Walter Mencken 8:33 a.m., Nov. 21
Short of beating, burning, or a bullet to the head, zombies aren't supposed to die, particularly of cancer. Alas, that was the fate that befell Bill Hinzman, the first flesh-eater ever to grace a George A. Romero Living Dead epic.
Bill Hinzman as "Cemetery Zombie".
Bela Lugosi (White Zombie), Darby Jones (I Walked With A Zombie), and even Alan Carney and Wally Brown (Zombies on Broadway) all came before him, but Hinzman was the initial slow-moving automaton to appear in one of Romero's beloved zombie epics.
For people with short memories or -- perish the thought -- those who have never seen Night of the Living Dead, Hinzman shows up in the opening scene to terrorize a brother and sister visiting their folks at the cemetery. He's the one that's "coming to get you, Barbara!"
Hinzman appeared in Romero's The Crazies (which he also photographed) as well as snagging bit roles in Evil Ambitions, Santa Claws, and Legion of the Night. Behind the camera, Hinzman directed a pair of extremely low-budget horror films, Flesh Eater and The Majorettes. Bill Hinzman was 75.
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