So why don’t George A Romero’s zombies eat brains? #RomeroNight

It was my great privilege to see George A Romero in conversation at the BFI (British Film Institute) in London last night (part of the #RomeroNight evening). And for bonus horror geek points, Dario Argento was in the audience, too! A number of key questions were asked and answered. Including just why it is that Romero’s zombies don’t tend to favour the brain as part of their staple diet.

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I was delighted that Romero received such rapturous and extended applause as he ambled on stage. It continued unabated as he slowly took his seat – then donned those glasses, signifying that we were now in the presence of the maestro.

Romero is a true charmer – so wise and so witty. And also so very tall. It was a remarkable moment and a true pleasure to see his silhouette inadvertently projected over the opening scene of Night of the Living Dead when they projected it during the talk.

The discussion took in all of Romero’s career. He also explained just why it is that his zombies don’t tend to eat brains.

As @BFI tweeted (quoting the great man himself):

Dead you know? Romero’s zombies have never eaten brains! “They’d have a hard time cracking the coconut” #RomeroNight

And here’s a longer, direct quotation Romero gave on the same topic in an interview with the Telegraph the other day:

I didn’t call them zombies in Night of the Living Dead, and I didn’t think they were. Because those films – the traditional Haitian voodoo zombie – is not dead. And I thought I was doing something completely new by having the dead rise. The recently dead. They’re too weak to dig themselves out of graves. They’re too weak to eat brains, because they’ll never crack the skull. I have these sort of rules that I use, that everyone seems to have gone away from. Not that it’s my way or the highway, that’s not what I’m saying. It’s just what I prefer.

Absolute top marks to the BFI for a tremendous event.

I’m going to seek out a number of the films mentioned this evening that I’ve somehow not yet seen, including Tales of Hoffman (mentioned as a very early influence on Romero) and also Martin – a fascinating-looking Romero is-he?/isn’t-he? vampire film about a disturbed boy who may or may not be a vampire committing vampiric murders. (Spoiler hataz look away now: Romero chuckled that Martin most definitely is not a vampire).

And I do most sincerely hope that Romero does decide to make the “Disney princess zombie movie” as suggested by the interviewer/ host for the evening!

If you were also there, what was your highlight of the evening? And if you weren’t, what’s your favourite Romero film or Romero moment? Please let me know!

  • Here’s another image of #RomeroNight in full swing, again as shared by the lovely folks of @BFI:

Suggested listening: You could do significantly worse today than listen to Goblin’s main theme from Dawn of the Dead. I mean, why not, really?

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