2019 Romero Lives! Press Release
Last fall, dozens of organizations and businesses across Pittsburgh celebrated the 50th anniversary of what is perhaps the city’s signature film, 1968’s Night of the Living Dead. A landmark in modern horror, and in independent filmmaking, George A. Romero’s debut was the first feature film to come out of Pittsburgh. Night is now regarded by critics, historians, and legions of horror and zombie enthusiasts as an undisputed classic, and one of the most important American films of its era. And it was the first step in a long and storied filmmaking career based in the Steel City.
This year we continue to expand the tribute, and to establish October as a month for an annual, citywide celebration in Pittsburgh of zombies, horror, and the work of Pittsburgh’s own master of the genre George A. Romero and his collaborators. Organized by the George A. Romero Foundation, this year’s events include the “Living Dead Weekend” celebrating Romero in Night’s filming location of Evans City (Sept 27-29), screenings including a comprehensive Romero film series at the Regent Square Theater (Oct 11-20), the premiere of Romero’s “lost” film The Amusement Park (Oct 12 at the Regent Square Theater), a rare 3-D screening of Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (Oct 25-26 at the Carnegie Science Center), a discussion with Steelers legend Franco Harris about his work and lifelong friendship with Romero (Oct 20 at the Regent Square Theater), and much, much more. A full list of events, constantly updated, can be found here.
The Regent Square Theater (1035 S. Braddock Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15218, https://cinema.pfpca.org/) will host this year’s Romero Lives! Film series, the city’s biggest ever series of Romero’s films, spanning from the early commercials, industrials, and short films through beloved zombie masterpieces like Night of the Living Dead and Day of the Dead and cult classics like The Crazies and Creepshow. The series will take place Oct 11-20. Romero’s family and collaborators – including Suzanne Romero, Lori Cardille, John Amplas, Russell Streiner, Christine Romero, Andy Sands, and more – and film scholars and archivists from the University of Pittsburgh, will be present to introduce many of the screenings. Presented by the PCA&M Theater Exhibition and the George A. Romero Foundation. More information at https://www.georgearomerofoundation.org/about-romero-lives/filmseries
The film series will feature two once-in-a-lifetime events. On Saturday, Oct 12, the Regent Square Theater will premiere the newly-restored “lost” Romero film The Amusement Park. Filmed in 1973, The Amusement Park was commissioned as a film intended to inform viewers about the need to care for the elderly. Romero, however, conceived of what was perhaps his wildest, most imaginative movie: an allegory about the nightmarish realities of aging in a world without an adequate social safety net. Starring Martin’s Lincoln Maazel, an elderly man finds himself disoriented and increasingly isolated as the pains, tragedies, and humiliations of aging in America manifest themselves through roller coasters, bumper cars, and chaotic crowds. Shot in the now-defunct West View Amusement Park in Pittsburgh’s North Hills, The Amusement Park is a strange but incredibly humane film that, nonetheless, might be Romero’s “most overtly horrifying film.” (author Daniel Kraus) The screening will be followed by a reception at the Regent Square Theater. More information at https://www.georgearomerofoundation.org/amusement-park-premiere
On Sunday, Oct 20 at 7pm, the Regent Square Theater will host Pittsburgh Steelers legend Franco Harris for “An Evening with Franco Harris: The Steelers Legend Remembers George A. Romero.” Harris’s relationship with Romero began in 1973 when Romero made a TV documentary called Franco Harris: Good Luck on Sunday and continued through never-realized film collaborations – including a bigfoot film starring Harris! – up until the last years of Romero’s life. This special event will pay tribute to Romero and Harris, with clips from Romero’s documentaries, and a moderated discussion with the legendary Franco in person about Romero and their work together. More information can be found online at https://www.georgearomerofoundation.org/franco
Full Screening Schedule at the Regent Square Theater:
Friday Oct 11 7pm: Night of the Living Dead (1968), introduced by actor/producer Russell Streiner
Fri Oct 11 9pm: The Crazies (1973)
Sat Oct 12 6pm: Day of the Dead (1985), introduced by actors Lori Cardille and John Amplas
Sat Oct 12 8pm: The Amusement Park (1973) WORLD PREMIERE OF RESTORATION
Sun Oct 13 4:30pm: Land of the Dead (2005), introduced by Suzanne Romero
Sun Oct 13 7pm: Diary of the Dead (2007), introduced by Suzanne Romero
Sun Oct 13 9pm: Survival of the Dead (2009), introduced by Suzanne Romero
Mon Oct 14 6:30pm: Two Evil Eyes (George A. Romero & Dario Argento, 1990), introduced by University of Pittsburgh Professors Marcia Landy & Adam Lowenstein
Mon Oct 14 9pm: Bruiser (2000)
Tues Oct 15 7pm: There’s Always Vanilla (1971), introduced by producer Russell Streiner
Tues Oct 15 9pm: Season of the Witch (1972)
Wed Oct 16 7pm: Short Films, Industrials, and Commercials, introduced by Three Rivers Film Festival’s Ben Ogrodnik and Flea Market Film’s Steven Haines
Thurs Oct 17 7pm: The Dark Half (1993), introduced by art department coordinator Andy Sands and the University of Pittsburgh Library Systems’ Ben Rubin. Rubin will give a brief history of Romero’s unproduced collaborations with author Stephen King found in the Library’s George A. Romero Archival Collection.
