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Better Off Undead

October 31, 2011

It was a rainy Saturday night in the fall of 2007. I was flipping through channels, trying to find something decent to watch. I switched to an unfamiliar channel, and watched as a few people in a mostly deserted mall searched stores cautiously. I noticed in the right hand corner of the screen some text: FREE HBO and Showtime. All weekend. I didn’t know what the movie was, but continued to watch. Out of nowhere, this man – this crazy, bloody, very frightening man – attacked one of the main characters, attempting to bite him.

I was hooked. I proceeded to watch the rest of the movie. Then, when it started again an hour later, I watched the beginning (which I’d missed), and then the rest of the movie that I’d already watched.

During the free weekend of HBO and Showtime, I watched Dawn of the Dead four times. This was the very first zombie movie I’ve ever watched.

It was so strange. There were no funny romantic storylines, no particularly hot guys and Jennifer Aniston was nowhere to be found. Yet, I couldn’t stop watching as the zombies attacked. I was on the edge of my seat. Me, the lover of all romantic comedies, the girliest of all girls, loved a zombie movie.

I considered it a fluke – maybe it was just a really well written movie. (It wasn’t.) But then, I had this insatiable desire to see I Am Legend with Will Smith when it came out in theaters. While not exactly a zombie movie (the monsters are zombie/vampire-esque), I became obsessed with the concept. Some kind of bacteria/disease/outbreak/monkey virus causes the dead to rise, in search of brains, flesh and death. Innocent civilians are forced to deal with the mayhem and fight for their lives. And there is always the moment where a main character’s loved one has been bitten – and they just know it’ll only be a few minutes before they turn – they have their tearful goodbye – and then watch their loved one turn into a zombie and are forced to shoot them in the head. That’s the best.

My name is Catherine, and I love zombies.

I’ve spent the past couple of years developing my roster of favorite zombie movies – Zombieland is the absolute funniest, 28 Days Later one of the best shot (not to be confused with the sequel 28 Weeks Later, which was seriously disappointing), Shaun of the Dead one of the easiest to access on cable, the list goes on. The Walking Dead TV series pretty much solidified my love of the genre.

Now I don’t claim to be a zombie expert by any means, and I still have quite bit of work to do if I’m ever going to watch all the Top 25 Zombie Movies of All Time. But, I can say pretty confidently, I think I’d be pretty damn good in a zombie attack.

Okay, so don’t get me wrong. I don’t think I’d be any good at fighting the zombies. In case you didn’t know, I’m a pretty risk-averse person. Trips to the grocery story to get a Twinkie during a zombie attack? Not on my watch. Deciding to leave the safety of a mall in order to chase a pipe dream of taking a boat to an island where you may be safe from the zombies? Are you nuts? Hero missions to the hospital to secure supplies for some stranger you just met that needs a tourniquet? Not gonna happen. I wouldn’t be much good at fighting the zombies … but I think I’d be pretty good at staying put and hiding from them.

If zombies really did attack, I’d first be pissed that my ex and I broke up. He’d be a hell of a zombie attack survivor. An avid hunter, he had enough guns and knives to get us through at least a week of a zombie attack, I’d think. Sans ex-fiancé, I’d probably have to pull the “children and women first” card, and find some guy to go the store for me. Because I’ll be damned if I’m leaving my apartment. I’d take every precaution possible. Because, as we saw in 28 Days Later, after the zombies have finished eating everyone, they will starve to death. That’s when I’ll come out. Victorious. And probably at my goal weight. Win – win.

Chef knew about my love of zombies and suggested that together, we do the Richmond Zombie Walk. This is where each year, several hundred people dress up as zombies, and for an hour, they walk around Carytown in character. It’s basically a zombie flash mob. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of this earlier. Would I dress up as a zombie and walk around scaring people? YOU BET!

