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Romero Returns with 'Land of the Dead'

George A. Romero directs <i>Land of the Dead</i>, starring Simon Baker, John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper.
George A. Romero directs Land of the Dead, starring Simon Baker, John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper.

George A. Romero says he hadn't meant to make a zombie movie in 1968. The original title of his directorial debut was Night of the Flesh Eaters, but the distributor made the change to Night of the Living Dead.

That film was followed by Dawn of the Dead (1978), Day of the Dead (1985) and now Land of the Dead. The newest installment debuted this past week in Pittsburgh, Romero's adopted hometown. Fellow directors Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids) and Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction) were in attendance.

Rodriguez made a horror movie featuring Tarantino, From Dusk to Dawn. "[Romero] was the regional filmmaker that really inspired me to stay home and make an industry around myself... rather than go to Hollywood."

Romero says his main focus is not so much horror but allegory. He considers Night of the Living Dead a movie about revolution, inspired by the backdrop of Vietnam and riots. Land of the Dead has parallels with a post-Sept. 11 world, as an underclass rises up against corporate overlords. Neda Ulaby attends the premiere and talks with Romero about his career.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Neda Ulaby reports on arts, entertainment, and cultural trends for NPR's Arts Desk.