The Living Dead Festival lends an undead hand to cinema landmark

The Hollywood Theater in Dormont is getting a financial boost from beyond the grave.


On March 2, members of The Living Dead Festival – an organization that celebrates director George A. Romero’s ground-breaking chiller “Night of the Living Dead – are holding a fundraiser at the 80-year-old movie house. The event will feature a meet-and-greet session with “Night” cast members, raffles, auctions and a 35mm film-screening of the classic flick. All proceeds will be used to help The Hollywood go digital.


Movie distributors are phasing out film, forcing theaters to buy digital projection systems that cost about $75,000. The Hollywood – recently renovated and one of Pittsburgh’s only remaining single-screen theaters – has already collected $12,000 to purchase the equipment needed to keep its doors open. It currently relies on a DVD projector to show an eclectic mix of cinema, from Academy Award winners and spaghetti westerns to foreign films, B-movies and documentaries.


Living Dead Festival organizers know a little bit about unearthing funds. Last year, the group launched its Fix the Chapel campaign to save a dilapidated building in Evans City Cemetery, which served as the backdrop in “Night’s” iconic opening scene. The $50,000-goal is within reach and restoration work has begun on the structure.


Gary Streiner, director of the grassroots effort and a member of the original “Night” production staff, hopes fans of all film genres – not just horror buffs – will turn out for the event.


The Hollywood Theater is located at 1449 Potomac Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15216. Doors open at 2 p.m., with a celebrity meet-and-greet at 4 p.m., and a “Night of the Living Dead” screening at 8 p.m. There are two ticket plans. For $25, you will receive a commemorative event poster and can have it signed by “Night” cast and crew members for free. And $10 if your just interested in being there without the poster. Celebrity guests include Kyra Schon, Russ Streiner, George Kosana, Joe Unitas, Ella Mae Smith, Paula Richards and Gary Streiner. (more guests could be added as we get closer to the date)


This event is also the kickoff for “Night of the Living Dead’s” 45 Anniversary. Right here in Pittsburgh. How can you call yourself a Night Fan and miss this one?


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