Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Book Review: George A. Romero Pocket Essential Guide

People usually associate George A. Romeo with zombie movies due to his reinvention of the zombie subgenre with his groundbreaking film, Night of the Living Dead and his masterful follow-ups, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead. His zombie films are memorable not only because they are so spectacularly scary and gory productions, but also because they are socially conscious, delivering commentary on consumerism, racism, war, etc. that is still relevant today.

Romeo went on to make two more zombie films in his Dead series – Land of the Dead and Diary of the Dead – and has plans to make more, but people don’t realize just how varied his filmography really is. People tend to overlook his other horror films like Martin, The Crazies, Bruiser in favor of his zombie yarns, but these underrated flicks deserve to be seen too.

In Tom Fallows and Curtis Owen’s new book, the George A. Romero Pocket Essential Guide, the two authors explore many of George A. Romero’s films, horror or otherwise, with an in-depth analysis on each of his works. They chronologically cover Romero’s films, giving us a kind of timeline to chart Romero’s maverick career. Each film is broken down over several categories, including a synopsis, any trouble the production ran into, trivia, social commentary within the film, history, etc. Each entry offers an insightful look at the filmmaking process and Romero’s career.

Authors Fallows and Owen do a marvelous job of covering Romero’s filmography from his well-known Dead series to lesser-known works. The direct and strong writing style ensures that the authors cover a ton of information in a small amount of space. The amount of trivia, facts and other information they have compiled is pretty expansive and covers Romero’s films in-depth. Their enthusiasm is engaging and really makes you want to check out lesser-known Romero titles or re-watch ones you already have. The only complaint I had was what I saw as unfair treatment of Land of the Dead. They barely covered the film and gave it a pretty scathing review, though most of the other films were treated with reverence or at least respect (even the awful Diary of the Dead!).

Beside that, though, the book made me fall in love with Romero’s cinema all over again and actively seek out and re-watch many of his films. George A. Romero Pocket Essential Guide is a must-own for any George A. Romero fan, whether you own all his films or have just seen a few. Either way, you’ll learn a lot about the “Don of the Dead” and come to appreciate his films, both well-known and obscure, much more.

Buy on Amazon!

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