- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 7, 2017

MONROEVILLE, Pa. (AP) - In 1978, Monroeville Mall hosted the filming of the cult zombie classic, “Dawn of the Dead,” and made the mall a mecca for horror fans.

The undead and their fans will flock back to Monroeville Mall this weekend, hosting a cast reunion and other movie-related activities Friday, Saturday and Sunday as part of Living Dead Weekend.

The event is one of two in the mall complex, as Steel City Con simultaneously takes over the nearby Monroeville Convention Center those same days for a special horror fan edition.

Kevin Kriess is the owner of the Living Dead Museum in Evans City and organizer of Living Dead Weekend. The museum was in Monroeville Mall from 2007 through 2013.

Kriess hosted zombie walks and other events at the mall, but nothing on this scale.

“Everybody’s very excited,” Kriess said. “I’ve been talking a lot to all the different actors and cast members to coordinate the basic stuff so they know where to go. A lot of them have done many conventions like this. Having as many of them at once where the movie was made is sort of the new twist here.”

The two-story retail hub was home to the 1978 George A. Romero classic, and has been referred to as the zombie mecca, with fans of the film traveling from all over the world to see the facility.

Kriess said “Dawn of the Dead” really cemented zombies in popular culture.

“That movie took it from a cult following to a worldwide phenomenon,” Kriess said. “‘Dawn of the Dead’ sort of laid down the ground rules that are still being followed today, like in ‘The Walking Dead.’

“It just caught on and everything exploded after because of that and because of that movie’s uniqueness, being set in a real place that still exists. You can actually go walk around the mall where the movie was set and filmed.”

The mall will be open for regular business during the weekend, and free events will occur in the mall proper. A stage will be set up near Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Weekend highlights include guided tours of the filming locations of “Dawn of the Dead” throughout the mall, professional photo ops, question-and-answer sessions, costume contest and autograph sessions.

Cast members expected to be at the mall include lead performers Ken Foree, Scott Reiniger and Gaylen Ross. Pittsburgh legends Tom Savini - who did the film’s special effects and makeup - and Tony Buba will be on hand, as will more than a dozen other actors who played characters such as “blonde zombie,” ”nurse zombie” and the legendary “helicopter zombie.”

Other special guests include the “Doctor of the Dead,” Arnold T. Blumberg, and “The Walking Dead” Flyboy tribute zombie Michael Koske.

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Steel City Con

Celebrities expected to attend:

. Linda Blair: Regan from “The Exorcist.”

. Cassandra Peterson: Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.

. Scott Wilson: Hershel Greene from “The Walking Dead.”

. Bill Johnson: Leatherface in “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2.”

. Steve Dash: Jason Voorhees in “Friday the 13th, Park 2.”

. Tony Moran: Michael Myers from the 1978 “Halloween.”

. Butch Patrick: Eddie Munster from “The Munsters.”

. Pat Priest: Marilyn Munster from “The Munsters.”

. Theshay West: Michonne’s pet from “The Walking Dead.”

. Moses Moseley: Michonne’s pet from “The Walking Dead.”

. Professional wrestling legend Road Warrior Animal.

. Tom Savini: horror film actor, stuntman and director.

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Online:

https://bit.ly/2qYoLDg

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Information from: Tribune-Review, https://triblive.com

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