Nightmares…

Zombies are lazy… A rant

This post is a long time coming, and I may not make any new friends, but bear with me.

After attending 5 Zombie themed attractions this season alone, the stereotypical zombie scare actor is getting old fast. The general impression is that of a Dawn of the Dead type zombie  A fast moving, still mostly human, but slightly bloodied character wearing slightly tattered street clothing and reaching, grabbing, lunging, and chasing patrons while growling or screaming/yelling.

While there are certainly plenty of startle scare possibilities with a zombie reaching out from the unknown and a certain spooky charm to several zombies “allover”, the scares are rather short lived as soon as the awkwardness of the zombie not being able to do anything after the initial scare sets in. While a zombie scene in a hayride can be fun, a full attraction based around zombies who startle scare, linger, and stalk till the next area becomes very boring very fast.

But zombies are soo popular…

Yes, zombie culture is huge, plenty of movies, tv shows, books, games, events, and general merchandise prove that fact without a doubt. However the popular aspects of zombie culture are not at all what the haunt industry tends to deliver. Rather than impressively gory, varied characters who really swarm and dig into whatever warm flesh they have at their disposal, most haunts are instead delivering mindless plain looking zeds who have a lot in common with the endless waves of nazis, terrorists, or other generic bad guys a cheap video game would throw at the audience again and again with limited interactivity due to the hands off 2 dimensional approach to such characters.

I am not saying haunts should drop their zombie attractions, but rather add some interactivity to them, either in the form of a gimmick or working in more interactive variety to make these shows work. Such gimmicks could include zombie paintball where the customers are able to fire upon padded zombies for a nominal fee, touch football belt challenges where zombies are instructed to attempt to take patrons flags as they pass by, or even the more extreme option of allowing optional touch to full contact in the attraction so that zombies can do more than just leer at patrons prior to nudging them along to the next room.

While those gimmicks would surely help any zombie haunt, a less easy but promising solution lies in looking more closely at why zombies are such a pop culture phenomena. The drawl to zombie movies is much more about the survivors than the zeds, as every living human is a lucky or special type of person who has managed to survive in a post apocalyptic world. It takes all kinds to make the world go round, but once the z virus hits the majority of people, be they children or adults, UPS delivery men or politicians, sports mascots or birthday clowns, will not survive and will join the brain eating team. Reflecting this variety of zombies will add fast visual and character interest as it’s no longer a faceless monster, but perhaps a delivery man with a box of bones, or a gas station attendant with a fake gas nozzle spraying water on patrons as it stalks them.

The Zombie apocalypse also entails many more threats than just zombies. There are sure to be other survivors who don’t want you drawing zeds to them and their supplies, who want to take your supplies, or worse. Animal populations may be affected, displaced or infected. There are also likely CDC and military folks about who will want to quarantine and “test/treat” those potentially exposed.

The moral of the story, zombie culture is awesome, and just the tip of the iceberg of distopian fiction which is ripe inspiration for haunts. So please stop being lazy with startle/linger/stalk zombies and start turning these attractions into the badass engrossing experiences they could and should be.

 

A very evil easter

Once the eggs are gathered and the questionably edible candy grass is questionably consumed, it’s time for some zombies and evil Easter bunnies eh?

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Brighton Asylum is hosting Rottentail Slaughterhouse. Apparently the asylum has either been invaded with giant evil bunnies, or the inmates found a large box of old worn mall bunny suits… Either way carnage is certain and bunny is the word of the day. This is a hands on haunt with waivers required and actor touch optional if you choose to accept a glow necklace. Take our word for it and be sure to take the necklace for the full experience! Details at http://brightonasylum.com/

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The Philly Zombie Crawl is an annual event on South Street in Philadelphia on Easter Sunday featuring hundreds of participants in zombie costume and makeup (pro makeup available on site for a nominal fee) walking the streets of Philly and roving from bar to bar for zombie themed drink specials, zombie movies, DJ’s, and the all new Zombie Emporium full of goods from local artists and vendors. Admission is just $5 at the TLA for a night of fun, more details at http://phillyzombie.com/ 

 

Recap: The Zombie Fun Run

This past weekend proved that Field of Screams in Mountville PA really knows how to put the fun in a fundraiser. The first (and hopefully annual) Zombie Fun Run was a well attended 5K adventure run featuring obstacles, mud, water, zombies, and more, all set right in the middle of the Field of Screams haunted attraction.

The fun was not strictly reserved for runners though, those not up for the human atheletic challenge were also able to participate as zombies with professional zombie transformations provided by Field of Screams, or just attend as spectators. It was admittedly a bit cold due to the seasonal November weather, however my best estimate is that several hundred runners took the challenge, and a few even survived. All runners regardless of infection or survival status recieved a medal at the end, as well as a event t-shirt with free custom on site screen printing avaliable, a really clever way to give participants a survivor or infected shirt without having a surplus or deficit of one or another.

Best of all, the event benefitted the PA Breast Cancer Coalition with a portion of each runner registration being donated to the charity. In total $3,500 was raised by the undead, nearly dead, and not quite, but soon to be undead participants.PA Breast Cancer Coalition at Field of Screams Zombie Fun Run

Z.O.R.T.13 was on hand to ensure the zombies didn’t wander off or harass the spectators… too much.

ZORT 13 at Field of Screams Zombie Fun Run

As a special treat for spectators and participants before and after the run, the Field of Screams midway was in full operation, with the band Dive Bomb playing on stage, twisted carnival games, a photobooth, actors working the crowd, as well as a very well attended centrally located fire pit.

Dive Bomb at Field of Screams Zombie Fun Run

All in all this was a very fun and well run event, I wish I could have ran the course but my ankle is still on the mend from another 5K zombie mud run, with any luck I will have my turn in 2014. All accounts from runners I spoke with were overwhelmingly positive, as they were impressed by the course obstacles, how tenacious the zombies were, as well as the trademark over the top twist that Field of Screams put on the race.

For future events, visit https://www.fieldofscreams.com/zombie-fun-run

Field of Screams Zombie Fun Run

Z.O.R.T.13 will be standing by at the Field of Screams Zombie Fun Run on 11/9/13, with any luck there might just be a few  survivors this year.

 

For details visit: www.TheZombieFunRun.com