Time of the season

Ready your retinas for the sight of the living dead

Night of the Living Dead: A photo from last year’s Zombie Walk. Shannon Van Raes

The air hangs dense with decay. Moonlight is scarce as clouds consume the night sky. Hulking figures emerge from every corner and lurch onward in a trance. The silence is broken by starving groans followed by the unmistakable sounds of feasting. 

This is not a scene from a George Romero flick; it is, however, the atmosphere at last year’s Zombie Walk.

If you think watching zombies attack on the TV screen is frightening, try immersing yourself in a real-life staggering pack of flesh-eating mutants. 

This Friday, Oct. 14 marks the day Winnipeggers turn off their TVs and open their front doors to the annual Zombie Walk.

People of all ages participate; under those convincing layers of makeup and fake blood are your friends, your neighbours, your classmates and even that Grade 9 math teacher who resembled a zombie on a daily basis.

The expected 2,400 people at this year’s walk speaks volumes for the admiration of one of horror’s most popular sub-genres.

Subsequent years of the Zombie Walk have allowed the event to grow out of its underground identity. 

The rise of zombies in current pop-culture combined with the use of media outlets has given noticeable hype to the once unknown event.

Photo shoots are held to promote the walk and music videos are made; some participants use the event as a business endeavour by charging to zombify people for the big day. 

What kind of zombies can be expected? Everything and anything; child zombies wander around your legs while uniform-clad zombies stagger and a decaying Jesus (the most famous zombie of them all) sways hauntingly in unison with a pregnant zombie.

While the Zombie Walk serves as a successful act of performance art (and a day where my dishevelled hair is the norm), it also serves as a hunger-awareness act. 

The Winnipeg Zombie Walk requests the donation of non-perishable food items from participants in order to assist those in need. 

Painting the town red with blood and providing nourishment in one night? A rare, fulfilling combo.

Imagining a few thousand people dropping their identities for that of zombies and wandering the streets will naturally stir concern for authorities.

Therefore, volunteers monitor and police supervise the walk to ensure order; thankfully aside from some minor clean-up, no harm has occurred to the city or its inhabitants.

The living dead will meet at Stephen Juba Park on Friday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. The pack then moves to the Forks and the Legislative Grounds before ending up at the Zoo/Ozzy’s for Laika, Zombie Assault, Igor & the Skindiggers, Filthy Animals and Readymix DJs Dan L and Dial-up.  Be sure to keep the night alive and grab a pint because, honestly, what is a plate of brains without a beer to wash it down with?

Published in Volume 66, Number 7 of The Uniter (October 12, 2011)

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