I’ve always had a particular interest in what people are doing the moment the zombies attack. I like the zombie attack scenario best when someone is being attacked and they don’t even know what is going on. Like, they’ve been watching too much Keeping Up with the Kardashians and too little Anderson Cooper that they have no idea people are rising from the dead. Those are my favorite victims – people in their pajamas, prom dresses, gym clothes. People living their normal lives when all hell breaks loose.

During a brainstorm with my friend Lindsay, we decided I was going to wear a house coat and curlers in my hair as my zombie costume. I just loved the idea that I was getting cute, maybe for a date or something, when I was attacked. I felt like I needed more of a theme, and after a brainstorm with my mom and my sister, I decided to be a crazy cat lady zombie (which probably isn’t far from the truth – remember this post?).

Chef went a little more controversial and became zombie Steve Jobs. Too early? Depends on who you ask. There’s no denying Chef actually looks like Steve Jobs, though.

Saturday, we spent hours getting zombiefied and then stumbled around Carytown in the cold and rain. Scaring onlookers and hearing people call out, “Hey, Steve Jobs!” and “Too soon, man. Too soon,” was just hilarious. A few people even figured out I was a cat lady, but mostly women remarked, “Aw, she was just doing her hair!” Every time I caught a glimpse of myself in a store window, I was shocked.

You see, I was a damned ugly zombie. Never in my life have I worn a Halloween costume that made me purposefully less attractive. I mean, as a female, I have been socialized to believe that after the age of 13, all women’s costumes are sexy/slutty _____. Sexy/slutty nurse. Sexy/slutty witch. Sexy/slutty beer wench. Sexy/slutty bumble bee (like me last year – read last year’s Halloween posts here and here). Sexy/slutty Oprah Winfrey. Okay, maybe that one is not doable. But this year, I was about as ugly as I’m ever going to be. It was a surreal experience. And ridiculously fun.

It was also awesome to connect with fellow zombie lovers. There were so many hilarious or scary and extremely well executed costumes (i.e., they actually knew what they were doing with their makeup, while Chef and I simply did our best). I’m already thinking about what kind of zombie I’ll be next year.

Without further ado, I share with you Steve Jobs (Chef) and Crazy Cat Lady Zombie Walk pictures.

Hair in curlers

My pride requires that I show you a before picture

zombie costume

How do I look?

Cat lady zombie

I sewed three cats to my bathrobe. This one was undead.

Steve Jobs zombie

Chef (Zombie Steve Jobs) and me (Zombie Cat Lady)

zombies attack

We are some scary zombies. I gotta tell you, my curls were pretty nice after this. A little bloody, but nice!

zombie costume

We're practicing at the meet up location for the big walk

zombie attacking car

Here's me attacking my mom in her car. Ugliest picture ever.

zombies at Richmond Zombie Walk, crowd

Here's the official walk. Love how this guy is snacking on a hand

Here we are!

zombie walk, costumes, Steve Job costume

Chef was a really good zombie. He kept doing this weird jerking thing that made me crack up

During the Zombie Walk, we observed all traffic laws

zombie smurfs

Zombie Smurfs. Hilarious


This guy scared the crap out of me

cross dresser zombie

Nothing better than a cross dresser zombie

kid zombie, child zombie

Kid zombies scare me the absolute most

child zombie, Girl Scouts zombie

See what I mean? This just isn't normal. Remind me not to buy Girl Scout cookies from this guy

Happy Halloween everyone! Are you a closet zombie lover too?

Copyright 2011. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.

42 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2011 9:02 am

    The kid zombie might just be the most effective form of birth control yet! Also? Cats on your robe was pretty stinkin’ brilliant.

    • October 31, 2011 7:49 pm

      Haha, thanks Tori! I was pretty proud of the cats. And that I figured out how to sew them to my robe. One actually was coming out of one of the pockets. You are crafty… but I NEVER sew. This was a big deal! 🙂

  2. October 31, 2011 9:48 am

    That looks like an awesome walk! I love your costume!

    I’m ashamed to admit I’ve only seen 12 of the movies on the Top 25 Zombie Movies list.

