Worldwide, zombies are increasingly popular, and on Monday these fictional characters spilled over into real life. “It’s Halloween. You’re supposed to scare people,” said 12-year-old Marinna Parks, who was trick-or-treating in Brighton on Monday night.
Her mouth was covered in fake blood that ran down the front of her shirt and her eyes were two dark circles in an artificially white face. She closely resembled the students in downtown Boston just hours earlier.
This Halloween, Occupy Boston invited all college students to stage a walk out on Monday at 1 p.m. Nearly 100 students, some dressed as zombie bankers, joined the Occupy Boston protests against corporate greed and corruption at the State House.
The students with painted faces and cardboard tombstones—with phrases like “RIP affordable schools” and “Here Lies Greed,” written on them—stormed the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston building, causing it to lock down. According to the Boston Metro, the protesters called the event “The Death of the American Dream.”
“It’s good that students want to get involved,” said Cassandra Bent, 21, a broadcast journalism student at Emerson College. “People tend to think students don’t care, don’t vote. Their costumes got people’s attention.”
“It doesn’t surprise me one bit,” said Seth Czarnecki, 25, English teacher at Northborough high school. At his school, kids are holding auditions for a student-organized zombie movie. Also, when he was at UMass Amherst for undergraduate studies, students played a campus wide game of zombie tag.
The undead like Marinna and the Occupy Boston students don’t just come out on Halloween. In the spring, Boston hosts a zombie walk, and last year hundreds of “zombies” met up at South Station to walk through the city. This spring will be the eighth annual Zombie March. Multiple other cities in the U.S. host zombie walks, including New York.
Pete Macaskill, a lab-technician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, went to a zombie pub-crawl in Northampton a couple of weeks ago. Macaskill dressed up with his friends. “You just have to look dead,” he said.
“I saw a zombie Sarah Palin and Osama Bin Laden,” he said. “People think what would it be like for Osama to come back to life? Then they make it happen.”
This is a trend that doesn’t seem to be disappearing. The living dead are as pop-culturally significant as Lady Gaga and probably just as widely liked. Movies like “Zombieland” and “28 Days Later”—the British film—have gained international acclaim. This is more than just an American obsession.
“Part of fascination for the dead coming back to life, is that when a loved one dies all we can think about is how we want them back,” said Czarnecki. “Death is so permanent, and the zombie movie flips that on face and makes that its b—-.”
The cable television network AMC caught onto the trend and launched the series “The Walking Dead” last year; they have seen fantastic ratings. Actually, the ratings are so good that other networks like Fox and the CW are jumping on the bandwagon with their own zombie TV shows for 2012 and 2013.
The publishing world is also picking up the trend with new versions of classic novels like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. “Saturday Night Live” staff writer Max Brooks published a tongue-in-cheek book called The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even blogged about ways to protect yourself during a zombie apocalypse; the post got almost a million views. The writer, Dr. Ali Khan, included the federal government’s guidelines for how to prepare for an emergency. The playful post ended up being beneficial. It attracted readers who might skip over emergency guidelines. They suggest to stock up on water and flashlights–among other things–in anticipation of an attack from the undead or a natural disaster.
“People are fixated on infection,” said Czarnecki. “People get infected with things all the time. It’s something that resonates with us.”
“I understand why the students dressed as zombies. They wanted to show their frustration with the political system, and they were in the Halloween spirit,” said Bent. “But honestly I don’t know why zombies are so popular.”
“The what if factor is huge,” said Macaskill. “People are fascinated by the unknown.”
Why do you think zombies are so popular? For me, the verdict is still out…
P.S. A Joke:
What do vegan zombies eat?
(courtesy of E.W. lover of #jokelife)