Monroeville’s Undead History


Addison Shepard

The Living Dead Museum pays homage to all things zombie-related.

Addison Shepard, Staff Writer

 Zombies are one of the world’s most feared and recognizable monsters. The undead have been feared for centuries, but they didn’t go mainstream until the late sixties. That’s when George A. Romero, famed horror movie director and Carnegie Mellon alumni, filmed Dawn of the Dead in Monroeville.

Monroeville Mall was one of the main locations where Dawn of the Dead  was filmed. The mall wears its claim to fame with pride, sporting a bust of Romero and a weekend celebration in June dedicated to the monsters that made them famous. On the second floor of the mall, you will find the Living Dead museum, which sports memorabilia for zombie movies, particularly Dawn of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead, which was filmed in nearby Evans City.

The Monroeville Mall has a long history of being used in films, particularly George Romero’s zombie movies. However, the mall has been used in other entertainment, such as Flashdance, Mindhunter, and an episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. The museum sports posters for all movies and television shows filmed in the mall, and has a section dedicated to the museum’s appearance in Mindhunter

When Romero and his crew ventured to the mall to make Night of the Living Dead, they had no expectations that the film would become the signature zombie movie. After deciding to make a horror movie, Romero took the plot from an old short story of his, which had been inspired by I Am Legend by Richard Matheson.

 This was his first movie, with a budget of only $114,000. The costumes were from thrift stores and the blood was chocolate syrup. The gorey nature of the film made it instantly controversial, which in turn made it an extremely popular movie. 31 years after its debut, the movie was added to the National Film Registry, and it is frequently called one of the greatest films ever made.

Romero passed away in 2017, but his impact on the horror genre, and on Pittsburgh, should never be forgotten. So whenever you see someone dressed up as a zombie in a haunted house, you can thank Romero.