.

    • RidleyScottIsADirector@gmail.c

      Oh man, so glad I scrolled down and saw this comment. Jett you speak my language. Can’t stand George’s movies or his attempts to stay relevant.

  • Stitches

    I think the term “maverick” now belongs to McCain & Palin. They made that shit sound lame as hell.

    And yeah, the WWZ zombies looked ridiculous. Was an okay movie to see in the theater, but I wouldn’t keep it in my collection. Rather forgettable, actually. Wasn’t that thing supposed to be the “oral history” of a zombie apocalypse?

  • Kirkio

    Land was enjoyable but flawed. Diary was shit but had some decent moments. Survival was unbelievably, painfully, embarassingly shit. Say what you want about those films, but don’t talk shit about the first trilogy. Those films were and still are absolutely wonderful, and massively influential on the horror genre.

    • Ian ‘link’ Fletcher

      I thought Survival was better than diary, about on a par with land. None were great though.

  • DoubleTapped

    The first three dead films were landmark movies. The last three were skid mark movies, shit stains on the fabric of cinema, each worse than the last. Sorry, George, your time has passed. Greg Nicotero has left a horse head in your bed, he’s the new Don of the zombie mafia. You’re in the garden, eating oranges and chasing the grandkids.

    • RidleyScottIsADirector@gmail.c

      AH TURNED DOWN THA WALKING DEAD, I TELLS YA!

  • gamera87

    “You have to lost Romero’s honesty” – not intelligible

    • Halloween_Vic

      I laughed so hard when I read this!

    • Peter Johnson

      I thought I couldn’t understand it because I’m drunk, but thank the heavens for this comment

  • The Walking Dead has good acting, great zombie makeup and good kills. I think this should be it’s last season though.

    • amp69

      NO!!!!! I wanna watch it forever!

  • Halloween_Vic

    Ok Romero and when was your last good film?

  • abyx34

    Best zombie movie of all time for me is Night of the living dead (1990) remake by Tom Savini.

    • amp69

      Yes!!!!

  • RidleyScottIsADirector@gmail.c

    Oh shush, George. I enjoyed WWZ way more than any of your poops. Nurse? Can we get a nurse in here for George? He’s acting all looney again. I think he shit his pants, too.

    • Maxime C

      Come on !

  • zigwardScissorHands

    Yeah ok Romero, we get it, you created the modern zombie and nothing since has been as good as your work. Get over yourself, you’re not the be all and end all. You made some really good zombie films once upon a time, classics even. But you also made two terrible zombie films that are just as bad as many other low budget modern zombie films with some flimsy social commentary. And before you start ripping into vfx you might want to rewatch some of your examples from Survival of the Dead. It was pretty bad. Day of the Dead is my favorite zombie film, with Dawn and Night close behind but having said that you have to move on. What else have you got?

    • Hannibal Is at the Gates

      The last great thing you created got flushed after you posted this.

      • zigwardScissorHands

        Actually it was before and it was spectacular.

    • brewers_rule

      Did Romero even create the modern zombie? I’m obviously not a librarian for zombie lore so I don’t know but for some reason I thought a lot of zombie works came out of Italian zombie films? Or did they follow Romero? I agree w/you on the rest, though.

      • zigwardScissorHands

        I can’t for sure tell you. Just like you said there’s a few mentions in these comments that say there were Italian zombie movies that came first. I personally don’t know them but I’d love to know their titles. Romero’s movies are arguably the best known and the most popular at the least. Certainly they made a huge impact and many cite them as a source of reference.

        • brewers_rule

          I was thinking specifically of Zombi 2 but that came out nearly 10 years after NOTLD & was supposedly a sequel of sorts to it. It was the famous one where the zombie attacks a shark, I believe. Wiki (if you buy into their reliability on things) does seem to indicate while zombies were around pre-Romero in films including Ed Wood in Plan 9 From Outer Space he did put a stamp on the modern parameters of what one was (although they didn’t specifically become ‘brain eaters’ until later). Personally, I think he gets more credit that he deserves purely because of all the political statements he used zombies as an allegory for & that’s another reason why he stays so relevant in the press despite his awful films made the last decade or so.

  • ahTOPsi

    Romero’s last few movies where not as good as he thinks.I didn’t care for the CGI zombies WWZ but the wall climb was pretty coo.

  • Loretto Taylor

    Hated WWZ, even if it did have eye candy in the form of Brad Pitt, but not for the reasons Romero hates it. I hated it because… I thought it was going to be a film adaptation of the Max Brooks novel. The movie had the same title, but the story was… not an adaptation of the novel in any way, shape or form.

