Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Bill Hinzman

artwork: Chet Zar

Bill Hinzman, famous for his portrayal of the "cemetery zombie" in Romero's Night Of The Living Dead, has died. Some may consider him to be a minor player amongst the pantheon of modern horror cinema, but I think his contribution was a vital one, and certainly worthy of memory.

He was after all the original "modern" zombie. The ancestral progenitor to an endless horde of the walking dead that has been infesting our screens for the 44 years since he lurched out of that first cemetery.

In fact, the legacy of NOTLD is virtually immeasurable. Not only is it the forerunner of the modern living dead film, but many consider it to be the precursor to modern horror cinema in general. It heralded in an era of horror that would be more visceral, allegorical and thoughtful than anything that had proceeded it.

Viewed in that light, Hinzman's contribution to horror as the inaugural monster of the new era is a profound one indeed.

Bill also had minor parts in Romero's next three films - There's Always Vanilla, Season Of The Witch and The Crazies, on which he also served as D.O.P.


  1. A fitting eulogy sir. Hinzman also wrote, directed and starred in a number of his own films of which Flesheater is a personal favorite. You make a very good point about his seminal role in all of this.

  2. Thanks Seth. I actually didn't know he'd been involved in so many aspects of filmmaking til I checked out his IMDb page yesterday. Cinematographer, producer, writer, director etc. I was surprised.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Flesheater is immense. It's not great of course - but it is a classic B movie - filmed on a shoestring - and with set-piece after set-piece of slightly amateur-looking zombie action.

    In his honour I'm gonna go and sit thru it again!


  5. I'm gonna have to track Flesheater down.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Occasionally Flesheater is too creepy for it's own good - inasmuch as you are watching middle-aged Bill Hinzman dressed as a zombie grope a nude teen in her bedroom.

    I imagine a zombie would bite her sooner rather than cop a feel first.

    I do like the films energy though - as once the dodgy start is out of the way - it goes full pelt - and almost everyone gets killed - whole swathes of characters get introduced then offed moments later. Which is nice.

    Also in Flesheater - I think I read somewhere they made their own blanks and I think someone got injured as Bill had packed too much gunpowder in the round....

    Not knocking a cult cinema figure mind - Tis all just a bit of trivia for your consumption. I also dig the cartoon logo of the movie!


  8. Great trailer! That is a cool bit of animation at the end.

    Also, the promise of "zombie teen groping" only makes me want to see this more.