In Utah, there is a local short-film contest, called the Demon Chaser, that's associated with our larger Salty Horror Film Festival. This contest is pretty similar to the 48HFF in that we're given a style, and a prop, that we have to use in the film. Luckily for me, it's also a lot longer, so post production can actually happen.

My team was given the style of George Romero, and the props of a tattered curtain and a broken door handle. The props aren't going to be a huge problem, but I'm very concerned about the style because Romero is so well known.

So, besides zombies, what do you think of when you think of sound design in Romero's flicks?

(And, yes, I'll be researching this thoroughly.)


His earlier films lacked any real budget for sound design, and even in his later films, he tends not to "wall of sound" his soundtracks, but rather focus on the most important sound elements - sometimes to the exclusion of everything else. What comes to mind for me is always the radio'd dialog from "The Crazies" which did a great job of totally de-humanizing the soldiers.

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    I saw him a year or so ago at a Convention... wish I'd asked him this very question... – Sonsey Aug 31 '11 at 17:17
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    @Sonsey, I was at a Q&A with John Carpenter once and asked him about the unique approaches to sound design for "The Thing". Surprisingly, he had very little to say about it; in fact, I think he said that it was so long ago he could hardly remember! That may give some insight into how much input many directors actually put into the sound design portion of their film's soundtrack. – Jay Jennings Aug 31 '11 at 17:49
  • @Jay Jennings, I always got the impression from Yewdall's tales that Carpenter knew it was important, but pretty much let his sound team decide much of what actually went in. Quite possibly a similar situation with Romero. – Sonsey Sep 1 '11 at 18:32

If you want to get a little more insight on the style of sound that Romero leans toward, I'd suggest checking out one of his non-horror flicks....Knightriders comes to mind. Looking at flicks like that next to the horror ones could you give you a better perspective.

  • That's an excellent suggestion. Even though it's a horror piece, the short is going to start out relatively happy -- I had planned on watching There's Always Vanilla, but Knightriders came after Star Wars and the Burttification of modern sound. – Dave Matney Aug 31 '11 at 18:27

The sound design and music are all very generic for the periods of the films. His later Zombie films are very over the top with the sound fx such as land of the dead and they are more subtle in the earlier ones. I really don't think his films have anything which you could say as defining or special when it comes to sound, the soundtrack for Land of the dead for example is just a product of its time... and the sound design just what you would expect.

I would say though that there is a lot of heavy foley involved, but still being realistic in comparison to other zombie films of that time such as Argento films. There is music everywhere possible as well.

The most noticeable thing about the sound for his zombie and horror flicks is probably the music, check out some of tracks by Goblin and even look at other films by other directors.

These are a few I love:

Suspiria theme by Goblin, The Beyond - Fabio Frizzi, Zombie Flesh Eaters - Fabio Frizzi, Dawn of the Dead - Goblin.


Depends which era of Romero films you're talking about. His earlier films shocked audiences with the extreme visuals, depending less on the sound effects. His recent movies have conformed more to the tried-and-true conventions of horror movie sounds (heavy gore, stingers, etc). I like both approaches, but think that the first would be more of a challenge to pull off successfully.

  • You make a really good point. I hadn't even considered that he had two distinct styles (I always forget that he's still making movies; the Romero I always think of is pre-'90s), so I'll have to talk to the director to see which way they're leaning. – Dave Matney Aug 31 '11 at 16:44

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