Kirby Productions Wouldn't Exist Without George A. Romero. / by Al Liptak

Kirby Productions wouldn't exist if it wasn't for George A. Romero... Here is why...

Many moons ago, when I was a wee little boy, I snuck into my older brother's room. My cousin had brought over a scary movie to watch. That movie, "George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead." After weeks of nightmares (let's be honest, more like months or years...) a true zombie fan was born.

I was such a big fan, we would play "Zombie" instead of tag as kids; which, thinking back now, was pretty impossible to win if you were the zombie since you were only allowed to walk while everyone else could run.

Once I was a bit older, I reached out to my cousin to recommend any other movies like DotD. Soon I was engulfed in zombie horror films. Starting with Night and Day, ending with the Return series and even lesser known zombie horror to the likes of Dead Alive.

I watched every G.A.R movie I could get my hands on, and it opened my eyes to other horror legends like Argento, Fulci, Raimi, Jackson and more.

 

I got so involved in the horror I started researching Tom Savini and creating my own special effects makeup. My mom can tell you of the countless times she almost had a heart attack when I would run downstairs screaming covered in fake wounds and blood.

In high school, everyone seemed to call me around halloween asking to be "Zombified." I quickly realized I loved creating zombies and gore and looked into how I could make it a career.

My first thought was to go to school for make up effects, but after talking with my Dad I realized my real passion was to create. I wanted to be the one creating the story and the reason behind the gore not just the gore itself. 

In college we'd go around the room and talk about what we wanted to do specifically in the media industry. Most students said they wanted to make music videos, work sporting events, or even shoot hollywood films. I would stand up and say I wanted to make low budget horror films like George A. Romero. 

It wasn't long after that, when I heard G.A.R. was going to be at local horror convention "Rock and Shock." I was so nervous to finally meet him. I remember standing in line waiting for over an hour shaking. When I finally got to meet him, I couldn't talk. My friend told him, I loved him and wanted to be a filmmaker like him. He told me to "Start shooting, its easier now than ever, just start shooting." He was so nice and comforting and even chit chatted with me a bit and told me I need to go up to Maine and see Stephen Kings house.

After that, I started my final project in college, "Rotting Joy." It was a short little script I wrote in screenwriting class about a zombie's quest for a friend. In the end, the short became the ultimate homage to G.A.R.'s zombie films throughout the years.

Once I graduated, a friend from college invited me to work on a short film being shot out near Boston for a NYU student. That student was George Romero's daughter Tina. Long story short, after moving lights and cables all day long, I finally got the courage to tell Tina how big of a fan I was of her father and give her "Rotting Joy." 

Did "Rotting Joy" ever make it in front of George's eyes? I do not know. But that doesn't matter. What does matter is the fact that her father made such an impact on my life through his movies, that I now own and run my own video production company here today.

George's photo hangs proudly on the wall at my studio, his inspiration shines thru in my music and in my videos, and he will continue on forever in my heart.

RIP GEORGE A. ROMERO