Romero is most closely related to zombie movies. After “Night of the Living Dead”, he personally directed five sequels. Each of the following films reimagined the original premise in a new setting and addressed different social themes. 1978’s “Dawn of the Dead” takes place in a mall, where Romero has had fun making fun of American consumerism amid an invasion of the living dead. Its underrated 1985 follow-up, “Day of the Dead,” deconstructs the concept of militarism, as the film’s U.S. Army chief (Joseph Pilato) is just as bad as the zombies.
However, Romero’s larger filmography is broader than just the “Living Dead” series, and he has explored different aspects of horror in his other films. Romero’s budgets would increase as he became more popular, but his 1973 film “The Fools” had many of the same budget constraints he faced with his first film. The film tackles similar themes of social unrest and paranoia, but contains them in a small suburban town. As a result of the US military’s experimentation with biological weapons, citizens of a tight-knit community begin to lash out at each other with violent killings.
Romero has a similar satirical intent with his commentary on the government’s indifference to collateral damage, and “The Crazies” also shows how social barriers break down in times of crisis.