If you love Marc Maron's WTF podcast, and you love the horror genre, then one of this latest episodes is a must-listen. The comedian not only sits down with genre legend Joe Dante, he also visits with the maestro of horror John Carpenter. While Dante offers some interesting insight into his long career, it is Carpenter who has captured fans ears by slamming The Walking Dead. It's not that John Carpenter so much hates the hit AMC series, which is a big ratings winner, he just thinks we've seen it all before.
Carpenter claims that The Walking Dead doesn't just owe a little bit of its success to the zombie movie that started it all, but that it is a pure ripoff of Night of the Living Dead. He goes onto say that it is nothing more than a remake of George A. Romero's seminal work, which really could be said about any zombie movie or TV show at this point. The man who is considered the granddaddy of the modern slasher movie had this to say about AMC 'milking' Romero's best work.
"['The Walking Dead'] was a movie that George Romero made back in 1968. And they have milked that, and they are still milking it."
And Carpenter knows a thing or two about properties getting milked. When his first Halloween movie debuted back in 1978, no one thought the horror indie would ignite a new movement in the genre, but soon after several slasher movies followed in its footsteps, such as Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street that were built on the same model. Now, we are seeing all of these titles get rebooted a second and third time, with nothing new being done in terms of structure or scares. They're all just the same old movie, according to John Carpenter.
And he's not wrong about The Walking Dead. Any modern zombie movie owes more than a little bit of its genetic make-up to George A. Romero. The Walking Dead even has a few direct connections to Romero's work. Producer, VFX supervisor and sometimes director Greg Nicotero got his first big break working on Romero's 1985 trilogy ending thriller Day of the Dead, and has since gone onto work with the iconic filmmaker a number of times. The Walking Dead has also paid direct tribute to Romero's work on several occasions.
John Carpenter believes that the entire horror genre needs a good swift kick in the pants. He wants to see a 'new beginning, a resurgence", he tells Marc Maron. The filmmaker explains further, saying this.
"Horror movies have been with us since the beginning of cinema, and it is always the same. Most of them are bad, a few are average and a couple are really good. They keep changing with the culture. It is like with Vietnam. You saw the violence change. Horror movies change, too. So they'll change again."
John Carpenter went onto discuss consumerism and the corporate drive behind the current horror genre. Those are all elements and themes that are at play in George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead. Though, the director sees The Walking Dead as being a key problem and definitely not the solution in moving this art form forward. The Walking Dead returns for Season 7 this fall. But it's doubtful Greg Nicotero will have his old friend John come back to direct an episode. Carpenter is currently overseeing the new Halloween movie reboot as a producer.