Downtown's Orpheum Project Projects

by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
Orpheum during 1937 flood
Orpheum during 1937 flood

On the night before Halloween, Huntington's  Orpheum Project  presents “Dawn of the Dead”, George Romero’s in-color follow up to his 1968 classic “Night of the Living Dead”, from 16mm film on the cinderblock wall of Cabell County Public Library’s underground parking garage.

The project named after the Keith Albee's neighbor to the east, The Orpheum lacked the opulent grandeur of a "movie palace," but retained its wide single screen until converted to a quad. Don't know about the Orpheum? It was re-named The Cinema, and, of course, achieved local fame by their midnight showings of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," during the 70s as one of frequent "midnight movie" offerings, where fare ranged from "Woodstock" to "Billy Jack."

Early Huntington showings of RHPS did not have an organized interactive cast, but the Bic's flickered and the Time Warp jammed mostly in front of the screen, rather than in the aisles.

Romaro's "Dawn of the Dead" would have been a midnight movie candidate as its initial "X" for violence rating. The bloody zombie bite-a-thon where the "dead" trample a Pennsylvania shopping mall brought graphic displays (later re-rated to R) and intense urban survival among fully stocked shops that gave survivors a choice of hot outfits. Ironically, the mall desolation scenes foreshadowed 21st Century urban decay caught up with the over-malling of America.

Those attending this 16mm showing should dress both for the season and weather. The "wall" screen provides a dim, moody, and macabre venue.

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