How will you prepare for the zombie apocalypse? It's time to ready the necessary provisions and perhaps do some cardio in order to better outrun the living dead, because it's just two short days away.
The 2011 Zombie Crawl will be held in downtown Fredonia on Saturday, with festivities beginning at 7 p.m. in Barker Common. (See the box below the photo at right for the schedule). I spoke to Tom Annear, who helped found the Zombie Crawl in 2008, along with Zombie No. 1 who prefers to stay out of the spotlight; and Rita Corsi and Francisco Clark-Bouchard (better known as Paco), a member of the Zombie Committee of 2011. The committee also includes Annear, Dustin Luckach and Erin Barr, all residents of Dunkirk/Fredonia.
How did the idea for a Zombie Crawl originate?
Zombies take a break from devouring the brains of Fredonia residents to pose for a photo at last year’s Zombie Crawl. The 2011 Zombie Crawl will be held Saturday in downtown Fredonia.
Annear: Zombie No. 1 asked why I had never told him about Monroeville, Pa.. I was confused, so he pulled up a website and there it was, the mall where they filmed the original "Dawn if the Dead" and it is only two hours away. And on International Zombie Day (a Hallmark holiday), every year they try to break the world's record for most zombies shambling through a mall. At the bottom of the page there was a link, "Can't make it to the crawl, bring the crawl to you."
What year did you start filming the Zombie Crawl and how did that idea come about?
Annear: In 2008, I was on the Fredonia Cable Access board and friends with Mike Subjack. We talked about filming the event and he was really into it, he is more into zombie movies than I am.
The 2011 Zombie Crawl Schedule of Events - Saturday
- Zombification, 7 to 8 p.m. - Zombie make-up and clothes provided for $2 suggested donation. Meet in Barker Common park
- Zombie'lympics, 8 to 9 p.m. - Severed Head Shot-put, 40-yard Undead Baby Dash, High-jump, Tug-a-war, Zombie Gymnastics: balance beam, ribbon-flailing, hula-hooping
- Zombie Photo & Best Zombie Judging, 9:30 p.m. -Zombie mass photo and judging for Zombie King and Queen
- Zombie Crawl, 9:45 p.m. - A shamble/promenade of downtown Fredonia, all hailing the Zombie King and Queen
- Zombie Prom, about 10 p.m. - Back to Buster Brown Bean Company, Zombie Prom headquarters, for some dancing, prom photos and drinks if desired. Gruesome goodies will be provided - such as eyeball cupcakes, blood hot chocolate and more; the top 10 zombies will receive a cup of free dead ale.
How does this year's Zombie Crawl differ from years past?
Annear: The first two years, we just shambled around and made a movie. The second year it poured and only 17 zombies showed up.
Corsi: We tried a few different approaches, last year was a zombie "bar" crawl mostly to keep people together but decided we didn't want it to be about the bars as much as the zombies. We want to keep everyone in the same area, so we decided to have the Zombie'lympics to keep everyone entertained while we zombify those that feel they need help and would otherwise not come.
Clark-Bouchard: This year's Zombie Crawl is a bit more organized. Along with the Zombie'lympics and Zombie Prom, we will be doing some zombie make-up for people who don't think they have the wherewithal to get the zombie job done. I know in the past a few people who said they wanted to come but haven't because they didn't have make up, or didn't have any good ideas on how to "zombie up." So if people don't really know how to go about zombifying themselves, just put on some ratty old clothes that you don't mind getting torn up and come down! We will make you look great ... I mean horrible. Horribly great!
Clark-Bouchard: I am putting together some fun zombie-themed prom songs to dance to. We have a fun zombie-themed prom photo op. Also, if you didn't get to take your current loved one to your original prom this give people a fun chance to relive that... or rather re-unlive that. Zombie'lympics is just a fun way to keep people who come to get zombied up to stay in the park and win some silly prizes and stay involved until the crowning of the zombie king and queen.
What are some of the most creative zombie ideas you've seen in years' past?
Clark-Bouchard: The zombie costume can be anything really. We've had everything from famous undead celebrities like Elvis or Flo from the Progressive insurance commercials to a zombie bride or just simple zombie folk. We even had a zombie cross dresser. Anything goes, really. The more fun and gory, the better. That is what I really look forward to is seeing the creativity involved in the zombie costumes and ideas. One of my favorites wasn't a person at all but a zombie dog. Our friend found a fake hand and filled it with peanut butter so the dog would carry it around in its mouth during the crawl.
Do you have any advice for people new to the Zombie Crawl this year?
Annear: Keep it simple, dress warmly, with a couple of good bites and lots of blood. Or wear your prom dress.
Tips for surviving the zombie apocalypse?
Corsi: Fortify your safe place first, scavenge for food/weapons after, then ride it out.
Annear: Keep quiet, so the zombies can't hear you.
