|Romero en 1978 durant le tournage de Zombie.|
Et pour cause.
On avait grandi avec les films de Romero. On avait bâti une grande partie de notre cinéphilie et de nos goûts cinématographiques en rapport avec ses propres créations. On avait été influencé par ses films et ses récits. Romero nous avait fait rêver, frissonner et fantasmer comme peu d'artistes l'ont jamais fait.
Les termes de « maître de l'horreur » ou « père des zombies » qui sont souvent accolés à son nom sont au final bien réducteur. Et tous les messages postés sur FB, sur des forums ou passés de mails en mails le prouvent bien : ce n'est pas le gore ou l'horreur pure qui ont marqué sur le long terme des centaines de milliers de cinéphiles/phages. C'est une authentique sensibilité dans ses récits. Des personnages en trois dimensions qui comptent parmi les plus belles créations du cinéma. Des récits parfois effrayants, certes, mais qui nous touchaient bien au-delà des images saignantes.
Romero était un conteur exceptionnel. Le genre d'homme qui, il y a deux cent ans, se serait assis sur la place centrale du village pour narrer aux enfants et adultes présents des histoires tour à tour terrifiantes, merveilleuses ou fantastiques, capables de nous faire réfléchir. Tout comme les contes et légendes d'hier, les récits inventés par Romero se sont infiltrés dans tous les pans de notre société. Romero a fini par faire partie intégrante de la culture populaire mondiale. Il sera toujours là, parmi nous.
Même si sa disparition physique nous donne à tous l'impression d'être un peu plus seul.
Quelques hommages de proches et de personnalités du cinéma :
|Cardille dans Le Jour des morts-vivants.|
I was heart broken to hear that my friend George Romero passed away today. We went way way back. When I was a teenager, George and my dad, Chilly Billy Cardille became close friends after dad appeared in and helped promote Night of the Living Dead. More than two decades later, George and I came together for Day of the Dead and we remained close ever since. He was one of a kind. He changed cinema. I will always appreciate him, I will always respect his work and I will always miss him. It was somehow fitting that my father, Chilly Billy passed away a year ago this week, days after George visited with him in Pittsburgh. Rest in peace George. My dad will take good care of you now.
|Moment de détente entre Romero et Savini.|
When I did a special effect on a George Romero set....I would make a chirping cricket noise. If George made the same cricket noise back, i knew he loved it, it worked and we could move on, after laughing our asses off. That's how we communicated...with lots of laughing. When we first met i was auditioning for him and made him laugh. That laugh....that laugh came from the center of the earth. We laughed through almost fifty years and nine movies. I will miss that laugh, and my friend. More than that he was a big teddy bear. You loved hugging him cause he made a noise, a happy loving noise, as he squeezed the breath out of you. I will miss that hug. I will miss everything about him. There is a light in the galaxy that has gone out and can't be replaced. Normally you would say "Ah but we have sweet memories"....in this case those that knew him have a lot more...it's molecular...it's a part of us...he is in us...he made so much of what we are.
It’s with extreme sadness that we learnt today of the passing of George Romero. Actor, writer, and director - who was rather underestimated by many of his peers. George was a true artist and much of this was due to working in the town where he grew up in Pittsburgh. His films, even though they were very meager budgets, have lasted throughout time. There is a beautiful poetic element about them: they are not merely escapist films. There’s something deeper to them.
|Romero et McDowell en grande discussion autour d'un repas.|
On a personal note, he will be truly missed. One of favorite things to do was have dinner with George and his wife Suzanne and talk over what was happening in our crazy business... and laughing and laughing about it. Farewell George, you will be missed.
With a heavy heart,
I just heard George Romero has passed away.
Seeing Night of the Living Dead as a child not only scared the living hell out of me, and made me forever jump at creepy children, but it was so incredibly DIY I realized movies were not something that belonged solely to the elites with multiple millions of dollars but could also be created by US, the people who simply loved them, who lived in Missouri, as I did, or Pennsylvania, as you did, or anywhere. I picked up an eight millimeter camera, mixed some Karo syrup with some red food dye to make blood, and began making movies - specifically, having my one brother eat my other brother onscreen, alive. I was eleven. That was the first moment of my film career, and it was spurned on because of you.
Dawn of the Dead showed me how social commentary could take place in a genre film; the poster for the movie graced my wall throughout my high school years, and is one of the reasons I took the gig writing the remake. Day of the Dead showed me how we could go deeper into the emotional ins and outs of these complex worlds we created onscreen; it's an incredibly underrated movie and set the standard for going into the specifics of high concepts even today.
The Dark Half is one of the best film versions of a Stephen King novel, and I'll always hold a special place in my heart for Monkey Shines. In 1988 my brother and I went to see The Blob remake and then hid in the bathroom before sneaking into Monkey Shines (for free, sorry). While hiding in the bathroom, a man had explosive diarrhea in one of the stalls. My brother and I were in hell due to the smell, but we couldn't go out of the bathroom because the manager, who knew us, was right outside the door, and seeing Monkey Shines meant that much to us. We persevered and loved the movie.
