Writer/director/producer John Carpenter is a true master of horror. He’s a legend with films like Halloween, Escape from New York, They Live, and many others to his credit.
Carpenter is known for being blunt when it comes to his opinion. Recently he was featured on the WTF Podcast, hosted by Marc Maron. During the broadcast the two discussed many things, but one comment stood out. It is reference to AMC’s hit zombie series The Walking Dead, which will begin its seventh season this Fall. It seems Mr. Carpenter really dislikes the show, in fact he basically called it a rip-off of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.
[The Walking Dead] was a movie that George Romero made back in 1968. And they have milked that, and they are still milking that.”
Romero’s Night of the Living Dead did give life to the modern zombie genre, but the film and series are two different things. Yes, they both have zombies, and The Walking Dead did spend a season at a farm house, but the two have very little else in common.
If he considers TWD a rip-off of NOTLD, then I can’t help but wonder if he considers every slasher film a rip-off of Halloween.
Yes, NOTLD has influenced pretty much every zombie film and show, but what’s the problem with that? It’s not like TWD is a reboot/remake of the film. God knows we have plenty of those happening. And it’s not like Romero and Carpenter own the rights to the zombie or slasher genres. I have to say, it all sounds a bit narcissistic and a little excessive. There is plenty of room in the horror genre for both to be appreciated in their own right.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Romero and of Carpenter’s work. They are both geniuses. But this is not the first time Carpenter’s insulted other people’s projects. I find it troubling that a director with such a big name finds it necessary to demean other’s work publicly. Maybe he speaks out of loyalty to Romero, I don’t know. But that’s not an excuse to be rude.
What do you think about Carpenter’s statement? Do you think The Walking Dead is a “rip-off”?