    • October 31, 2011 7:50 pm

      It was so much fun! Thanks! I’m also ashamed that I haven’t seen many of these movies. But now I have the list, I’m going to try and make it through them all! Or maybe we can split the list up and report back on how good they were. That way we each don’t waste a gazillion hours of our lives 🙂

  3. October 31, 2011 10:50 am

    Love this post… and not just because I rewatched “Dawn of the Dead” last night and love the movies you were mentioning. Read the Walking Dead graphic novel if you ever get the chance.

    • October 31, 2011 7:51 pm

      Oooh, I do want to check that book out. I also want to read World War Z, which is the book that the upcoming movie was based on. Heard it’s pretty good.
      Did you like Dawn of the Dead? I don’t know why, but that is one of my all time favorites 🙂

  4. bringdaddyabeer permalink
    October 31, 2011 11:10 am

    Awesome! What a great time! Kudos for your crazy cat lady inspired zombie.

    Everybody looks like they are having a great time. I need to see if there is a Zombie Meet Up in my area. 😀

    • October 31, 2011 7:52 pm

      You should check! They are all over the place. Some places have Zombie 10k and stuff like that. How fun would that be to watch?

      Thanks for the kudos!

  5. October 31, 2011 1:06 pm

    That is some amazing make-up, girl!!!

    I love The Walking Dead, which is weird, since most horror-esque movies make me want to scream and hide in the little storage closet in my room…

    • October 31, 2011 7:53 pm

      Thanks!! I know what you mean – I’m not a huge fan of horror movies either! I really can’t pinpoint why I love zombie movies so much. I just do. And the Walking Dead is simply amazing. One of my favorite shows ever.

  6. October 31, 2011 4:55 pm

    I almost did a zombie post today! Love your costumes, both you and Chef. Those zombie walks have become quite the rage all over the nation. I may have to partake in one myself next year!

    • October 31, 2011 7:53 pm

      Ha, I think you’d make a really good zombie, actually. I wanna see your zombie post! Bring it! 🙂 Looking forward to your guest post tomorrow…

  7. October 31, 2011 10:06 pm

    You scaring your mom is the SCARIEST PICTURE EVER. I will have nightmares.

    • November 2, 2011 9:53 pm

      Hahaha, I hope you don’t have nightmares, but I totally agree. That picture is scarytown. 🙂

  8. November 1, 2011 12:37 am

    Zombies are the best! I really enjoy those older movies (90s and older) because they just look more creepy and realistic for some reason.

    Love the post! And great pictures 🙂


    • November 2, 2011 9:53 pm

      Totally agree with the 90s and older movies. Some of the CGI ones are just too much for me to get on board with (my biggest complaint about I Am Legend). What’s your favorite zombie movie? I saw you read World War Z — are you looking forward to the movie? Next year!
      Thanks for your comment!

  9. November 1, 2011 2:04 am

    You look amazing! I love it!

  10. November 1, 2011 6:49 am

    I was going to go to the Long Beach walk this year, but decided to stay in and work on to kill a rose instead, haha! Looks like it was a lot of fun though! I need to go next year for sure now!

    • November 2, 2011 9:49 pm

      Definitely go next year…. much more fun than any other costume or activity I’ve ever done related to Halloween! (But make sure your writing is done ahead of time, lol)

  11. 2NewBeginnings permalink
    November 1, 2011 11:51 am

    Wow….I’m speechless. I would have never guessed that was you! Very brave! Great costume! Glad you had a good time! Seem’s you and Chef are moving along very nicely! 😉

    • November 2, 2011 9:48 pm

      Ha! Glad it looks nothing like me – cause that zombie is damned ugly!! 🙂 And Chef and me… it’s all fun times. He’s such a great guy and we have so much fun together. I’m lucky to have him!

