‘Living with the Dead’ invades Hillman Library for a night

The George A. Romero archival collection made its debut (or at least some of it did) at the Hillman Library last week during the “Living with the Dead” celebration.

The event on Oct. 23 attracted a large crowd of people who snacked on creepy pastries, got made up to look like zombies, heard staged readings from the director’s movies and checked out posters and memorabilia from Romero’s movies.

Scarehouse set up a fake headstone in front of a backdrop designed to look like a scene from “Night of the Living Dead” and selfies aplenty were taken.

The George Romero Foundation, headed by Romero’s widow Suzanne Desrocher-Romero, handed out its first Pioneer Award winner to “Chilly Billy” Cardille (1928-2016). His daughter Lori accepted in his honor.

Spotted at the event, along with Romero friends and people who had worked on his movies, were Greg Nicotero, who got his start as a makeup artist on “Day of the Dead” and now is an executive producer of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” and Tom Savini, who had roles in Romero’s “Martin,” “Dawn of the Dead” and other films.

The collection was donated to the Pitt libraries in May by material donated by Desrocher-Romero, Romero’s daughter Tina Romero and business partner and friend Peter Grunwald

Ben Rubin, director of the library system’s new Horror Studies Collection, said it will probably take until next spring before the collection is available to researchers. He is working on inventorying the collection and putting it “into an intellectual arrangement that makes sense.”

— Susan Jones


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  • Five people on stage during award ceremony
    The George Romero Foundation's first Pioneer Award winner — “Chilly Billy” Cardille (1928-2016) — was announced during the "Living with the Dead" celebration. The award was accepted by Cardille's daughter, Lori (second from right). Others participating in the award ceremony were (from left): Tina Romero (George's daughter); Kornelia Tancheva (sporting zombie makeup), University Library System director; Ben Rubin, supervisor of the library system’s new Horror Studies Collection; and Romero's widow Suzanne Desrocher-Romero, who also heads the foundation. (Photos by Don Henderson/University of Pittsburgh)
  • People reacting near tombstone
    A scene set up by Scarehouse allowed visitors to be part of a scene from "Night of the Living Dead."
  • Head made from cake
    The pastries at the Living with the Dead celebration had a macabre feel to them, including this head-shaped cake.
  • Display case with memorabilia
    The University Library System showed off some of the items in the Romero Collection. Full cataloguing is still being completed.
  • Monkey from "Monkey Shines"
    A monkey model used in George Romero's "Monkey Shines" was on display.
  • Woman being made up to look like a zombie
    People from Pittsburgh's Scarehouse turned regular librarians (and anyone else who was interested) into zombies with a few dabs of makeup.
  • Posters of George Romero movies
    The Romero collection includes promotional posters from several of the director's movies.
  • Boy pretending to be zombie; family laughing
    Everybody got into the zombie spirit during the "Living with the Dead" celebration.