Better Off Undead
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.
Happy Halloween everyone! Are you a closet zombie lover too?
Copyright 2011. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.