On July 16, American horror cinema lost one of its greatest voices when George Romero died from lung cancer at the age of 77. With a career spanning over four decades and numerous film and television projects, Romero left an indelible mark on pop culture and inspired generations of filmmakers. He also holds a special place in the hearts of Pittsburgh film fans, as his iconic Living Dead series made Southwestern Pennsylvania the birthplace of the modern zombie. On July 22, Waterworks Cinemas honors his life and work with a special event.
The theater will host a Zombie Party featuring a screening of Night of the Living Dead and undead-themed activities. Those dressed in their best zombie outfits can receive professional makeovers by artists of Tom Savini Special Make-Up Effects Program. Later in the evening, zombified guests can show off their horrific transformations and compete for top prizes during a pageant judged by macabre makeup experts and other horror gurus.
The Waterworks Cinemas Zombie Party begins at 10 p.m. The pageant takes place at 10:30 p.m. The Night of the Living Dead screening takes place at 11:15 p.m. Tickets are limited and available now for purchase in the theater lobby or online. Please note that Waterworks only offers luxury recliner seating.
When it comes to horror, Pittsburgh has quite a reputation to uphold. That’s why the unofficial Zombie Capital of the World goes the extra mile in October with tons of truly terrifying movie-related events. Whether you’re looking for zombie hordes, unstoppable serial killers, or vengeful ghosts, theaters throughout the city are sure to deliver.
Night of the Living Dead Discussion Panel – AMC Waterfront 22
In 1968, Night of the Living Dead premiered at Pittsburgh’s Fulton Theater – now the Byham Theater – and horror was never the same again. On October 1st, AMC Waterfront 22 theater will celebrate the classic film’s 46th anniversary with a discussion panel featuring a long list of NOTLD alum, including sound engineer Gary Streiner, co-writer John Russo, and actress Kyra Schon, plus a screening of George Romero‘s digitally remastered masterpiece. The event begins at 5 p.m. with the panel discussion at 6:30 p.m. followed by the film at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5, $10.50 for VIP Seats, and are available for purchase at the AMC website.
Horror at the Manor – Manor Theatre
Movie goers can expect plenty of spooky films at the Manor Theatre all month long. The schedule begins on October 4th with Psycho, and continues with Rosemary’s Baby on October 11th, The Shining on October 18th., Friday the 13th on October 25th, and Night of the Living Dead on October 31st. See website for showtimes. Tickets are $9.25, $6.50 for children 12 and under, and $7 for seniors.
2014 Living Dead Fest – EDCO Park
The undead will rise again for the Living Dead Fest in Evans City, PA. From October 10th through October 12th, fans will convene in EDCO park to honor Pittsburgh’s horror heritage, with a re-dedication of the restored Evans City Cemetery Chapel (which was featured in Night of the Living Dead), plus a chance to meet a long list of celebrity guests, including John Amplas (Martin), Tom Atkins (The Fog, Halloween 3), and various cast and crew members from George Romero’s Dead series. Tickets range in price from $15 to $225 and are available at Showclix.
History of Zombies/Row House of Horrors – Row House Cinema
The Row House Cinema is celebrating its first Halloween in style with a long list of classic and modern horror films. From October 17th through October 23rd, the theater will present History of Zombies, which includes screenings of White Zombie, ParaNorman, Army of Darkness, Shaun of the Dead, Planet Terror, and, of course, Night of the Living Dead. From October 24th through October 31st, the theater will roll out a more varied selection for Row House of Horrors, which includes Cabin in the Woods, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Hostel, Carnival of Souls, House on Haunted Hill, Nosferatu, Last Man on Earth, and Vampyr. See website for showtimes and ticket prices.
Halloween Party – Hollywood Theater
Along with screening numerous new and classic horror films – including the haunted house arrest film Housebound, the Japanese cult filck Matango: Attack of the Mushroom People, and John Carpenter’s Halloween – the Hollywood Theater will also host another Halloween party full of fun, festive activities. On October 18th, guests can enjoy food and beverages, tarot card readings, a costume contest with prizes, and a selection of scary films. Doors open at 6 p.m. Spooky shorts begin at 7:30 p.m., followed by Poltergeist at 8 p.m. and the Rocky Horror Picture Show at 11:45 p.m. Tickets are $15 advance at Showclix, $20 at the door. Admission includes two drinks.
