8 Horror Movies You Didn't Know Were Directed By George A. Romero

George A. Romero is universally recognized as the godfather of zombie horror cinema, with his Of the Dead series considered his biggest and most lasting contribution to the genre. Indeed, Night of the Living Dead not only broke the mold through its effective low-budget techniques, but also led to even smarter, gorier, and more visceral sequels that are still celebrated to this day.

RELATED: 10 Hidden Details Everyone Missed In Night Of The Living Dead

However, many people often tend to overlook the rest of Romero's checkered cinematic resume, which boasts a spate of scary non-zombie horror movies that every fan of his ought to check out. As Halloween fast approaches, now is a perfect time.

8 Season Of The Witch (1972)

After his groundbreaking feature debut Night of the Living Dead, Romero returned to the horror genre four years later with Season of the Witch (aka Hungry Wives), a tale of suburban witchcraft involving a neglected wife who meets a local witch and becomes seduced by her wicked ways.

While not quite as effective as his best, the film shows inklings of Romero's quirky directorial style and tremendous promise for a near novice. At its core, the film trenchantly explores the nature of staid suburban life, womanhood, alienation, escapist fantasy, and the lines of reality can blur when such feelings get mixed up in one person.

7 The Crazies (1973)

Following Season of the Witch, Romero added a cool new wrinkle to his tried-and-true zombie formula via The Crazies. Rather than grave-rising bloodsuckers who reanimate, the story concerns a heinous government experiment gone awry that spreads a toxic chemical and turns the locals into rabid, blood-parched fiends. It's arguably the first viral zombie film ever made.

RELATED: 10 Scariest Zombie Movies From The 1970s

In addition to the visceral violence, The Crazies is all about conjuring fear, paranoia, and mistrust among its citizens in the face of a widespread epidemic, creating pandemonium in the streets to go with gory blood spillages. Timely and topical as ever, the film was remade in 2010.

6 The Amusement Park (1975)

If Romero fans have never heard of his bizarre and wildly disturbing The Amusement Park, it's because it was only recently released for the first time in its entirety. The surreal look at a senior citizen visiting a theme park turns into an abject hellscape of freakish terror when he gets lost and begins to lose his mind with no help in sight.

Absurdly nightmarish and frighteningly trippy, the film makes a strong statement about the mistreatment of the elderly in America, and how isolated and alienated one man can feel in a society that feels like a modern-day carnival show. A must-see for Romero completists.

5 Martin (1977)

If nothing else, fans should come away putting Romero's 1977 vampire movie Martin atop the viewing queue. By all accounts, Martin is the best and most underrated horror movie Romero has made outside of his acclaimed zombie series. The movie is an extremely compelling and intimate character study of a young man grappling with his existence as an immortal bloodsucker.

RELATED: 10 Underrated Vampire Movies To Watch This Halloween

Thought-provoking, deeply unsettling, and oddly touching, Martin is Romero at his most sensitive, contemplative, and philosophical. The moral bind Martin finds himself is just as gnawing as his bloody fang-work, making for a truly fascinating look at the human side of vampirism.

4 Creepshow (1982)

When most horror fans hear the word Creepshow, the first name that usually pops to mind is Stephen King, the peerless horror scribe who penned the screenplay and starred as the hilarious Jordy Verrill. People often forget that every chapter in the anthology horror film was directed by Romero.

In what turned out to be a perfect marriage of morbid humor and mortifying horror, the King-Romero collaboration is now considered one of the most entertaining horror anthologies of all time, one that aptly mirrors the cartoonish tone, tenor, and temperament of the EC horror comics of the '50s that inspired it.

3 Monkey Shines (1988)

In yet another horror tale with salient social commentary, Monkey Shines is a truly terrifying killer animal tale with a psychological twist. Based on the novel of the same name, the film concerns Allan Mann (Jason Beghe), a quadriplegic who agrees to have a highly intelligent service monkey named Ella help him with his paralysis. After being injected with human brain tissue, Ella turns into a murderous maniac.

With great sympathy conjured for both Allan and Ella, the harrowing onslaughts of gore-sodden violence are brilliantly balanced by the commentary on the abuse of animals for medical research. The way Romero is able to make viewers care about Ella as much if not more than Allan despite the terrible things she does is a testament to his storytelling skills. The performance of Monkey Shines' monkey alone is worth the price of admission.

2 The Dark Half (1993)

A decade after the two worked together, Romero and Steven King reunited for the big-screen adaptation of The Dark Half. Released the same year as King's wildly underrated Needful Things, directed by Fraser C. Heston, it's easy to lose sight of Romero's involvement in the former. The story entails Thad Beaumont (Timothy Hutton), a writer who becomes physically haunted by his literary alias, George Stark.

In addition to exploring King's own demons relating to identity, literary success, writer's block, the balance of fame versus anonymity, etc., the ambitious story also crosses over with Needful Things in a way that makes the town of Castle Rock a creepy central character. As for Romero, he imbues the Jekyll and Hyde story with a moody visual panache that steadily builds from the gripping opener to the genuinely startling finale.

1 Bruiser (2000)

The final horror film Romero wrote and directed that had nothing to do with zombies was Bruiser, the criminally underrated tale of lost identity and the desperate need to get it back at all costs. The story tracks a shrinking violet named Henry Creedlow (Jason Flemyng) who, after years of being trampled over by everyone in his life, suddenly awakes to find his face replaced with a blank white visage.

With Henry's new image comes newfound aggression and unwillingness to let those around take advantage of him, leading to a ferocious eruption of grisly violence as he avenges those who've wronged him in the past, including his philandering wife. In toying with themes of identity, Romero delivers arguably the twistiest and most unpredictable horror movies of his decorated career.

NEXT: 10 Underrated Psychological Horror Movies From The 2000s Fans Need To See



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