Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dollar Bin Spotlight: Pittsburgh and its Horror Connection

By Eric Polk of
When you think Pittsburgh, you may think steel, you may think Pittsburgh Steelers, or you may think damn they have alot of bridges. What you may not know is the connection my hometown(how Rhonda, a native Clevelander, and I get along is a psychological mystery, lol.) has with the horror genre.

George Romero-Grandfather of the Zombie Apocalypse genre, Mr. Romero, though born in NYC, graduated from Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University to embark on a career shooting short films and commercials. After filming a segment for Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, in which Mr. Roger's has a tonsillectomy, he became inspired to go into the horror business. He along with a few of his friends formed their own production company and in 1968 released on to the world the legendary Night of the Living Dead. Almost overnight, a new age of horror was born. He followed up that film with a couple of clinkers and then the original The Crazies in 1973.

In 1977, he debunked vampire myths with Martin. In 1978, he unleashed what many fans consider to be the greatest zombie movie of all time, Dawn of the Dead. Afterwards, he continued having a hit-or-miss career. (Hits-Creepshow, Day of the Dead, Monkey Shines, The Dark Half. Misses-Knightriders, Two Evil Eyes). This past decade, he continued his Dead movies with 2005's Land of the Dead, 2008's Diary of the Dead, and last years Survival of the Dead.

Tom Savini-Where would horror be today without the SFX genius of fellow Pittsburgher Tom Savini? His work abundantly speaks for itself. Friday the 13th (I,IV), Dawn of the Dead, Creepshow, Maniac, The Prowler....

Like Mr. Romero, Savini also attended Carnegie Mellon University. It was during his stint as a photographer in Vietnam that he really became really involved with makeup and horror effects. It was for this reason George Romero hired him to do the gore for the original Dawn of the Dead. In addition to his effects work, Savini also has acted, directed, and currently runs a special effects.

Other Pittsburgh horror factoids-
Stephen King's Christine takes place in the fictional Pittsburgh suburb of Liberyville.

For two generations, legendary Bill "Chilly Billy" Cardle kept kids up on Saturday nights with WIIC's(WPXI) Chiller Theatre. The show was so popular, it actually kept Saturday Night Live off the air in Pittsburgh for its first four seasons.

Other Pittsburgh horror movies include The Majorettes and Innocent Blood.


Zombie Mom said...

Yeah! Pittsburgh rocks! Several newer movies were filmed here in Western Pa as well such as Mothman Prophecies, My Bloody Valentine 3-D and parts of Silence of the Lambs!

eric polk said...

I read about that when I was double-checking my research...Pittsburgh is a great place to shoot movies