Legacy of the Dead: An Interview with Barbara Anderson

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Professor Barbara Anderson’s house has seen its share of history. Nestled on a beautiful, tree-lined street in Pittsburgh, passersby would never know that it played a role in some of the best-known films made in the city. Barbara Anderson and her husband Cletus Anderson taught at the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University for more than 40 years, and they formed a professional partnership with one of the city’s favorite filmmakers, George A. Romero.

Legacy of the Dead: Knightriders

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Mention the name of George Romero and “zombies” is the next word to pop into nearly anyone’s head.  It’s ironic then that the filmmaker frequently lamented that he was “stuck in this niche with horror” and that his two favorite films were Martin (a vampire story) and his pseudo-Arthurian drama Knightriders.  Released in 1981, Knightriders is the major outlier of Romero’s career.  It’s his longest film, it includes no horror elements, and it was one of his least successful efforts at the box-office.  At the same time, however, it features some o

Carnegie Mellon University Oral History Program

Anita Newell and Kate Barbera viewing archival materials

As Assistant Archivist for the university, I have the honor of conducting and recording oral histories with members of the CMU community. Carnegie Mellon is well-known for its creative and innovative talent, from the pioneering work of Herbert Simon and Allen Newell to the dramatic talent of student performers in Scotch ‘n’ Soda. We launched the Carnegie Mellon University Oral History Program early last year in hope of capturing first-hand the stories and experiences of students, faculty and alumni who lived historic moments—think StoryCorps with an academic edge. We record these conversations and preserve them in the University Archives for future generations, and all of the recordings are openly available for anyone to research and study.

Legacy of the Dead: Zombie Redux

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Whether satire, camp, or homage, the art of the remix has always been prevalent in American society.  When Marcel Duchamp defaced the Moana Lisa by drawing a mustache on her upper lip, he helped to inspire a host of others to create works of parody.  As new technologies have created greater opportunities for artistic and creative expression, Remix Culture and Creative Commons advocates such as Lawrence Lessig argue that appropriation and remixing are vital to advancing culture. 

Legacy of the Dead: CMU IFF Presents NOTLD!

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Happy Halloween!  Join the CMU International Film Fest as they screen Night of the Living Dead tonight in CMU’s McConomy Auditorium at 6pm!   Along with the screening of the film, viewers will enjoy a specially recorded introduction from George’s wife, Suzanne Desrocher-Romero, and a costume contest.

Legacy of the Dead: History of the Zombie

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In 1968 George Romero changed everything about zombie movies – except, of course, that he didn’t.  Though it’s often cited as the key film in the now ubiquitous zombie genre, Romero’s Night of the Living Dead never used the term “zombie.”  Instead, it referred to it’s reanimated undead characters as “ghouls.”  Initially, the filmmaker himself avoided any zombie references, and cited Richard Matheson’s novel “I Am Legend” as the main inspiration for his horror opus.

Legacy of the Dead: Bub and the Blue-Collar American

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By the mid 1980s in America, it was very clear that the manufacturing economy that had led the United States to unprecedented economic heights was crumbling like a corroded steel bridge. Thousands of blue-collar workers were losing their jobs; across the Midwest and Northeast, from Cleveland and Detroit to Pittsburgh and beyond. Politicians and business owners made vague promises of revival, but the industry was already transitioning into newer, leaner, automated forms of manufacturing that required higher-precision technology, but less manpower.

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