  • Jake Collis

    I really HATE that people say G.A.R. created the zombie it infuriates me to no end and I want to say this – he created the INFECTED not I repeat NOT zombie they are two different things that have been melded together by romero and many many other people. There are similarities both are walking corpses(for the most part) but thats the end of the similarities an actual zombie is created from magic not a virus. They don’t bite and move on they are not created from a bite if a zombie bites you, you go down and it eats or tears you apart and you stay down unless the necromancer is in the area then the body rises. An infected is a range of things mostly someone who has been infected with a virus or fungus or toxin and has become violent and/or cannibalistic while alive and are decaying from a slow death of their body. Some are infected “die” i.e. heart stops and the infection controls the body until fully decayed or stopped which is what we have in mainstream media as a “zombie”. I have not seen a correct zombie in the mainstream media to date besides game of thrones with their white walkers.

    • Ian ‘link’ Fletcher

      I really don’t think it is worth getting that upset about.

      • carver green

        Me either. I haven’t researched it, but I think what Romero gave us were the first “flesh-eating” zombies. And he did a fantastic job of it. On a first viewing, you don’t know that the zombies are eating their victims until about halfway through the film, when the news is given on the radio. Things just go from bad to worse from scene to scene…. Also, they aren’t called “zombies”, they’re called “ghouls”. Hope no one gets upset over that.

    • Dr. Satan

      when there’s no more room in “hell” the dead will walk the “earth.” hmm, confused on how this means infected? added I agree that no American “created” anything when it has to come to the “zombie” genre. anything to do with zombies is an old Italian rip-off, or usually a low-budget shit stain. say what u want about gar, but at least he keeps it interesting, most of the time, not counting diary of the dead. more so than most, who come up with this wwz, 28 days bs

  • brewers_rule

    I like how Romero simultaneously rips into The Walking Dead and the Hollywood culture. Obviously he believes, then, that TWR turned into what that NBC exec suggested they do to get it on their channel & basically keep everything BUT the zombies? What show exactly is he watching?

  • Romero movies are way better. They should learn from him.

  • Prax

    I agree with Romero on TWD. I love zombie movies, but found TWD incredibly boring. Dunno if it got any better over the years, but for me season one/first part of seasdon two was just unwatchably boring.

    Also agree on WWZ, the movie was ok, but the swarming super fast zombies were just ridiculous.

  • Daniel Anderson

    I watched TWD until they left the prison. I really like dit, i mean…zombies…so yeah its was fun. And I get the idea that people can be more of an issue than zombies after you get that down, but…no just no. So much unneeded drama and First World Problem Dialogue. Just didn’t make sense to me from an aspect of keeping the threat real, and the harsh realities of living in an apocalypse were eclipsed by most of the female characters still acting like they’re bickering over what was posted to facebook. The guys having that drama of whose going to be the next serial killer regardless of what was required at the time. The writers just really didn’t do the series justice. It could’ve been they were pressured to make it this way, but no matter the reasoning, I’m no longer a fan.

  • frabn

    Romero is an antique. While his assessment of World War Z was pretty accurate, his aversion to The Walking Dead reeks more of jealousy in the vein of “I wish I did that first” than a legit critique.

    World War Z though….ugh. They paid a fortune for the license and then made a movie not even remotely based on it. World War Z had more in common with The Bridges of Madison County than it did with the World War Z book. Super-human zombies that could fly, see in th dark, lift 18 wheelers and throw them, punch through brick walls…that movie was fucking terrible.

    • Raiden

      You want to know the REAL reason the studio ignored the source material? The Chinese Box Office.

      It’s because part of the books plot centers around China. Specifically that the plague spread so quickly do to Illegal Chinese Organ Transplants of Infected organs (Something that is actually happening in real life), and one of the chapters centers around a Red October-Esque group of defectors from the Chinese Military who hijack a Chinese Nuclear submarine. That was in the book.

      But in order for the movie to have a shot at being shown in the profitable Chinese Market. The filmmakers had to change the plot entirely, because if the film happened to have anything that could be interpreted as “Anti-China” then it’s never shown in China, and there goes a potential Two-Billion dollars for the Studio.

      You know what the funniest thing is? Despite ALL the changes they made in an attempt to sell the movie to the Chinese Market, the Communist Censors didn’t allow the movie to be shown in their theatres anyway. So Brad Pitt basically sold out, for NOTHING!

      • frabn

        I hear ya, and I bet that’s EXACTLY what the intention was. The super-human mutants that they were trying to pass off as zombies aside, they eliminated the ENTIRE China plotline, which was significant to the whole outcome of the book.

        I still have trouble with the zombies though – the “Brooks Universe” zombies are Romero-esque with some differences (the black tar, the origin, etc). To just turn them into anthropomorphised African Army Ants with super-human mutant powers is a complete slap in the face to the source material. If Max Brooks had any creative input, then he should be ashamed for selling out.

  • Firefly15

    World War Z blew dog turds. Just terrible and boring movie.

    • Waveboy

      I couldn’t even make it half way through. But I also blame brad pit for that. I can’t stand watching him in ANY movie.

  • Krug09

    I watched Day of the Dead on NF for the first time in many years recently. I loved it. It holds up well. I never bothered to see WWZ. The image of a CGI mountain of zombies didn’t inspire me to see the film.

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