There’s a reason one of those skeletons in Dawn of the Dead looked so real. Because it was! Yikes! After more than three decades, the remains of Dawn Doe are finally memorialized properly thanks to Marilyn Wick and the team behind the upcoming film Road Trip of the Dead.
Read on to get the full crazy story of misunderstanding and generosity, and be sure to ‘like’ Road Trip of the Dead on Facebook and follow Road Trip of the Dead on Twitter (@EvansCityProd).
From the Press Release
Pittsburgh Independent horror documentary film, Road Trip of the Dead, an Evans City Production, has helped raise funds to place a marker on the grave of the unknown skeletal remains used in the 1978 film, George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. In doing research for the documentary/reality horror film, the group of independent filmmakers stumbled upon a story of a real skeleton used in the 1978 horror film.
Tom Savini borrowed a skeleton, thinking it to be a prop from the late Larry Wintersteller for the production. After the film was completed, Mr. Wintersteller sold the skeleton to Marilyn Wick of the famous Costume World costume shops and Wick Theatre. Mrs. Wick placed the skeleton in her window at the old location until authorities noticed how real it looked. The skeleton was confiscated in 1982 and an autopsy was performed by the famous Coroner Joshua Perper, who later performed the autopsy of Anna Nicole Smith. After the autopsy the skeleton was determined to be the remains of a 35-year old woman which were approximately 100-years old.
All those in connection to the skeleton were questioned and Mr. Wintersteller stated that he knew the skeleton was real and had purchased the skeleton from an Old Fellows Lodge that used it in ignition ceremonies and events. Both Mr. Savini and Mrs. Wick stated they had no knowledge of the skeleton being a real person. The corner added that the effects that Mr. Savini had added to the skeleton were very impressive and seemed like aged flesh. That is actually what had drawn attention to the skeleton in the first place. In late 1982, an Allegheny County Pennsylvania Court Judge ordered that the skeletal remains were to be buried. David Fryer Funeral Home of Pittsburgh donated services including a funeral, limo and grave plot at Mount Lebanon Cemetery also in Pittsburgh.
The plot remained unmarked for the last 31 years until documentary filmmakers Harmoni and William Sanders, Russel Douglas, Lawrence DeVincentz and Matt Blazi decided to make a documentary/reality hybrid film called Road Trip of the Dead headed by Harmoni and William Sanders. Mrs. Sanders and the group decided that it was the right thing to do to finally give this woman a proper marker. Since the remains are unknown, the group and the cemetery decided to mark the grave “Dawn Doe, Unknown Finally laid to rest March 19th, 1983.”
The down payment was made by Mrs. Sanders and group, but $1100 needed to be raised to finish purchasing the marker, preparations and fees over the next year. This was where the story looped back around to the beginning with Mrs. Wick contributing the necessary funds and give Dawn Doe a proper headstone.
Road Trip of the Dead Synopsis
The synopsis of the film couldn’t be truer. A group of friends set out to make a documentary about Pittsburgh Horror Film Locations. The group soon finds out that the horror they love is becoming a reality. The film is currently filming and stars Tom Savini, Gary Streiner and Jim Krut and more Romero stars are being added as they film all across Western Pennsylvania at all the Romero based sites.
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