Gary Streiner hopes to restore the Evans City Cemetery Chapel by raising the dead. Well, actually, he’s raising funds with the help of Night of the Living Dead fans.
The structure, which appears in the opening scene of George Romero’s iconic horror movie that was filmed in and around the town and cemetery, has fallen into a state of disrepair and was slated for demolition last fall. Streiner appealed to the Evans City Cemetery Association for a chance to save this piece of cinematic history and was given a one year deadline to raise approximately $50,000 to cover the cost of restoration.
In 1967, Streiner was working at The Latent Image together with George Romero and his brother, Russell Streiner, in Pittsburgh when production began on the landmark film in which he was one of the original ten investors and owners. In 2008 and 2009, Streiner organized Living Dead festivals in Evans City which attracted the largest reunion of cast and crew to date, as well as fans from as far away as France.
Streiner has leveraged the popularity of the film and the festivals and harnessed the power of the internet to bring together Living Dead fans to help with this monumental task. Grassroots fundraising activities include donations and merchandise sales through a dedicated web site and online auctions, as well as raising awareness at horror conventions and via social networks such as Facebook and YouTube. Approximately $12,000 has been raised to date.
There will be a special screening of Night of the Living Dead on February 4, which will coincide with a Facebook-based effort to have 1 million people watching the film at the same time to celebrate George Romero’s birthday. The screening event will take place at the Hollywood Theater in Dormont, PA, a community located just outside downtown Pittsburgh.
Doors will open at 2:30 PM, with the film screening at 4 PM. Admission is $6 and all proceeds benefit Fix The Chapel. In addition to the film, there will be a silent auction, appearances by Mr. Streiner and original cast member Ella Mae Smith and others to be announced, plus merchandise for sale such as t-shirts and for the first time actual pieces of the chapel (great for collectors!).
For more information, please visit Fix The Chapel