Monroeville zombie attraction stumbles from mall
The zombies are leaving the mall.
Zombie fans for the past five years could count on the zombie attraction at Monroeville Mall — a filming spot for George A. Romero's 1978 film “Dawn of the Dead.”
Mall officials asked owner Kevin Kriess, who holds a temporary lease, to move to another storefront for a fourth time. Instead, he hopes to move the museum outside the mall to a spot that will rebuild ties with the Romero movie series.
Shoppers this week were disappointed.
“Not only was Monroeville Zombies an awesome place to get rare merchandise, but walking through the museum was such a treat,” said Kreg Farr, 29 of Rockland, N.Y. “You could pass anyone and instantly strike up a conversation. There aren't a lot of places that embrace horror movies, and there really wasn't a better place to do it.”
The store harbors zombie replicas, the lights originally hung in the mall during “Dawn of the Dead,” rare zombie merchandise and even a zombie version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame with “bloody” handprints from cast members including the lead, Ken Foree.
Kriess hopes to reveal the new location at the Zom-B-Rama III “That's Mall Folks” on April 27 from 2 to 9 p.m. The bash will feature movie screenings, a costume contest, music and zombie games.
Once the mecca of zombie fans, the mall has changed over the years with the removal of some film locations including the indoor ice rink, clock tower and original JC Penney department store. The store moved to another spot in the mall.
Kriess tried to set up tours for visitors who can be found wandering the walkways for something recognizable.
“It is ridiculously sad that most of the iconic parts of ‘Dawn of Dead' are gone from the mall,” said Martine Allegro, 27 of Herminie. “Times have changed. Malls used to be a more important economic and social places than they are today.”
Kriess opened the store because of an interest in zombies that started when he was a boy.
He was 5 years old when “Night of the Living Dead” was filmed in the Pittsburgh area. As a teenager, he learned that part of the film took place in the Evans City Cemetery, where his grandparents were buried. That movie, filmed in 1968, gave rise to sequels that further fueled the popularity of zombies in popular culture.
“There is always just something somewhere if you trace back your history that made you do something,” said Kriess, who grew up in Butler County. “What made you go somewhere or watch something for the first time and that's just how it chronologically laid out (for me).“
He opened the museum and store in 2007.
“I'm working on a timeline that explains how ‘Night of the Living Dead' started everything and how different things happened in pop-culture,” Kriess said. “Zombies changed. Somehow it changed culture and weird things like that happen in culture with just how certain things catch on. It's an interesting step to try and dissect that.
“It's not about just wherever the rents cheap or wherever there's traffic. I might put it somewhere where there is no traffic and be the focus. Create the traffic. I think Pittsburgh needs it, deserves it.”
Brittany Goncar is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Monroeville Mall reinvents itself to attract more visitors
- Gateway School District granted money for school resource officer
- Monroeville Public Library names new director
- Pitcairn to double security cams