From the New York Times:
In George Romero’s Zombie Films, the Living Were a Horror Show, Too
By A. O. SCOTT and JASON ZINOMAN JULY 17, 2017
The director George A. Romero, whose six zombie movies represent a towering landmark of horror, died on Sunday of lung cancer. Our critics Jason Zinoman and A.O. Scott dig into his legacy and influence.
JASON ZINOMAN George Romero will always be known for turning hordes of dead people into a new kind of mainstream monster, but what made him a revolutionary artist is that he didn’t let the living off the hook. Sometimes, he even seemed to like them less than his flesh-eating zombies. “Night of the Living Dead,” his 1968 debut that initiated the modern horror genre, has one of the movies’ great spooky opening scenes; the shadowy sequence when the girl chomps on her dad still gives me the chills. But what was and remains truly unsettling is the violence of the white law enforcement toward the black hero, played by Duane Jones. No horror movie seemed to take on racism with as much visceral force, until this year, with “Get Out.” And Mr. Romero’s movie is even bleaker.
A. O. SCOTT I’m glad you mentioned “Get Out,” because that movie and some other very recent horror films — like Trey Edward Shults’s lean, cheap and super-scary “It Comes at Night” — highlight both the influence, and the prescience, of “Night of the Living Dead.” A few years ago, when I did a Critics’ Pick video on “Night,” I hinted that the Jones character’s death could be read as a prophecy of Barack Obama’s presidency: A calm and competent African-American saves the white people from their own rashness and stupidity (as well as from zombies) and is destroyed. Now, of course, the prophecy seems all the more chilling. The casual, unapologetic and ultimately self-destructive violence of white supremacy is the true and enduring horror of American life.
Well-timed, Mr. Scott, well-timed, what with the breaking news of the White Male Law Enforcement Power Structure gunning down an immigrant woman in white bread Minnesota, just like last year that Aryan cop shot Philando Castile in Minnesota, which caused the White Supremacist president to incite the Alt-Right to shoot all those black BLM protestors in Dallas and Baton Rouge. (I may be getting a few of the minor factual details wrong here, but The Narrative feels right.)