Monday, February 6, 2012

Farewell, Bill Hinzman

That name may not ring a bell, but his face sure will. When Bill Hinzman appears swaggering through a graveyard just minutes into Night of the Living Dead, we are aware that a) George Romero has no intention of easing us into the hot water and b) the zombie rule book has just been rewritten. Night of the Living Dead was the very first film to reimagine zombies not as voodoo pawns but as a concentrated team of brain-dead brain eaters, and Bill Hinzman played the very first of that new brand of zombie. On the strength of that dialogue-less yet iconic role, Hinzman was cast in horror movies on a semi-regular basis throughout his career, including Romero's own The Crazies, Santa Claws, and the delightfully-titled direct-to-video The Drunken Dead Guy (in which Hinzman played, appropriately enough, "The Experienced Zombie"). Hinzman also directed a couple of schlockers of his own called FleshEater and The Majorettes. According to Dread, Bill Hinzman died of cancer at the age of 75 on February 5th. Insert tasteless joke about his return from the grave.

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