Free movie alert: Friday night zombie double feature to honor the late director George Romero

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On Friday night the Patio Theater (6008 W Irving Park Road) will show two horror movies in tribute to director George Romero, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 77.

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The first film will be what is considered by many to be the original zombie thriller, “Night of the Living Dead,” which was directed by Romero and released in 1968. The black-and-white film was met with controversy when it was first screened, due to the (at the time) graphic nature of flesh-eating zombies.

It will be followed by the 1972 comedic-horror film “Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things.” Also known as “Revenge of the Living Dead,” Romero was not involved with the film, but his influence is all over it.

Romero is considered the “Father of the Zombie Film” and went on to write and direct many more in addition to Night including “Dawn of the Dead” (1978), “Day of the Dead” (1985), “Land of the Dead” (2005) and more.

Romero died after a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer” while listening to the soundtrack of one of his favorite films (1952’s “The Quiet Man”) with his wife and daughter at his side.

The Patio Theater was built in 1927 and has a capacity of 1,200 (keep that in mind for Friday night). The theater is home to a Barton Pipe Organ and was closed for repairs between 2001 and 2011. There have been various closures over the past few years and while the theater is currently owned by Eddie Carranza, the future of the theater with so many issues is still unclear.

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This event is entirely free. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. with”Night of the Living Dead” airing at 7:30 p.m., followed by”Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things” at 9:30 p.m.

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