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Zombies: Crawl Baby, Crawl

In Art, Clothing, Clubs, decor, holidays, Hollywood, Literature, Night Out, NYC, reviews, television on October 22, 2009 at 4:27 am

criss_mckenzie

On September 30th, 2009, I died … and then walked the streets of Manhattan. So did approximately six hundred other people. It was my very first “zombie crawl,” but certainly not my last. What is a zombie crawl? The term hasn’t quite reached Webster’s yet, so I will do my best to define it for you here. ZOMBIE CRAWL: (n or v) a gathering of civilians who are at the very least just a tiny bit insane, who dress up like the undead in varying degrees of intensity, and who walk like a zombie through the streets of unsuspecting cities to celebrate their love of horror, corn syrup, and creatures who eat human flesh.

This particular zombie crawl was a promotion for the new horror comedy Zombieland that came out in theaters October 2nd. Although the event wasn’t rigidly coordinated, there was a  general plan to meet at The Mean Fiddler bar on 47th street, then “crawl” (or plod, drag, and/or cavort in true zombie style) through Times Square to the AMC theater. The costumes were amazing. Some were relatively low key (fake blood and old band tee shirts) while others were off the charts fantastic (bridal gowns and pretend festering ‘sore’ wounds). Everyone was having a great time and people were very friendly! Some really got into their roles: growling, leaping at bystanders with cameras, screaming, spitting fake blood out onto the sidewalk, etc. The lot of us shuffled through the streets with no cares for details of the living; citizens and cars meant nothing to us! We were dead! The angry honking of cab drivers was drowned out by hundreds of horror-movie nerds grunting like the undead and laughing our asses off. By 10:00pm the AMC Theater in Times Square was filled to the brim with costumed zombie fans waiting for their sneak preview tickets to Zombieland.

zombies in new york

Fans of the television cartoon series Family Guy and any old school 1980’s John Cusack teen movie will love Zombieland. Aside from an exorbitant amount of fake blood, latex flesh, and awkward-boy-meets-smokin’-hot-but-laid-back-chick sexual tension, there are hilarious cut away scenes and a charming voice over by the lead character. It is not to be taken seriously for a second. Zombie fanatics who enjoyed Peter Jackson’s movie Braindead! (also known as Dead Alive!, 1992) should enjoy Zombieland for its absurdity and unassuming vibe. While it doesn’t have the indie flick feel of a low budget horror, it carries the same gory ridiculousness that only the slightly twisted can appreciate.

zombieland scene

Zombie crawls and films like Zombieland present an obvious question: why zombies? It’s hard to say. Their popularity could be attributed to a few factors, really: For one, they’re still human, and therefore the closest thing to a “realistic” monster we’ve got. Government testing and strange diseases in questionable water supplies could actually be just a few unruly laboratory experiments away from creating the insane, flesh-eating societies.

They are controlled by their id, which makes them more animal than human, but more human than monster. We as a society are taught that living solely by the id is wrong. Zombies don’t have that restraint; they don’t need it. All they need is a juicy brain to snack on. They travel in packs and look for food – you can’t get more “id” than that. The mob mentality of zombies isn’t so different from the mob mentality of humans. In fact, the minor differences between mobs of either party is just how much firepower you need to stop them.

creepy zombies

Zombies represent a side of humanity we don’t want to think about, but are morbidly fascinated by. Zombies want one thing, and they want it bad. They need to sustain themselves on others (oh wait, we do that) and they’ll do anything they want to do so (oh wait, we do that, too). They’ll punch, tear, and bite their way to the top. Oh, wait … in a way, everyone is a zombie. No wonder we like them so much.

Taking part in the NYC zombie crawl was one of the most interesting experiences I’ve had thus far. I met a lot of great people, got to scare a number of innocent bystanders, and, my favorite part: got to get into costume. There was something exhilarating about walking through the streets of NYC on a Wednesday night with a fake bullet hole in my temple, a ripped undershirt, and tattered jeans. The stares from “the living” made my undead heart skip a beat. Complete strangers complimented me, but were also deeply disturbed by the throng of us. It was a beautiful thing. It was a new world, a bold maneuver, and just plain fun.

zombie attack

There are a number of other zombie crawls happening in the month of October. For those interested, check out Doug Sakmann’s site here. Doug is the ring leader of a number of zombie shenanigans in the NY/NJ/PA area. I’m already planning my next outing. Zombie fans, get moving … grab some cheap fake blood, smear some black eye shadow under your eyes, and tear a hole in your pants. Life is short, so go sink your teeth into somebody.

-Criss McKenzie, member of the undead society

Photo Source 1, 2, 3, 4

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  1. Sounds amazing. Your make up is super cool. I can’t wait til next year to go.

  2. AHH! virgin zombie!! =]
    welcome to my world. ahhemm. the zombie community !!!!
    this was awesome to read misses . excellent really.
    your such a smart cookie. yummmm i could eat u hah
    at least twice a year you will come with me, i promise lol
    the next one ill be 21 wooo shitshow!!!!!
    =]

  3. I personally like to think that the Second Coming involves a whole lot less heavenly people and a lot more rotting bodies.

    And you should set up a Zombie-fy Me! booth on Halloween. Twenty bucks a head. You’d be rich! Ahaha… can’t believe you all stormed the streets and pissed off cab drivers.

  4. This sounds like a fun event of which I wish I had been a part. I also hadn’t given much thought to why people like zombies until now. Go flesh eating id creatures!

  5. Wonderfully written! I really enjoyed reading it. While I enjoyed the entire article, paragraph 6 is my favorite! It reminds me of most jobs. Hah =)

  6. Wow I’ve always been interested in the idea of zombie walks but you have totally convinced me to finally look for one to join. Thanks for the link! Great article.

  7. That sounds like a lot of fun. I wish there was something like that in my area. I would totally go to it. This was a great and entertaining read!

    And remember: Zombies don’t literally want brains… They just want a decent education.

  8. Great article…after reading this, you want to dress up as a zombie and hit Times Square. I have yet to see Zombieland and this article just makes me want to see it more. I hope to see future article from Criss. Fun/interesting article.

  9. OMG LOL that looks like so much fun! Sorry I missed it 😦 U looked great! HOT AND SPOOKY … GREAT MIX! 🙂 After reading what you wrote I know NEED TO GO SEE THIS MOVIE! I had no idea how serious people take this thing, GREAT article! Can’t wait to go to the next one. IM IN THERE!

  10. I can’t speak for the Zombie Crawl event, but you’ve certainly piqued my interest in it. Not knowing a thing about Zombie Crwal, I enjoyed not only your description of it, but your insight into the phenomenon.
    Your description of the movie I can say is truly spot on!
    Well done article, thoroughly enjoyed.

  11. Great article! I was scared and intrigued at the same time. Not sure if I’m ready to become a zombie but would definitely be interested seeing something like this taking place. Although from the looks of the pics, I think I have…Dawn of the Dead!

  12. First, awesome article! I was picturing everyone surrounding and/or stopping the cab-drivers; that woulda been a site to see! I woulda laughed so hard, I think I woulda peed on the spot … just a little … only a little

  13. First, awesome article!! When I read the part of the “zombies” stopping and delaying the cab drivers, I couldn’t help but picture it. I think I woulda laughed so hard I woulda have probably peed a little … just a little. If it was me, I woulda definitely jumped on top of the cab. Awesome, so awesome!

  14. This sounds awesome, I’m definitely going to be looking one of these up next year!

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