When it was announced that there was going to be a spin-off of The Walking Dead on AMC I mused that perhaps they could get George Romero - the man whose work the show is endlessly, shamelessly ripping off - to run it. I thought it would be nice to give George some of the many, many dollars they're making off his creation. It turns out that AMC has gone to George, and he's turned them down. It seems he doesn't much like The Walking Dead. Talking to The Big Issue he says:
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.
He's right - zombies are meaningless in The Walking Dead. It could be a show about people trying to avoid triffids or rabid dogs or anything. It's part of why the show is such tedious garbage.
But The Walking Dead isn't the only zombie thing Romero is avoiding. He says he's pretty much done with the ghouls for the foreseeable future.
Once they bleed out of pop culture I'll be able to go back and do them again. I don’t want to touch them now. Gosh, they are all over the place. The Walking Dead is the number one television series in the States, World War Z, games, commercials… Ugh! It’s too much!
I love this guy. He's totally right; zombies used to be a cool niche element of horror and now they're as painfully overexposed as vampires. They've become boring, especially because nobody is doing anything new or unique with them.
There's something so sad about all of this. George Romero created something that has become a cultural juggernaut, but he stands on the sidelines, disappointed with how it's being exploited. I have to give him so much credit for not cashing in, though - I don't know that I would have had the ethics to turn The Walking Dead down if I were him. We live in a culture where selling out is now considered a virtue, so it's nice to see the older generation standing their ground and showing us what having standards and pride looks like.