Love for the living dead
by Aaron Chatha
While some are using October to look for costumes of superheroes, pop culture icons or vampire chest glitter, there is a dedicated set of enthusiasts building toward one thing: the perfect zombie costume. It’s not hard to identify a zombie; the rotting flesh, the mindless hunger and the slow, ambling walk coupled with a few moans are dead giveaways.
The zombie is a powerful creature. Although slow and relatively weak, it represents the monster within humanity — at our core, down to our basic survival instincts, is this all we really are? Well, with some fake blood, tattered clothes and a copious amount of make-up, it can be. And for the past six years, Calgary has held its annual zombie walk in October. This year it took place on Oct. 2, starting at Olympic Plaza and working its way downtown. Yearly, people come out in the hundreds, drawing crowds everywhere as they shamble and moan their way through the core, only pausing for photos and the occasional helping of brains.
“In our first year, some girls asked if we were real zombies or if we were dressing up,” Laura Mac, one of this year’s zombie walk organizers, recalled. “I instructed them never to talk to a zombie, just run away if they ever saw one.”
The zombie walk brings out crowds of all ages, sometimes even whole families full of zombie children. Groups sometimes come dressed in theme — such as zombified version of the “Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” cast, or, in an ironic twist, a group of zombie pro-lifers.
“It’s even more amazing every year,” Mac said. “They come with backstories, they took the time to do the small details. People get really creative.”
This year the zombie walk is also shambling for a cause. They are trying to raise funds for the Calgary Food Bank, with food or cash donations. Even though the walk has ended, people can still donate to the food bank and give credit to the walk.The walk itself has gone without major incident since it began. Even with such a large crowd, everyone generally sticks to the pre-designated route, without major injury or bad behaviour. “Ninety-nine per cent of participants don’t want to be disruptive. They just want to have an afternoon of fun” Mac said. These zombies even stop for traffic lights.
The zombie-related fun doesn’t end with the walk. Halloween is just around the corner, and the Zombie Survival Society has made camp as a Mount Royal University club, headed by Adriel Allen. With monthly meetings, the group plans to do zombie- themed events, such as movie premieres, board game nights and even zombie-themed laser tag. The group already has over 100 members signed up, and can be found on the SAMRU club listings website.
Allen didn’t know what to expect from people when starting up the club, in fact, she half-ex- pected people to laugh at her. But zombie must have a wide appeal because she was greeted by a lot of enthusiasm. People can find a lot to like about zombies. “I like the variations of zombies,” Allen said. There is the traditional, slow and dumb type, but the zombie genre has seen fast moving zombies or even smarter zombies appear in various media.
“It gets the adrenalin rushing,watching zombie movies,” Allen said. Not content with just the zombie walk, the Survival Society hopes that there will be more events to dress up at. “People enjoy dressing up, period, and escaping from every- day life” Allen said.
Allen also made it clear that the Zombie Survival Society would be the most prepared campus group should an actual zombie apocalypse occur. Allen herself wouldn’t survive the en- tire ordeal though, according to her own scenario. “I’d survive at least one month and a half. I’d be killed saving my baby.”