The Walking Dead is the undisputed modern king of zombie-related entertainment. Although it certainly has had its ups and downs, the AMC TV show remains incredibly popular, having run for six seasons now and showing no signs of stopping anytime soon. However, there are some that have not been won over by the show’s apocalyptic charms.
Legendary horror and sci-fi director John Carpenter, who has helmed classics such as Halloween (1978) and The Thing (1982), has revealed that he is not a fan of what The Walking Dead is doing. He compared the show unfavorably to the undisputed mastermind of zombie cinema, George A Romero, and his 1968 film Night of the Living Dead on a recent episode of the WTF Podcast with Marc Maron:
“[The Walking Dead] was a movie that George Romero made back in 1968. And they have milked that, and they are still milking it.”John Carpenter and Kurt Russell on set. Source: AV Club
It is true that The Walking Dead and its creator Robert Kirkman owe a substantial debt to Romero’s work, but is Carpenter’s dismissive criticism warranted? One could argue that saying The Walking Dead is just a ripoff of Night of the Living Dead is akin to saying that all science fiction movies made after 1968 that are set in space are just milking Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The zombie genre is most definitely crowded and The Walking Dead isn’t always the greatest show in terms of quality, but to imply that it’s just ripping off Romero’s work seems unwarranted; unfair even. Perhaps this is just another “Old man yells at cloud” incident and we should all take Carpenter’s comments with a grain of salt.