Thurs Oct 17 9:30pm: Monkey Shines (1988)
Fri Oct 18 7pm: Creepshow (1982), introduced by actress Christine Romero
Sat Oct 19 8pm: Knightriders (1981), introduced by actress Christine Romero
Sun Oct 20 7pm: An Evening with Franco Harris: The Steelers Legend Remembers George A. Romero
On Wednesday, Oct 23, the University of Pittsburgh’s Hillman Library will host Living with the Dead, a gala celebration of the library system’s acquisition of the George A. Romero Archival Collection and the establishment of the world’s first Horror Studies Archive. At the event, Suzanne Romero will present the George A. Romero Foundation’s Pioneer Award to William “Chilly Billy” Cardille, accepted by his daughter, star of Romero’s Day of the Dead Lori Cardille. The party will feature a display of some of the archive’s most intriguing items, including posters, behind-the-scenes photographs, props, screenplay drafts, letters, and other treasures. More information can be found online at http://romero.library.pitt.edu
On Oct 11-12, Pitt’s UPTV will host a 24-Hour Horror Filmmaking Competition co-presented by the George A. Romero Foundation. Students from any schools are eligible to participate! No experience necessary. To sign up, please visit the UPTV Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/2403267456574786/
For a full list of events, please visit http://RomeroLives.org
About George A. Romero
When George A. Romero passed away in 2017, he was remembered by fans around the world as one of the inventors of modern horror, the creator of beloved, hugely influential genre masterpieces like Night of the Living Dead and Creepshow, but to Pittsburgh, he was something more. Romero moved here from the Bronx in 1957 to attend what was then known as Carnegie Tech where he slowly drifted towards theater, and then to film, founding a Pittsburgh production house with a handful of friends called The Latent Image in 1963. The young filmmakers made commercials and industrial films, shorts for Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and any other paying gig they could find, but their plans were much, much bigger. Romero and his collaborators wanted to make feature films, movies that would play in cinemas around the country and the world – a truly improbable dream they would realize with Romero’s first feature, the epochal Night of the Living Dead. But more than that, they wanted to establish Pittsburgh as a viable home for film production. Romero’s affection for Pittsburgh kept him here, making movies, for the next forty years, turning down the glitz, glamour, and financial support of Hollywood so that he could live and work in the city he loved. He brought some big stars to the city for his movies, but he also nurtured and mentored local talent, giving some of Pittsburgh’s most talented film artists a global audience. In the process, they established Pittsburgh as one of the world’s premiere centers for horror movies.
Romero Filmography (Director unless otherwise noted)
1968: Night of the Living Dead
1971: There’s Always Vanillas
1973: Season of the Witch
1973: The Crazies
1973: The Amusement Park
1974-1976: The Winners: Series of 17 sports documentaries directed and/or produced by Romero for television, including OJ Simpson: Juice on the Loose (1973), Franco Harris: Good Luck on Sunday (1973), Bruno Sammartino: Strong Man (1975), Willie Stargell: What If I Didn’t Play Baseball (1974), I’m Back: The Rocky Bleier Story (dir. Michael Gornick, 1975), The Steel Curtain: Pittsburgh’s Front Four (dir. Michael Gornick, 1975), Thank God I’m a Country Boy: Terry Bradshaw (dir. Michael Gornick, 1975)
1978: Dawn of the Dead
1983: Tales from the Darkside (TV); Creator, writer of 4 episodes
1985: Day of the Dead
1988: Monkey Shines
1990: Two Evil Eyes (w/Dario Argento)
1993: The Dark Half
2005: Land of the Dead
2007: Diary of the Dead
2009: Survival of the Dead
About the George A. Romero Foundation
Founded in 2018 by Suzanne Romero and a close-knit group of George’s friends, family, and collaborators, the George A. Romero Foundation is dedicated to honoring the life work and cultural influence of George A. Romero, and supporting a new generation of filmmakers and artists inspired by his legacy. In 2019, the GARF successfully crowd-funded the restoration of Romero’s “lost” film, 1973’s The Amusement Park, which will premiere at the Regent Square Theater in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Oct 12. Future initiatives include further restorations of Romero’s work, scholarships and showcases for young filmmakers, and establishing the world’s first Horror Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh.
About the George A. Romero Archival Collection
Comprised of three separate archives belonging to Suzanne Romero, his widow, Tina Romero, his daughter, and Peter Grunwald, his business partner and friend, the collection is unmatched in content and scope, consisting of hundreds of drafts of produced and unproduced screenplays; script notes; treatments; budgets; shooting schedules; cast lists; production tests; dailies; artwork; correspondence; contracts and agreements; news clippings and magazines; ephemera, including props and set dressing; promotional materials; posters; and a treasure trove of audio-visual materials. Taken together, the archives will allow students, filmmakers, and fans from around the world to trace Romero’s projects from inception to completion and offer rare insight into the career of a filmmaking legend.