Steel City Secret Cinema fundraiser to benefit Dormont theater, Toonseum

Matthew Santoni
| Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

Zombies and big hair will abound at the 1980s horror movie-themed Steel City Secret Cinema this month at the Hollywood Theater in Dormont.

Combining art, music and a movie that won't be revealed until the opening credits roll, Giant Eagle employee Colin Matthews modeled the fundraiser, which will benefit the Hollywood and the Toonseum in Downtown Pittsburgh, on events at the Alamo Drafthouse chain of theaters in the western states. He brings in local and nationally-known artists to create small batches of customized, screen-printed movie posters for the film being featured, along with other art tied to the movies.

“The film is a secret, but we commission an artist to do a poster for the event, get a license from the studio to produce the poster, and set up an art gallery to go along with the theme,” said Matthews, 27, of Mt. Washington.

October's inaugural Secret Cinema, for example, featured “Slap Shot,” the 1977 Paul Newman film about the fictional Charlestown Chiefs hockey team. The posters, by West End-based Brian Holderman, depicted the Hanson Brothers — the trio of long-haired, bespectacled brawlers brought in to invigorate the Chiefs.

The lobby of the theater will have food, music and beer from Latrobe-based Flat Rock Brewing Co. New pieces from a dozen local artists, also with a 1980s horror film-feel, will be on display and for sale in the theater, lobby and downstairs gallery space; after the event, they will be on display at Most Wanted Fine Art in Garfield.

“It's a great event for us. (Matthews) really does a good job,” said Scott Jackson, president of the Friends of the Hollywood Theater. “It brings in a lot of people who haven't been to the Hollywood before.”

Lawrenceville-based House of the Dead — purveyors of all things zombie-related — will set up a booth to sell horror-film memorabilia.

“It really can't get any more in our wheelhouse than that,” said co-owner Stu Neft.

When the lights go down, the secret film will begin, and at the end of the movie those who purchased the “poster pass,” “date night” package or “VIP date night” package will get a copy of the screen-printed poster.

Proceeds from the ticket sales, a 50/50 raffle, a portion of the art sales and the sale of any leftover posters will be split between the Hollywood Theater and the Toonseum, located on Liberty Avenue.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or

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