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Zombies in Pittsburgh

In recent years, zombies have crawled their way to top rung of horror movie monsters and now run amok through television, videogames, cinema and literature. With Call of Duty’s zombie mode and AMC’s The Walking Dead, fright fanatics hold horror in their hands. At any minute they can hit play on comedy thriller Zombieland and be immersed in a world overrun with the living dead. But there’s only one place that gets to the roots of zombie culture… 

A number of horror movie legends have risen up and out of Pittsburgh’s institutions. George A. Romero, director of The Night of the Living Dead, attended Carnegie Mellon University. Apparently his time in Pittsburgh served as inspirational, as he later filmed numerous horror flicks in local areas. Night of the Living Dead was set in Butler County, just an hour outside of Pittsburgh, and Dawn of the Dead was filmed at the Monroeville Mall. Pittsburgh native Tom Savini launched his career by running the make-up effects for Dawn of the Dead. Romero and Savini are now known as the “Godfather of Zombies” and “Godfather of Gore,” respectively. Another native and make-up artist, Greg Nicotero, acted and started his career with Day of the Dead before moving on to do makeup for several other films. He is now the co-executive producer and makeup artist for AMC’s The Walking Dead

Pittsburgh’s zombie-heavy cinematic history lends itself to pop culture references abound. Videogame Left 4 Dead’s in-game locations include Mercy Hospital and Allegheny National Forest. My Chemical Romance also wrote a zombie-themed song, “Early Sunsets Over Monroeville,” as a nod to Dawn of the Dead.


How have native Pittsburghers reacted to their hometown being assigned to the undead? They’ve taken it in limp and zombies have become a common facet of the city’s Halloween culture. Zombie-themed events run rampant throughout October, including Zombiefest, a costume party complete with bands, vendors, activities, food, a dance contest and, to help you win that, alcohol. Pittsburgh also has an abundance of haunted houses but the most popular attraction by far is the Pittsburgh Zombie Outbreak interactive paintball hayride. People line up in the masses to hop in the Zombie Extermination Vehicles and shoot zombies on the infested hospital grounds. Well, what are you waiting for? Call now and book your seats… it’s a real no-brainer.

Meet the Neighbors

Julie Throckmorton
Washington & Jefferson College

"We’re spoiled in Pittsburgh being so close to the rivers.”