This “Walking Dead” Universal exhibit zombie is a modern version of the undeed featured in the 1968 movie “Night of the Living Dead.” Photo via Universal Studios “Making ‘The Walking Dead’ Attraction” video.

The father of the modern zombie movie and creator of the horrifying nightmare “Night of the Living Dead” has died.

That black-and-white film that has a cheaply shot sense of intense realism is considered to be one of the scariest movies of all time. Patrons were sometimes found congregating in theater lobbies instead of remaining in their seats.

George A. Romero died in his sleep Sunday following a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer,” his long-time producing partner told the Los Angeles Times in a statement. He was 77.

Romero’s wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and his daughter, Tina Romero, were at his side as he died. And he was listening to the musical score to one of his favorite films, 1952’s “The Quiet Man,” according to the statement forwarded  by the producer partner, Peter Grunwald.

“Night of the Living Dawn” was released in 1968, and it proved a resurrection of the zombie theme. Shot in black and white, a colorized version became a Halloween staple on television in the intervening decades.

Born in New York City, Romero shot to producing stardom on the zombie theme. A couple of other movies languished in art houses, and box office success eluded him until he again dug up the zombie theme, this time for 1978’s “Dawn of the Dead.”

It cost $500,000 to produce and earned $55 million, and according to Entertainment Weekly it was one of the top cult films ever.

–City News Service

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