Giving the walking dead new legs
With costume stores bursting with the shambling undead’s clothing and the box-office success of movies like “Resident Evil: Afterlife,” the zombie trend is now nearly as long-standing as the creatures’ decaying flesh.
Retailer Sears even created a viral website this week where traditional fashion models are replaced with zombies and gore – and when Sears picks up a trend, it’s safe to say it’s entered the mainstream completely.
Yet, ground is still being broken when it comes to the creature that cemeteries can’t contain. Zombies will soon get their first major TV series, and USF students are among those running a publishing company entirely devoted to the undead.
The Oracle points out a few unique places to find zombies this fall.
Though the struggle between humans and the undead has been documented
in video games since 1984’s “Zombie Zombie,” “Humans vs. Zombies” – a live-action game resembling tag – attempts to bring the battle to real life.
Zombies try to “infect” humans by tagging them, while humans fend them off with socks and, in residential areas, Nerf guns. The game itself is not an uncommon sight on campuses, with more than 200 colleges participating since its initial creation in 2005.
However, what helps USF’s second game stand out is the sheer number of 1,384 participants – 900 more than the first attempt. The zombies differ from the usual bloodied-face variety, wearing bandanas on their heads, while humans wear bandanas on their arms.
The game stopped registering students Monday, but students can watch the ongoing battle between zombie hordes and human resistance until Friday.
The pages of a book may no longer be the traditional setting for zombies – despite their popularization through print in the 1920s – yet Zombie Nation Publishing has combined the undead and familiar locales with their story collections “Zombie St. Pete” and “Zombie Nation: St. Pete.”
The publishing editors Aaron Alper and Jason Cook are both USF St. Petersburg students and devised the idea for the company in a cultural studies course called “Zombies ‘R’ Us: Culture and Politics of the Undead.”
The cover of the anthology “Zombie Nation: St. Pete” depicts zombies with decaying flesh storming the Don CeSar beach resort, and the stories use St. Petersburg landmarks, like the Howard Franklin Bridge, as the playground for these cannibalistic creatures.
On Saturday, the publishing company threw a release party for the short story collection at the historic Pier – the backdrop for one couple’s terrified tale in the group’s first collection.
This weekend will mark zombie history, as “The Walking Dead” becomes the first show about flesh-eating figures to run on U.S. primetime TV airwaves.
Adapted from a comic, the show’s story follows deputy Rick Grimes and a group of survivors trying to weather an outbreak of lumbering zombies.
The potentially gruesome, gory scenario has immediately gained a touch of class by being hosted on AMC – home of “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” – and being handled by “The Shawshank Redemption” director Frank Darabont.
For anyone spending Halloween night at home, the premiere airs Sunday at 10 p.m. For those wishing to go out beforehand, the show’s website offers a how-to guide on creating zombie makeup with materials like uncooked oatmeal and liquid latex.
While George A. Romero’s original zombie trilogy, which includes “Night of the Living Dead,” and new fast-paced zombie movies like “28 Days Later” have become Halloween standards, they can get tiring when watched every year. Therefore, students may want to choose some obscure films when watching the undead this year.
The election season and zombies can be commemorated simultaneously with “Gremlins” director Joe Dante’s satire “Homecoming.” The short film, a part of the “Masters of Horror” series, follows a president’s re-election campaign that is disrupted when deceased soldiers rise from the grave and want votes over brains.
“A Christmas Story” director Bob Clark offered a film for a different season with “Deathdream,” a film that’s subversive both politically and to the traditional zombie in its tale of a Vietnam casualty that rises from the dead as an emotional, violent figure.
For viewers truly seeking the unprecedented in the undead, the 1979 Italian film “Zombie” offers a ludicrously trashy scene that won’t be found anywhere else – a zombie battling a shark underwater as a topless scuba diving woman watches in horror.