Pittsburgh & Its Countryside
3 days - 15 stops
If you find delight in a little fright, Happy Travelers this trail is for you! More than 50 years ago, George Romero filmed the classic flick, “Night of the Living Dead,” in PA, breathing life into the undead – zombies! This three-day trail is packed with film locations from the terrifying movies we all know and love. Be warned – this trail isn’t for the faint of heart! The dead just may rise on this Horror Film Trail throughout western PA.
Day One: Evans City
Evans City Cemetery
Your first stop on this terrifying trail starts, where else but Evans City Cemetery. Here, you too can recreate the opening scenes from “Night of the Living Dead” as you whisper that iconic line, “They’re coming to get you, Barbara.” More spine-tingling chills await when you view the old chapel and Nicholas Kramer’s tombstone, which Barbara clung to after the first zombie attack.
The Living Dead Museum and Gift Shop
Just up the road is the must-see for all undead lovers - The Living Dead Museum and Gift Shop. Delve into zombie pop culture and the thematic history of the “Night of the Living Dead” with special exhibits and memorabilia, a gallery, and a screening room. Don’t miss the celebrity handprints in the “Maul of Fame,” which of course, features prints from the creator of zombie culture himself – George Romero!
Bonus tip: For even more fun around the cult classic film, visit Evans City during the annual Living Dead Weekend, featuring celebrity appearances, panels, and film screenings. Evans City is the place to be Sept. 27-29, 2019!
Evans City Post Office
Evans City is also the film location for another Romero classic, “The Crazies.” In this 1973 film, the military tries to combat a virus that causes insanity and consumes Evans City. Filmed at various locations throughout Evans City, it’s a short three minute walk from the Living Dead Museum to the Evans City Post Office. You’ll have to use your imagination to picture a soldier from the movie fighting infected townspeople in front of the post office’s façade.
Kittanning Citizen’s Bridge
Fans of the 2002 combination supernatural-mystery-horror flick, “The Mothman Prophecies,” will want to journey to Kittanning – about a 40-minute drive east from Evans City. With many scenes filmed in and around Kittanning, this is where a lot of the film action took place. No worries crossing Kittanning Citizen’s Bridge in downtown Kittanning! Unlike “Silver Bridge” that did collapse, Kittanning’s bridge is structurally sound and continues to be a movie star in its own right!
Omni William Penn
If you’re looking to experience the dead in a different type of way, book a stay at the Omni William Penn in downtown Pittsburgh. Opening in 1916, the William Penn is on the National Register of Historic Places and has had its fair share of notable guests including celebrities and dignitaries. With such a long, glamourous history, the hotel naturally has some spirits rumored to roam the halls!
Bonus tip: Calm your nerves at The Speakeasy – a sophisticated social lounge that whisks patrons back to the Pittsburgh of the 1920s. A secluded space, tucked beneath the hotel lobby and used as storage space for decades, it has been restored into its former historic glory with plush scarlet seating surrounded by a lavish flocked wall coverings.
Day Two: Pittsburgh
Hillman Library at the University of Pittsburgh
After a (hopefully!) restful night at the Omni William Penn, start off day two paying homage to film icon, George Romero, at the University of Pittsburgh’s Hillman Library. The university acquired the George A. Romero Collection and Horror Archive just this past spring and has it on display through October. The archive captures the filmmaking pioneer’s life with drafts of screenplays, script notes, set dressing, and many other items from his directorial past including a rather scary foam zombie head!
Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall
Take an eight-minute stroll through the quaint Oakland neighborhood then a deep breath before entering your next stop, Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. The museum’s Grand Ballroom was the location for the chilling cage scene in “Silence of the Lambs.” Thankfully, Hannibal’s long gone, but you can see a replica of the cage, complete with actors bringing to life the movie’s iconic roles in the room where the scene was shot (Oct. 4, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. – adults only).
Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Still feeling brave? It’s time for more of Pittsburgh’s “Silence of the Lambs” film locations. Just like Clarice, stroll by Carnegie Museum of Natural History‘s famous T. Rex on your way to the museum’s bug rooms as you seek out specimens of Death’s Head Hawkmoths with their skull-like markings that put Clarice on the trail of Buffalo Bill. For that extra creepy feel, explore the museum at night during Haunted Museum After Dark, Oct. 18, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. – adults only.
Bonus tip: Not far from the Museum of Natural History is Carnegie Mellon University – George Romero’s alma mater! Here the director shot a segment of his 1982 film, “Creepshow,” which features five terrifying tales written by the master of horror genre, Stephen King. Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall look a bit familiar in a scary kind of way? It served as “Amberson Hall” in Creepshow’s “The Crate” story.
Old Allegheny County Jail
Wrap up your “Silence of the Lambs” day with a trip to the Old Allegheny County Jail where some interior shots from “Silence of the Lambs” and exterior shots from Netflix series “Mindhunter” were filmed. Completed in 1886, this castle-like landmark in downtown Pittsburgh has been transformed into an actual court and museum. You can take a self-guided tour of the jail museum on Oct. 28, 11:30 am - 1 p.m., but beware! The old jail allegedly has plenty of ghosts of its own!
Le Mardi Gras
Le Mardi Gras opened in 1954 and is the oldest and only cocktail lounge in Pittsburgh. The bar was featured in George Romero and Dario Argento’s movie, “Two Evil Eyes.” The film is an adaption of two Edgar Allan Poe short stories and features Le Mardi Gras. Notable patrons include Alice Cooper, George Clooney, Russell Crowe, Ted Danson, and the writers and producers of “Hill Street Blues.”
Original Oyster House
For nearly 150 years, Original Oyster House has served the best seafood from Pittsburgh’s oldest bar and restaurant. In October, take a quick walk from the old jail and stop in for a beer to embrace the full spirit of zombie season at the restaurant’s Zombie Pop-Up Bar.
Jekyl & Hyde Bar
If you wish it was Halloween every day and horror brings you joy, then Jekyl & Hyde Bar in Pittsburgh is the spot to kick back with a spooky night cap or two of True Blood, Batty Banana, Zombie, Frankenstein, and Boogyman.
Washington & Jefferson College
Less than an hour from Pittsburgh, Romero fans can see another of his iconic film locations where scenes of a college campus from “The Dark Half” were shot at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington. See the iconic Old Main building and some of its rooms as they appear in the film. Also, the crime series, “Mindhunter,” has also been filmed here!
Day Three: Pittsburgh & Monroeville
Start your morning by traveling to Italy – Little Italy in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield neighborhood that is! In the 1992 horror “Innocent Blood,” Marie the vampire is out for blood and has a thirst for bad guys in the Mob. Spots from Little Italy can be seen in the movie as well as the stunning view of the Pittsburgh skyline and the Point. While in Little Italy, be sure to swing through the Italian grocers and bakeries for truly authentic experience.
The undead have taken over the Monroeville Mall! Another George Romero zombie classic, “Dawn of the Dead,” was filmed here. Don’t be scared! In the film you see zombies roaming the mall, riding the escalators, and exploring the fountains as the living try to survive the outbreak. Get inspired to direct your own zombie-fied scenes and pay homage to the master filmmaker by snapping a few pictures with the George Romero bust in the mall.
Bonus tip: Just like the celebratory weekend in Evans City, Living Dead Weekend Monroeville happens in June, and “Dawn of the Dead” tours are taken throughout the Monroeville Mall and Harold W. Memorial Airfield, which also makes an appearance in the film as the remaining survivors stop here to fuel up and run in to some undead wanderers. Horror fans have to experience this event!