All hail the zombie king!
"Night of the Living Dead" isn't director George A. Romero's favorite film. He doesn't even think it's the best movie he's made.
That title, in his opinion, belongs to "Martin," the 1976 vampire flick starring John Amplas.
"I was able to make every shot I wanted," said Romero, 73. "I made the film exactly how I wanted to do it, and it's still my best film."
Still, this weekend the focus will be on his 1968 undead classic "Night of the Living Dead." He will be in Rosemont to introduce it before a 9 p.m. showing tonight at the Muvico Theaters Rosemont 18 as part of the Flashback Weekend, a three-day horror convention.
"I can't escape the zombies," Romero joked.
Romero said he meets many fans at conventions like Flashback who give him their homemade zombie films.
With the box-office success of Brad Pitt's "World War Z" and the popular "Walking Dead" on AMC, zombies have invaded big time.
"I used to say I was the only guy on the playground," Romero said. "Now (the genre) is wildly popular."
Romero said he was clueless when directing "Night," his first feature film. He said he borrowed lighting techniques from director Orson Welles and imitated techniques from other influences.
Romero was already directing his third film "Season of the Witch" (aka "Jack's Wife" and "Hungry Wives") when "Night" became the top-grossing movie in Europe in 1969.
Romero's love of movies stems from his childhood in New York City.
Romero spent his spare cash to rent a projector and 16 mm films if he wanted to watch movies. He regularly rented Welles' "Citizen Kane" and Shakespearean classics "Othello" and "Macbeth."
But he said those couldn't compare to his all-time favorite: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's "Tales of Hoffman," a British film adaptation of Jacques Offenbach's French opera.
"It's a beautiful film," he said.
Romero rented it weekly, saying it was always in stock because no one else wanted to watch it. One day, the clerk told him a kid from Queens had gotten it first.
The kid's name: Martin Scorsese.
"We were the only kids who took that film out," Romero said with a laugh.