'Night of the Living Dead' to rise again for festival

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Organizers predict it will be the largest gathering of the "Night of the Living Dead" cast and crew since its premiere 45 years ago.

George A. Romero won't be there (due to another commitment), but you can walk in the footsteps of many others at the Evans City Cemetery, see where the fabled farmhouse once stood, take photos or gather autographs and, of course, rewatch the 1968 classic.

The 2013 Living Dead Fest will mark the first time Russ Streiner, Judith O'Dea, Judith Ridley and Bill Cardille, all of whom appeared in key roles, will appear together since filming. Participants are coming from as far away as England as well as far-flung locations in the States.

Gates at EDCO Park, 154 W. Main St. in Evans City, less than a mile from the cemetery, will open at 11 a.m. Friday and at 10 a.m. Saturday. It will be the staging area for the event.

Prices range from $6 to watch the movie at 9 p.m. Saturday and admission of $10 Friday, $15 Saturday or $20 for both days to $95 for the weekend access plus a collectible poster with photos of the 21 guests and the opportunity to have them sign it.

Free are a 6 p.m. Friday celebration of the repair of the "chapel" at Evans City Cemetery along with an 8 p.m. bonfire at EDCO Park. No word on whether zombies will be tossed into the flames.

New this year will be a series of celebrity meet-and-greets, each an hour long, limited to 15 to 20 people and documented by a professional photographer who will provide a color or black-and-white photo for autographs. Cost is $50, and organizers say the spots are going quickly.

On Friday, Ms. O'Dea and Mr. Streiner, who played the siblings in the opening scenes, will be at the cemetery while co-writer Jack Russo and Ms. Ridley, who was one of the survivors holed up in the farmhouse cellar, will be at the original farmhouse location.

On Saturday, celebrity guest signings will resume, and meet-and-greet opportunities will feature Mr. Cardille and George Kosana (who played the sheriff) near the onetime farmhouse, along with Ms. O'Dea and Mr. Streiner at the cemetery.

Signings end at 7:30 p.m., a Q-and-A session will be held from 8 to 9 p.m. and the movie will flicker to life at 9 p.m.

Photographs at the signing tables will be free, but signatures will be $20 each, standard at conventions and other events such as this. Also expected to be open nearby is the new Living Dead Museum and Gift Shop on Main Street in Evans City.

Details, directions and tickets are available through www.livingdeadfest.com, and you can also buy tickets at the door, although meet-and-greet access may be unavailable or limited.

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Movie editor Barbara Vancheri: bvancheri@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1632. Read her blog: www.post-gazette.com/madaboutmovies. First Published August 28, 2013 4:00 AM


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