(Photo by United Film Distribution, Universal, Weinstein Company / courtesy Everett Collection)
All George A. Romero Movies Ranked by Tomatometer
George A. Romero’s first movie, Night of the Living Dead, released in 1968, walloped the country with its black-and-white dread and gore; infused with progressive casting and social commentary, it single-handedly created the modern-day zombie genre. His final movie — Survival of the Dead, released 2009 and eight years before his death — had, well, not quite the same impact, but discloses Romero’s lifelong commitment to the zombie revolution he spearheaded. The movies he made in-between these two Deads represent a visionary’s rocky but tenacious journey through the industry, frequently compromised or pigeonholed, but true to a drive to shake up the conventions of horror.
Night of the Living Dead took the space-age hopes of a nation on the cusp of landing on the moon and cut it to ribbons, fashioning an ambiguous backstory of a downed space craft whose radiation transforms the freshly deceased into mindless flesh-hungry shamblers. Romero was keen to quickly climb out of the horror genre pit, releasing rom-com There’s Always Vanilla in 1971, and then drama Season of the Witch in ’73, whose distributor chopped out 40 minutes and marketed as softcore. Both films have gone little-seen since.
With his talents apparently unwanted outside of horror, Romero returned to the genre and filled out the rest of the ’70s with his best streak of movies: virus-based The Crazies, vampire deconstruction Martin, and the legendary Dawn of the Dead. With this Night of the Living Dead sequel, Romero took a maximalist approach: More social commentary, more characters, more action, and, of course, much more gore. The effects had people literally blowing their tops off. We call it the #1 zombie movie you must see.
Dawn‘s success gave Romero enough cred to make one last go at it outside horror: Knightriders, a 2.5-hour personal drama about a troupe of Reniassance Faire-esque moto-performers. Romero, still one of the biggest names in horror even in the ’80s age of the slasher, collaborated with the biggest name in literary horror, Stephen King, for anthology Creepshow. 1985’s Day of the Dead took aim at the human psychological breakdown that came with living in the undead post-apocalypse, concluding his ultimate at-the-time trilogy of zombie cinema.
Romero then entered big studio production with Monkey Shines for Orion Pictures, which balked at the movie’s initial long runtime, and were desperate for a hit. (They didn’t get one.) He collaborated with Dario Argento for 1990’s Two Evil Eyes, each adapting Edgar Allan Poe, before making Dark Half for Orion, which was still desperate for a hit. (They still didn’t get one.)
It’d be seven years before Romero’s next film, Bruiser. And then five years after that for Land of the Dead, a highly credible return to zombie land after two decades away, working with his biggest budget ever. He would stay among the Dead for the rest of his career, following Land with found-footage reboot Diary of the Dead, shot in his native Pittsburgh area, where he set a majority of his films. Survival came out two years after that. And now, we pay tribute to the godfather of zombies by ranking all George A. Romero movies by Tomatometer!
Adjusted Score: 32.088%
Critics Consensus: Survival of the Dead offers glimmers of Romero's savage wit, but not nearly enough to make up for his unusually uninspired directing and a lack of new ideas
A group of rogue soldiers seek shelter from the zombie apocalypse on scenic Plum Island, only to become caught up... [More]
Adjusted Score: 54.839%
Critics Consensus: While not one of horror legend George Romero's more evolved efforts, Monkey Shines delivers enough primal fear to satisfy more forgiving genre enthusiasts.
An experiment provides a simian aide that has been trained to assist a quadriplegic, but the man feels a strange... [More]
Adjusted Score: 57.942%
Critics Consensus: The Dark Half is a highly serious psychological study that can be faulted for being more curious than actually scary.
Writing under the name of Richard Bachman, Stephen King's twisted musing on his own experiment with an alter-ego spawns this... [More]
Adjusted Score: 56.514%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Two separate tales from Edgar Allan Poe are loosely adapted in this horror drama. George Romero's "The Facts in the... [More]
Adjusted Score: 65.955%
Critics Consensus: As Diary of the Dead proves, time hasn't subdued George A. Romero's affection for mixing politics with gore, nor has it given him cinematic grace or subtlety.
Horror icon George A. Romero effectively hits the "reset" button on his hugely influential Dead series with this scaled-back look... [More]
Adjusted Score: 25.23%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Horror-meister George Romero directs this thriller about a 99-pound weakling who strikes back at everyone who has wronged him in... [More]
Adjusted Score: 75.226%
Critics Consensus: Tense, nicely shot, and uncommonly intelligent, The Crazies is a horror remake that, unusually, works.
David Dutten is sheriff of Ogden Marsh, a picture-perfect American. But one night, one of them comes to a school... [More]
Adjusted Score: 75.945%
Critics Consensus: It's uneven, as anthologies often are, but Creepshow is colorful, frequently funny, and treats its inspirations with infectious reverence.
Two of the most venerable names in the horror field, author Stephen King and director George A. Romero, present this... [More]
Adjusted Score: 79.826%
Critics Consensus: George A. Romero's latest entry in his much-vaunted Dead series is not as fresh as his genre-inventing original, Night of the Living Dead. But Land of the Dead does deliver on the gore and zombies-feasting-on-flesh action.
It has been two decades since master filmmaker GEORGE A. ROMERO's zombies have stalked the screens of motion picture theaters.... [More]
Adjusted Score: 77.225%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Knightriders may well be the only cycle flick ever to be played out in suits of armor. A hardcase motorcycle... [More]
Adjusted Score: 83.309%
Critics Consensus: Day of the Dead may arguably be the least haunting entry in George A. Romero's undead trilogy, but it will give audiences' plenty to chew on with its shocking gore and scathing view of society.
Flesh-eating zombies close in on a handful of soldiers and scientists holed up in an underground bunker. Final chapter of... [More]
Adjusted Score: 92.38%
Critics Consensus: George A. Romero's contribution to vampire lore contains the expected gore and social satire -- but it's also surprisingly thoughtful, and boasts a whopper of a final act.
One of horror filmmaker George Romero's many "small" 1970s films, Martin was fortunate enough to foster a cult following that... [More]
Adjusted Score: 96.368%
Critics Consensus: One of the most compelling and entertaining zombie films ever, Dawn of the Dead perfectly blends pure horror and gore with social commentary on material society.
Viewers who haven't seen George Romero's low-budget horror masterpiece Night of the Living Dead, might be at a loss during... [More]
Adjusted Score: 104.145%
Critics Consensus: George A. Romero's debut set the template for the zombie film, and features tight editing, realistic gore, and a sly political undercurrent.
One can only imagine the impact that Night on the Living Dead had on unprepared audiences of 1968. Here was... [More]