SCarrie: The Musical – Bricolage
For the horror fans who want a little song and dance with their telekinetic teen terror, there’s SCarrie at Bricolage. Performed in the style of the theater’s Midnight Radio series, the gender bending musical parody of Stephen King’s breakout novel and director Brian De Palma’s 1976 film adaptation promises plenty of paranormal high school angst topped off with some pig’s blood. The production runs from October 23rd through November 8th. All shows begin at 9 p.m. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. for the Happy Half Hour with complimentary beer and wine. Tickets are $35, $20 for seniors, students, and groups or 10 or above, and are available for purchase at the Bricolage website.
Studios usually release their worst movies in January and February, which makes them the least eventful months for theater goers. On Feb. 1st, the Oaks Theater will at least give horror fans a reason to leave the house with a special Zombie Double Feature.
The night begins with director George Romero‘s classic 1968 work Night of Living Dead, followed by a screening of its equally iconic 1978 sequel Dawn of the Dead. Shot in and around Pittsburgh, the first two chapters in Romero’s Dead series follow the survivors of an encroaching zombie apocalypse.
The Zombie Double Feature starts at 8 p.m. Films can be seen separately, or together as the double feature. Admission for the double feature is $14, $8 for a single feature. Double feature ticket holders are eligible for a special concession deal, which includes a free refill on any size popcorn and/or fountain drink bought during the first show.
Limited releases can wait til November. Instead, Pittsburgh movie theaters are counting down to Halloween with plenty of horror films and holiday happenings.
21 Nights of Fright – Oaks Theater
The Oaks Theater has a solid line-up of classic horror films screening all through October. Admission is $8, $6 for seniors 62 and up, youths 17 and under, and students with ID.
Horror at the Manor – Manor Theatre
Movie goers can find a plenty of spooky films at the Manor Theatre all month long. The schedule begins on Oct. 5th with Jaws, and continues with Poltergeist on Oct. 12th, The Shining on Oct. 19th, and The Exorcist on Oct. 26th. See website for showtimes. Tickets are $9.25, $6.50 for children 12 & under, and $7 for seniors.
RiffTrax Live: Night of the Living Dead
The RiffTrax Live cinema series has been racking in the laughs with its celebrated comedic treatment of films since 2009. On Oct. 24th, the stars of RiffTrax—Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett (best known for the groundbreaking Mystery Science Theater 3000)—are back for a hilarious never-before-seen take on Pittsburgh filmmaker George Romero‘s zombie movie Night of the Living Dead. The event streams live at 8 p.m. Admission is $12.50, $10.50 for children, $11.50 for students and seniors. For tickets and participating area theaters, visit the Fathom Events website.
Birth of the Living Dead – Harris Theater
Speaking of Night of the Living Dead, head to the Harris Theater to see how Romero’s 1968 low budget horror film shocked the world, became an icon of the counterculture, and spawned a zombie industry worth billions of dollars that continues to this day. Director Robert Kuhns‘ documentary Birth of the Living Dead shows how Romero gathered an unlikely team of Pittsburghers — policemen, iron workers, teachers, ad-men, housewives and a roller-rink owner — to shoot, with a revolutionary guerrilla, run-and-gun style, his seminal film. During the process, Romero and his team created an entirely new and horribly chilling monster – one that was undead and feasted upon human flesh. Birth of the Living Dead opens on Oct. 25th. Tickets are $8, $7 for students and seniors.
Halloween Party with Chilly Billy – Hollywood Theater
Along with the many horror screenings taking place at Hollywood Theater this month – including new releases like the supernatural thriller I Will Follow You Into the Dark and the monster movie Big Ass Spider! – the venue will also throw a special Halloween costume party. On Oct. 26th, the event pays tribute to Chiller Theater with footage from the classic Pittsburgh TV program, an appearance by host Bill “Chilly Billy” Cardille, a showing of the 1954 flick Creature from the Black Lagoon (a 35mm print and in 3D), and a costume contest. Scary snacks, along with adult and kid beverages, will be provided. Doors open at 6 p.m., program begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance at Showclix, $20 at the door. Admission includes two drink tickets.
