Zombie movies have been around about as long as there have been movies. Gatherings of undead impersonators lurching through cities around Halloween have been around for only about 15 years. After starting in the US, people of all ages with ripped clothes and grotesque make up are now getting organised around the world. The Guinness Book of Records recognises the 11 October 2014 walk of 15,458 participants at Minneapolis as the largest gathering of such fun seekers so far.
2015 Aussie Zombie Walks were held in Adelaide and Perth on 10 October while Canberra and Sydney will party on Halloween, 31 October. Brisbane’s Zombie Walk is planned for the day after and Melbourne will follow up with a Zombie Shuffle on 8 November. Apart from the fake blood and after-walk parties, the events share charity aims. Beneficiaries include the Brain Foundation and Red Cross.
Some are not content to simply lurch around in costume, but want to test themselves against Zombies . Run for your Life or Zombie Escape events allow participants to decide whether to be Zombies or alternatively humans who have flags attached to their clothing prior to setting off for a run over Zombie infested territory. Zombies are only allowed to walk to humans but if all flags are taken off a human, they are considered eaten. After events this year in August at Mackay and Sydney in September, another is planned at Yeppoon’s main beach for 13 December 2015.
Others are not content to wait passively for the apocalypse, but have formed Zombie Hunting Clubs to be ready just in case. The Center for Disease Control even has a web page with a graphic novella for Zombie preparedness, figuring steps taken for this kind of disaster will be useful in other kinds.
As to what next, it is now even possible to holiday with Zombies. A cruise by the ‘Norwegian Pearl’ between Miami and the Bahamas on 15-18 January 2016 is planned to provide 3 days of horror-filled fun. Aboard will be actors from ‘The Walking Dead’ TV series. Holidaymakers will mingle with them and participate in zombie gaming and costume nights.
In any case, zombies are big business. Jon Ogg of 24/7 Wall St estimated in 2011 that their year round contribution to the economy was over US$5 billion. This included movie tickets, DVD sales, video games, novels, Halloween costumes, zombie walks, merchandise conventions and zombie arts. It might be more if you counted digital forms of zombies on You Tube, Facebook sites, home movies as well as music. Expect to see more of them.