Monday, February 6, 2012

Farewell, First Zombie.

Welcome loyal S&Pers, welcome.

Please take a moment to fill your glasses. We have another toast of remembrance to raise.

I have just been informed of the passing of Bill Hinzman at the age of 75.

Yes, Bill Hinzman... the screen's first full-fledged, flesh-eating Romero ghoul -- in short, The First Zombie.

Scott William Hinzman
(1936 ---- 2012)

Hinzman was the Cemetery Ghoul, the Graveyard Zombie, from the very first modern zombie film in the first and best zombie film property in history, 1968's Night of the Living Dead.

He may not have been Zombie Zero -- we don't know who, or what, was the first shuffling, biting, infecting ghoul along the East Coast after that Venus probe came back from space carrying that mysterious, high-level radiation -- but he was the very first ghoul we saw, as Johnny teased his sister, "They're coming to get you, Barbara."

He started it all.

He also happened to be a fine cameraman for Romero for that film, and was involved in other Romero projects like There's Always Vanilla (1971), Season of the Witch (1972) and The Crazies (1973). He worked on other films as well, notably directing his own reboot of his Cemetery Zombie character in Flesh Eater (1986).

For many years, Bill had been a staple at horror and fantasy film conventions, dressing up in his iconic makeup and suit, delighting convention goers, autographing pictures and spending time with Dead fans, all of whom will tell you what a kind, funny and approachable fellow he always was.

He doesn't look all that approachable here, but seriously, he was!

Sorry to see you go, Bill.

I hope you can get some rest now.


... somehow, I can't imagine him staying down for long...

So, a toast, as we must --

They came and got you, Bill. 



  1. That's too bad, but he gets to "live on" forever! L.I.M. Bill

  2. That zombie scared the daylights out of me when I was 4. My Dad took all 5 of his children (10 yrs and under) to see this film at the drive in. I remember how creepy this guy was in that first scene. Needless to say, we would not sleep in our rooms that night - my parents had to endure us all on their bedroom floor. I guess my Dad reaped what he sowed!

  3. Hahaha! He sure did!
    What a memory to enjoy, though. I would've had nightmares for weeks if I'd first seen it as a little kid, but it would've been fun to note it as a badge of courage as I got older!

  4. I was thirteen when he scared the bejeebers out of me!
    Thank heaven it was a Saturday matinee and I did not have to ride my bike past any graveyards.

    Night of the Living Dead has played almost as important a part in my upbringing as any of the Universal Monsters.

    And his appearance as Living Dead #1 insured his place in Horror History.

    Thank you Mr Hinzman.

  5. I feel the same way, Fester.

    The original 'Night' surely played almost as big a role in molding my young adulthood as the Universal creeps, and especially regarding Hallowe'en, NOTLD is inextricably woven into how October just 'feels' to me.

    Hinzman's walk, and look, take me back immediately to so many late night B&W TV chills, and even better, so many orange-cloudy October afternoons with a snack and Hallowe'en things to build!

    I think I need a post on this tonight.