Megan Trotter | Staff Writer
Oct. 20, 2022
Beginning a night of classic, spooky horror, Harris Grill on Fourth Avenue conceals a hidden movie theatre on the roof: now featuring Halloween-themed thrillers.
On Friday, The Pittsburgh Hidden Rooftop Cinema featured the 1991 comedy film “The Addams Family.” The Halloween showings are part of a four-week pop-up, which started on Oct. 7.
Viewers lined up for the showing around 6:30 p.m., holding an assortment of blankets, food and beverages to combat the cold. The doors opened promptly at 7 p.m., and everyone made their way up to the roof.
The building was dim with the only light source coming from candles lining the two sets of stairs. The “Ghostbusters” theme song played loudly throughout the space, generating excitement from the prospective audience.
Cinema owner Kara Godfrey, 34, said that she started showings to create a space to offer people escapism since the pandemic.
“It’s never new movies. It’s meant to be like a nostalgic experience where you can come with family. We showed a lot of things like ‘Legally Blonde’ and ‘Happy Gilmore’ and then movies like ‘Speed.’ I think we showed ‘Top Gun’… just more ones [where] I’d feel like ‘oh my god I want to see that. I haven’t seen that in ages,’” Godfrey said.
On the roof there is a mix of standard blue lawn chairs and stripped hammock seats to accommodate two people. The total seating allows for 38 viewers. Keeping to the Halloween theme, decorations of pumpkins, ghosts, fake cobwebs and large neon letters spelled out “More than the Movies” along the side of the building.
In the hammock chairs, couples cuddled together and family members all gathered together chatting.
A loud evil laugh echoed throughout the makeshift cinema, signaling the beginning of the movie. Giggles could be heard throughout the entire film and, despite the cold weather, no one left early.
Godfrey grew up in London and started the pop-up business after moving to the U.S. She began her venture in Las Vegas with a pop-up mini golf event. Since then she has been traveling around opening similar events for the public. In each location, Godfrey builds a team of employees depending on the magnitude of the pop-up.
Working with only one other employee, Godfrey said that in putting together the cinema, she faced many challenges and setbacks.
“I spent four months looking for a rooftop, right? I tried to do a parking lot because that’s what we did in Vegas, and then we transformed the parking lot, but the city wouldn’t. It’s all city owned parking lots and they make too much money from the sports game. So, it was just by chance that I found this because it was looking at putting a permanent concept on the three-level building,” Godfrey said.
Despite these issues she said, “I love it. And I like how happy it makes people.”
Ticket prices vary depending on the seating viewers choose, as well as any additional fees to bring in alcohol and snacks. Godfrey said that if there is the slightest chance of rain, they will immediately reschedule the movie.
Gavin Fredricks, a student at Canisius College, visited Duquesne for the weekend While here, he decided to check out the roof-top cinema.
“The movie was a lot of fun and a nice way to start the weekend. It was a relaxing experience and fun to be in the atmosphere and [I] would definitely do it again with my friends,” Fredricks said.
Future showings include:
“Scream” (1996) Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.
“The Exorcist” Oct. 21 at 9:15 p.m.
“The Nightmare Before Christmas” Oct. 28 at 7 p.m.
“I Know What You Did Last Summer” Oct. 28 at 8:45 p.m.
“Hocus Pocus” (1993) Oct. 29 at 7 p.m.
“Psycho” Oct. 29 at 9:15 p.m.
“Chucky: Child’s Play” (2019) Oct. 29 at 11:15 p.m.
“Rocky Horror Picture Show” Oct. 30 at 7 p.m.
To buy tickets visit https://www.hidden-cinema.com/home-pittsburgh.