Zombie film director makes Hollywood comeback -- The star and director of ''Shawn of the Dead'' pay homage to George Romero, director of ''Night of the Living Dead''

By Chris Nashawaty
December 13, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST

While Hollywood’s been filling its till lately from zombie flicks like 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead, somehow George Romero wound up the Forgotten Man. Romero, the director behind 1968’s Night of the Living Dead and 1978’s original Dawn of the Dead, hasn’t made a zombie film since 1985. But suddenly the genre’s graying creator is back in Hollywood vogue. ”It’s a shame that it took people riffing on his films for a studio to give him another crack at it,” says Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright. Not that Romero’s holding grudges. Recently, Wright and Shaun star Simon Pegg made a kiss-the-ring pilgrimage to the Toronto set of Romero’s latest blood-and-entrail opus, Land of the Dead (October 2005), where Romero put them to work as undead extras. The next night, standing next to a zombie with a leash around its neck, Romero was instructing a makeup artist how to freshen up a gash on its scalp. Taking it in like an eager pupil, Wright whispered, ”See what I mean? He’s the master!”