At the Zombie Crawl, donations will be collected for the food pantry and pet pantry - how was the idea to add this new charity component conceived?
Annear: When we Googled zombie crawls, we came up with a lot of food donation information and we thought it was a great idea. Who doesn't love peanut butter body part biscuits?
Corsi: We thought that it would be nice to put all of our zombie efforts toward something besides our twisted entertainment. Zombies need food, so do people and pets.
For more information on the Zombie Crawl, visit www.facebook.com/fredoniazombies.
RECOMMENDED VIEWING: ZOMBIES
For those looking for ideas for their zombie costumes or just a good scare, here is some recommended viewing, with some suggestions from Annear and myself; I was educated on zombies in film in my Cult and Horror film studies class, offered at SUNY Fredonia during the J-term and taught by Armand Petri.
The original "Night of the Living Dead" - The one that started it all, directed by George Romero. It will be on Turner Classic Movies on Halloween at 9:30 p.m.
"Dawn of the Dead" - Set in a shopping mall, quickly overtaken by zombies. The undead are consumers - how appropriate!
"Return of the Living Dead" - Made in 1985, directed by Dan O'Bannon (according to the trivia on IMDB.com, Romero was contacted by executive producers about producing this film and never called back. This film features talking zombies and a good soundtrack.
"Shaun of the Dead" - The quintessential zombie spoof, filled with rich, interesting characters.
"The Walking Dead" If you're looking for outstanding ideas for your zombification, look no further. Season two just premiered on Sunday on AMC and airs each Sunday at 9 p.m. Season one is available to watch instantly on Netflix (if you haven't already canceled your subscription in a rage) and the full episode of the season two premiere is online at amctv.com.
"Zombieland" - A laugh-out-loud funny film, with a stellar cast and a step-by-step guide to fending off the living dead.
"28 Days Later" - A great modern zombie film that will easily scare the pants off brave viewers. In this one, the zombies don't stumble along at snails' pace - they run, and boy, do they run fast. Only the most athletic would survive during this kind of zombie apocalypse.
"Dead Alive" Remember the horror movie section at Movie World, the video store that was in Dunkirk until it was replaced by Blockbuster in the mid-90s? It was in the back part of the store, a little haunted cave bedecked in Halloween fare year-round. The cover of this video tape is what I remember most vividly from that horror section, among other movies I was too young to see. It's a cult classic, directed by Peter Jackson - yes, that Peter Jackson, who directed the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy - with some gruesome scenes that need to be seen to be believed. "Dead Alive" is horror comedy at its finest, about the bloodthirsty rampage of a woman bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey. It can difficult to find on the average shelf of a movie rental store nowadays but it's well worth tracking down.
The "Friends" West Fest will be held at locations throughout Fredonia Saturday to benefit the RO Foundation, which helps local patients and families offset transportation expenses from medical appointments and treatments. The schedule for live music is as follows - 1 p.m., Fallen Union at BJ's; 2:20 p.m., A Cappella group Much More Chill, on the sidewalk; 3 p.m., Ion Sky with Tara Graves at Coughlan's; 4 p.m., Acoustic Soul at BJ's ; 4:30 p.m., a cappella group Riveters on the sidewalk; 5:30 p.m., Gina V. with Side Effect at 41 West Bar and Grille; 6:30 p.m., Big Tone at Coughlan's; and at 8:00 p.m., Sean Patrick McGraw at 41 West Bar and Grille.
There will be raffles, food and a $5 donation buys nine drafts.
Those seeking a TV show to help get into the Halloween spirit should check out FX's new series "American Horror Story." It's absolutely ridiculous, with outrageously bad, B-movie acting and a silly story, but if watched alone after dark, it's effectively creepy. Furthermore, it's just plain fun. It airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m.
I also recommend "Carnival of Souls" (1962) to be watched alone after dark. I watched it for the first time in my Cult and Horror class and even though I've seen better acting in a high school musical, it's shuddersome stuff. The movie is about the lone survivor of a car crash who becomes trapped between the world of the dead and the living - most appropriate during this time of year when, it is believed, there is the "thinning of the veil" between the spirit world and ours. The film will be shown on Turner Classic Movies at 8 p.m. on Monday, the first of that evening's roster of horror films shown weekly on the network during October.
I wrote last week about two excellent new films, "50/50" and "The Ides of March" which were not being shown locally at the time of release. Thankfully, it's no longer necessary to drive to Buffalo to see these films - "50/50" is now playing at the Dunkirk Movieplex and it will be shown at the Fredonia Opera House as part of its Cinema Series Oct. 29 and Nov. 1. Also planned for the Opera House Cinema Series is "The Ides of March," which will be screened Nov. 12 and 15.
April Diodato is the OBSERVER Lifestyles editor. Send comments and events - especially those that are Halloween-related - to firstname.lastname@example.org