Earlier this week, and in a move to remind everyone to mask up and stay healthy, George A. Romero Foundation (GARF) artist-in-residence Christian Stavrakis redecorated his bust of the renowned filmmaker with a custom “Stay Healthy” mask, courtesy of PA costume designer Char Wilson. Reflective of George’s own innate ability to tap into the fears of any era, his iconic motto “Stay Scared!” was updated to reflect the very strange circumstances we are currently living in.
“Most of George Romero’s films deal not with monsters, but with people and their behaviors in a crisis,” says Stavrakis. “We’re living in very ‘Romero-esque’ times, and a mask seemed appropriate. He’s smiling behind his mask just as we do today.”
Though all of George’s films have left a significant impact on the cinematic landscape, the Living Dead series especially dives into the societal response to catastrophe, particularly the breakdown between the scientific community and an agitated populace. Additionally, his eerily accurate predictions have kicked off a new phrase on social media: #GeorgeRomeroWasRight. The mask also serves as a reminder that we should Stay Scared to Stay Healthy.
The George A. Romero Archive, now housed at the University of Pittsburgh as an integral part of its Horror Studies program, contains a shooting script from the 1974 film The Crazies, in which a small town is decimated by a rampant virus.
In June 2018, the George Romero bust was dedicated and installed at the Monroeville Mall. The GARF, a Pittsburgh-based non-profit organization dedicated to fostering George’s cinematic legacy and furthering independent film at local and global levels, was founded that same year.