My favorite Romero film, though, is Martin, a low-budget gem which is sad, scary, and touching.
Thank you, George, for being a part of my life for a long, long time, in so many different ways. Rest in Peace.
|Edgar Wright et Simon Pegg entourent Romero.|
It’s fair to say that without George A. Romero, I would not have the career I have now. A lot of people owe George a huge debt of gratitude for the inspiration. I am just one of many.
Without George, at the very least, my career would have started very differently. My future in film really started when I became firm friends with Simon Pegg while we were making ‘SPACED’ and we realised that we were both obsessed with ‘Dawn Of The Dead’ and George’s work.
I had been infatuated about George’s work before I saw it, scouring through horror and fantasy magazine for stills, posters and articles way before I was old enough to see his movies. When I finally did watch, on VHS or late night TV, the likes of ‘Night Of The Living Dead’, ‘Martin’, ‘Dawn Of The Dead’, ‘Creepshow’, ‘Day Of The Dead’ and others, I was a true devotee to all things Romero.
Later, after making ‘Spaced’, myself and Pegg had this wild notion of making a film that took place in George’s universe, but with a distinctly deadpan North London response to his Pittsburgh zombie epics. The resulting film ‘Shaun Of The Dead’, would obviously not exist without the master himself and when we completed the movie, we decided that we should try and contact George and screen the film for him. To us, his was the only opinion that mattered.
Universal contacted George and screened the movie for him while he was on vacation in Florida. I remember being bemused that he watched the movie with a studio security guy in the theatre. As if George himself would pirate the movie! Even If he did, he would be more than due some profits from our cinematic valentine to him.
Later that night, George called us in London. I remember standing in my flat in Islington when I got the call from him and he couldn’t have been warmer and kinder about the movie. I remember him saying that it was ‘an absolute blast’. That indeed became the sole poster quote for the movie in the United States. I frequently think back to this moment of standing in my house as the moment my life truly changed and the world got smaller.
Over a year later George asked us to come to Toronto and appear in his new movie ‘Land Of The Dead’. We had our make up done by KNB FX in LA and then flew out to the chilly night shoot set to meet the man himself. We had sent George a ‘Foree Electric’ name tag as a token of our gratitude for his poster quote on our movie and he was wearing it when we met. Meeting the man himself was just amazing, as anyone who knew him will attest how funny, smart and genial he was.
When we shot our brief cameo as ‘Photo Booth Zombies’, it was such a trip being directed by the ‘King Of The Zombies’ himself. We couldn’t believe we were being told what to do as zombies by the man himself. He actually had no notes and said ‘You guys know what you are doing’. Later we would both actually feature on the one sheet for the movie in our make up, which blew my inner horror geek’s mind.
The day after we shot our cameo, I do remember something else that George said. We had coffee in a Toronto hotel with him and he asked me and Simon what we were doing next. I replied that we were making a police action comedy. ‘Oh, not a horror, then?’ he replied, ‘So you’re getting out.’
This was a telling statement, as there was always the sense that George had interests in film that stretched beyond the realm of horror. But even if he was pigeonholed somewhat in the genre realm, one of the reasons that his work resonates still is because of fierce intelligence and humour behind it. His zombie films alone are the work of a major satirist, being highly vivid socio-political metaphors and sometimes better records of the years in which they were made than countless serious dramas.
While genre films are often dismissed when people are talking about classic cinema, there is absolutely no denying the seismic impact his movies have had and continue to have in the world of film, TV, comics, video games and literature.
The last time I was in contact with him, was last year when it was announced on the internet that he was to have star in his honour on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. I e-mailed him to ask when the ceremony was, as I would like to go and here is just part of his very droll and typically modest response.
From: George Romero
Subject: Re: Hey George.
Date: August 31, 2016 at 9:01:53 PM EDT
So nice to hear from you. You are the first person of note to have responded to the announcement of my “Star” on the “Hollywood Walk of Fame”. If I had been given a date for the “ceremony”, I would certainly have passed it on to all who might have been amused. As of now there is no definite date. Once a date is determined I will alert you and my children who, at this point, seem to be the only amused parties…I fully appreciate that some day in the future one of my kids might be walking along Zambeezie Street in L.A. and wonder why his or her father has his name embedded beneath the dog shit. Thousands of people, stepping over that same dog shit, if they can decipher the time-crusted lettering, will ask, “Who the fuck is George Romero?” Only you and my children will know.
Thank you for knowing.
This was the last e-mail I received from George. He is, as ever, being way too hard on himself. For just his very surname, ‘Romero’, immediately conjures more images and themes than 99 percent of writer/directors out there. I look forward to whenever they do lay down the star in his honour, but he is already is a bright shining beacon in the film universe.
R.I.P. to the lovely George. Knowing your movies, I have a feeling you will be back.