Few horror films have stood the test of time, or have influenced culture as much as George Romero‘s 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead. On Aug. 30th and 31st, Night‘s original cast and crew members will meet with fans at the place where it all started – Evans City, PA – to honor the 45th anniversary of this landmark movie.
Now in its fifth year, Living Dead Fest provides a weekend of events and activities centered around Pittsburgh’s proud zombie film history. Besides commemorating Night‘s milestone, this year’s gathering will also celebrate the completion of the Fix The Chapel project, which seeks to restore and preserve the Evans City Cemetery chapel, a building that served as part of the backdrop in Romero’s seminal work. See below for the fest schedule:
11 a.m. – Gates open
12 p.m. to 1 p.m. – Judith O’Dea and Russ Streiner at The Evans City Cemetery
2 p.m. to 3 p.m. – Jack Russo and Judith Ridley at The Original Farmhouse Location
4 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Russ Streiner and Richard Ricci at Kevin Kriess‘ New Evans City Store
6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. – The Celebration of the Chapel at the Evans City Cemetery
8 p.m. to 10 p.m. – Bonfire at EDCO Park
10 a.m. – Gates open
11 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Bill Cardille and George Kosana at The Bridge, near the farmhouse location
2 p.m. to 3 p.m. – Judith O’Dea and Russ Streiner at The Evans City Cemetery
7:30 p.m. – Signings end
8 p.m. to 9 p.m. – Q&A panel with Night celebrity guests
9 p.m. – Night of the Living Dead screening
Living Dead Fest will meet in EDCO Park. Besides those mentioned above, additional confirmed guests are Terry Gindele, John Kirch, Herbert Summer, Dick Heckard, and Dave James.
General rates range range from $10 to $20. Celebrity tours are $50. For $95, attendees will also receive a limited edition event poster designed by Terry Callen of Screaming Brain Studio. Tickets are available for purchase at Showclix.
The contemporary chamber music group, Andrew Alden Ensemble, has made a name for itself by adding original soundtracks to silent films. Last February, the act performed a live score for the 1925 fantasy adventure The Lost World at the Hollywood Theater – on March 30th, they return to take on talkies for a special screening of Night of the Living Dead.
As part of their spring tour, the ensemble will visit the Manor Theatre to host a special midnight performance focused around George Romero‘s classic 1968 zombie film. The work will screen without sound and with subtitles, and will feature musical accompaniment, including an electric guitar, drum set, synthesizer, piano, violin and viola.
Tickets are $10 and are available for purchase at the Manor Theatre website. For a taste of what to expect, watch a trailer for the event below.
In 1968, Pittsburgh filmmaker George Romero released what would become one of the most iconic horror films of the 20th century. The influential work inspired generations of fans, and made zombies a pop culture sensation that endures in movies, books, TV and theater. For its 45th anniversary, the Heinz History Center celebrates Night of the Living Dead with a special event.
On Feb. 22nd, the museum hosts a screening of the film as part of its new exhibition 1968: The Year That Rocked America. Guests can enjoy a behind the scenes tour of the exhibit, as well as snacks and refreshments, including alcoholic beverages, popcorn, and retro candy. The happening will also raise the dead, as attendees participate in Pittsburgh’s Best Zombie Contest. The winners of the inaugural contest will be crowned the Zombie King and Queen of Pittsburgh, and will each receive a prize package containing a ScareHouse prize coffin with two RIP passes to The ScareHouse 2013, and merchandise from the zombie store House of the Dead.
The event begins at 5 p.m. with the contest and screening taking place at 7 p.m. The event is free with regular museum admission.
It’s hard to deny Pittsburgh’s growing role as a movie making hub. Whether its low-key comedies like Zack and Miri or blockbusters like The Dark Knight Rises, the city has welcomed and accommodated more major league film business over the last decade. But in its transformation into the Hollywood of the East, it’s easy to forget the former steel town’s previous, and less recognized contributions to American cinema. To avoid that, many have used the written word to celebrate the city’s unique influence on the motion picture industry.