  12. Nick H. permalink
    November 1, 2011 12:46 pm

    Most fun I have ever had! Love me some zombies and RVA was overtaken. I didn’t realize how offensive Steve Jobs zombie would be, but it was worth it. RIP Steve. Crazy Cat Lady zombie was scary and seeing Catherine transform was hilarious. She never wanted to look ugly, which makes no sense to me. YOU ARE DEAD!! Haha, fun times.

    • November 2, 2011 9:47 pm

      Haha, it was tough looking ugly. I had so much fun too! Thanks for inviting me 🙂 Can’t wait for next year!

  13. Robert Rossi permalink
    November 1, 2011 3:06 pm

    This was awesome. Your outfit looked amazing.

    Next year I will have to do this walk.

    I have only seen 12 out of the top 25 Zombie Movies what is wrong with me?

    • November 2, 2011 9:46 pm

      I know! I’m in the same boat as you with the zombie movies! We have some catching up to do!
      You definitely need to do it next year. I bet you’d be a great zombie!

  14. November 2, 2011 11:51 am

    Looks like you enjoyed your zombie walk! By the way, have you seen this zombie-proof house: I’m totally convinced that I’ll buy that thing one of these days. Anyhow, great blog!! See you around!

    • November 2, 2011 9:45 pm

      Dr. Cynicism,
      I had a blast, thanks! No, I didn’t see that article. But it is so cool! I need one of those houses. That will make my hiding out even more effective. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  15. November 3, 2011 8:31 pm

    ok um…..

    here’s where we part ways.

    i don’t like skurry movies. and i hate zombies. and i HATED zombieland! ugh. catherine. come on. but, good makeup job 😉

    • November 4, 2011 6:02 am

      Someone who doesn’t like zombies? Nice.

      I love zombies, but its refreshing to hear that someone doesn’t like them, lol. 🙂

    • November 12, 2011 7:34 pm

      Haha, thanks blunt delivery. I don’t know how you can hate zombies! They are just SOOO loveable! 🙂 Were definitely at an impasse. Zombieland was an amazing movie. I am in shock right now. 🙂
      I know what you mean about scary movies – I’m not into them either, for the most part. I’m very sensitve to bad dreams so I have to limit my exposure. (even to zombie movies!)

  16. November 6, 2011 8:26 pm

    What a COOL post and idea for Halloween costumes. It sounds like for a good cause, as well. being a fellow Zombie lover, I must suggest the newest gamer rage that is very addictive that my family plays on the X-box. The Zombie feature on Black-ops. You get the opportunity to “fight” the zombies and “get scared” while not actually suffering the trauma of them actually eating your brains. 😛

    • November 12, 2011 7:30 pm

      Ha, if I were into video games I’d have to check that out. But thank you for sharing!!

  17. November 7, 2011 3:45 pm

    You need to watch ‘The Crazies’; kind of zombie, but kind of not.

    There was a Zombie Walk in KC a couple years ago that I went to (didn’t dress up but took a lot of pictures). I think I have them shared on Facebook if you feel so inclined.

    • November 12, 2011 7:27 pm

      Oh cool, Matthew! I’ll have to go check those pics out. And The Crazies. Someone else has mentioned that to me before as well.

  18. November 7, 2011 7:59 pm

    Hahaha!!! Super fun post, Catherine!! You looked AWESOME!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  19. November 13, 2011 12:03 pm

    I’m not one for horror movies (I’m a big baby), the exception being those involving zombies. I agree that the concept is intriguing, and at its core is just humans struggling to survive, which we all do everyday. You mention some excellent zombie themed movies and shows, including I Am Legend, Zombieland (Bill Murray–lol), and The Walking Dead. I’ll have to look into some of the others you brought up.. Considering your zombie expertise, you might already be familiar, but ‘The Zombie Survival Guide’ by Max Brooks might be worth checking out. I was really into it a few summers ago. Really cool post!


    • November 17, 2011 8:35 pm

      Bill Murray is priceless in that movie. One of my favorite parts. I have seen The Zombie Survival Guide!! It’s an essential for zombie lovers. Part of me wants to write one for the blog, lol!
      Thanks for commenting Mike!


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