Essential films from the legendary horror director
Lucca Film Festival 2016
Credit: Laura Lezza/Getty Images

Few people have cast a longer, or more ominous, shadow over the horror genre than beloved director George A. Romero, who has died at the age of 77. Here are the five of his films which every self-respecting fan of big screen terror tales needs to see…

Night of the Living Dead (1968)
“They’re coming to get you, Barbra…”
Among the most influential films ever made, Romero’s directorial debut rewrote the horror movie rule book and effectively invented the zombie genre — although the word “zombie” is never uttered in the film.

Martin (1978)
Romero tackled the vampire genre with this perennially underrated gem — or did he? John Amplas plays the titular character, who is either a supernatural bloodsucker or a delusional maniac.

Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Romero returned to the zombie genre for this shopping mall-set undead epic, which is part splatterfest and part social satire. It’s widely regarded as the director’s crowning achievement and among the best horror films ever made.

Creepshow (1982)
This anthology film, which paid tribute to the gruesome horror comics of the ’50s, benefits from a screenplay by Stephen King, special effects by Tom Savini, and a crackerjack cast, which includes Hal Holbrook, Adrienne Barbeau, Leslie Nielsen, and E.G. Marshall.

Day of the Dead (1985)
The conclusion of Romero’s original zombie trilogy was a box office flop at the time of release, but this tale of scientists and soldiers getting on each other’s nerves in an underground bunker has acquired an army of fans over time. Joseph Pilato and Sherman Howard are unforgettable as, respectively, the maniacal Captain Rhodes and the horribly lovable zombie, Bub.