Pittsburgh Film History: On Set In the Steel City – By John Tiech
Last week, local author John Tiech released his book Pittsburgh Film History: On Set In the Steel City, a look at the area’s film and television industry from the silent era to present day. The college English instructor interviewed over 100 sources, combed newspaper articles, and utilized his connections with the local film community to complete the 160-page work, a resource he said many considered “long overdue.” On Set In the Steel City may prove one of the most comprehensive guides on Pittsburgh film history to date. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]
Nickelodeon City: Pittsburgh at the Movies, 1905-1929, By Michael Aronson
From the beginning, Pittsburgh has played a large role in the consideration and expansion of film as a beloved art form. In 1905 – long before Hollywood became the movie capital of the world – the country’s first Nickelodeon opened in the city’s downtown, offering citizens a cheap escape from their industrial work-a-day lives. This 2010 book from film and media expert Michael Aronson details how cultural and economic factors led to the development of Pittsburgh’s early film trade, and the impact it had on the growth of the overall industry.
Stories From The Chapel, Edited By Lauren Izzo and Alfredo Torres
When news broke of the Evans City Chapel’s impending demolition last year, Night of the Living Dead fans rallied to save it. The Fix the Chapel project was created as a way to raise the funds necessary to restore the small building – featured in the classic Pittsburgh-made zombie movie – and many joined the effort to preserve a piece of horror film history.
The Kindel book Stories From The Chapel contains a collection of pieces from professional and amateur writers, poets, and artists united by their love for Night of the Living Dead. The anthology features some entertaining zombie-inspired prose, as well as thoughtful and informative forewards by the film’s sound engineer, Gary Streiner, and horror author, David Moody. Each purchase goes toward supporting Fix the Chapel.
The Zombies That Ate Pittsburgh: The Films of George A. Romero – By Paul R. Gagne
Published in 1987, Paul Gagne‘s biography on filmmaker George Romero still provides relevent details on how the director inadvertently made his hometown the unofficial Zombietown, U.S.A. The book chronicles how he took his childhood fascination with an 8mm camera and developed it into a long career that includes the ground-breaking Night of the Living Dead series, collaboration with Stephen King on the movie Creepshow, and lesser known works such as Martin and The Crazies. Gagne also provides eight pages of color photos and 100 black-and-white shots, as well as a chapter on legendary make-up and special effects artist, Tom Savini, another Pittsburgh native who worked with Romero on a number of films.
Crossroads: Avant-Garde Film in Pittsburgh in the 1970s – By Robert A. Haller
In Robert A. Haller‘s memoir, he recounts living and working with Pittsburgh’s burgeoning experimental film community in the 1970s. The writer facilitated the movement through his work at Pittsburgh Filmmakers, an organization that became one of the city’s greatest independent resources for teaching and promoting film making.
In 1978, director George Romero unleashed hordes of monsters on the Monroeville Mall in his classic horror sequel, Dawn of the Dead. Since then, the Pittsburgh shopping center has become zombie central, and fans will get to celebrate its undead history at an upcoming event.
On June 24, The Zombie Crawl in the Monroeville Mall returns after a nearly three-year hiatus. Organized by the mall’s zombie-themed museum, Monroeville Zombies, the walk will help raise funds for FixtheChapel.com, a group dedicated to restoring the local Evans City Cemetery chapel building that served as part of the backdrop in Romero’s seminal horror film, Night of the Living Dead. News of the dilapidated landmark’s impending destruction surfaced last year, and since then the group has sold t-shirts and organized a number of benefits in order to raise the $50 thousand required to preserve it.
Fix the Chapel isn’t the only charity getting some zombie love – organizers will also collect non-perishable food items for The Greater Pittsburgh Area Food Bank.
Those interested in participating should register in the Monroeville Zombies museum, now located inside the Funhouse Arcade in the lower level at Macy’s court. Registration begins at 10 a.m. on June 24, and the crawl begins at 10:30 a.m. Games, exhibits and activities will follow the event, including a zombie-themed talent contest that will take place at 2:00 p.m.
Festivities will be hosted by the cast of the midnight movie program, The It’s Alive Show, who sponsored the event along with Screaming Brain Studio and Funhouse Arcade. Their show airs Saturday nights at 10:00 p.m. on WBGN-TV.
I did the crawl years ago right after Halloween, and it was nothing less than a good time. So put on some fake blood and slowly shamble down to the Monroeville Mall next Sunday to help support Pittsburgh’s cherished zombie heritage.