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The 2006 Richmond Zombie Walk!

The second annual Richmond Zombie Walk occurred on Saturday, October 21st, continuing the tradition started by RoG last year. In some ways this one was better than last year's, as we had a larger turnout, with rough estimates from anywhere between 120-140 zombies (hey, have you ever tried counting moving zombies? Sure, they move slowly, but they shamble around in groups with body parts sticking out every which way, and you've always got to watch your six, man!! I know one guy who didn't watch his six because he was too busy getting a headcount, and now? Fucking zombie, that guy, which is why you always watch your six), but it lacked some of the spontaneity of last year in favor of a more planned-out route.

"OH MY GOD! Theyíre coming!! Run!!! Oh. Wait. Itís just zombies.
I thought it was bums coming to beg me for change."

Last year I went as a generic zombie (I had just shredded up some old work clothes that were already slightly torn up), and while that's all fine and good for most people, I wasn't about to do it again. This year I decided I needed a theme, because it's the themed zombies that really stand out in the crowd. So I went around to some local thrift stores hoping to find some kind of uniform, and I struck gold when I discovered a 7-11 employee shirt for the low, low price of $4.98, allowing me to dress as a zombie who could inadvertently make a Romero-esque bit of social commentary about consumer-driven societyóoh, you know what, fuck it, it was just a 7-11 shirt and I thought it would be funny.

The sad thing is that after theyíve worked there long enough,
7-11 employees start to actually look like this.

Last year I didn't really have much of a plan at all for makeup, as I just smeared some of Re's actual makeup makeup all over my face, trying my damndest to look more horrific than pretty. Fortunately I didn't end up looking like a zombie in drag, though that'd be a pretty awesome theme do to one year, come to think of it. But this year I actually went out and got some real Halloweeny type makeup, and it made all the difference, as I think my zombie look was much better this time around. So we gathered our small group of zombies over at my house to put on makeup and get our costumes ready, and then we piled into one car and headed off to the meeting place at the park.

Here are some of us at the park meeting place before the Zombie Walk.

Of course, since five zombies trying to share two bathrooms to put on their makeup is kind of like living with five teenage girls getting ready for a date, except that they're zombies and they're getting ready to kill instead of kiss people (or maybe both, if they're into that kind of thing), so naturally we were about a half hour late to the meeting place, and arrived just in time to hear the rules (zombies live by rules too, or they can get sued for assault) and announcements, participate in the group picture and then head off to descend on Carytown.

These are the two brave souls who took the reigns from
Roger this year and headed up the zombie walk.

Now one cool thing we had this year that we didn't have previously were "spectator zombies", who were plants in the crowd dressed normally that the zombies attacked en masse. After a brief trip inside Premiere, Carytown's costume shop (they had requested a few zombies make a run-through) I came outside just in time to witness the second of these zombie attacks, and it was pulled off masterfully. I missed the first one but I heard it didn't go off so well; well, not so with the second one!

Wait, are those zombies or early Christmas shoppers?
Itís so hard to tell the difference.

This hapless civilian got a little too close to the zombie horde, and quickly found himself grabbed by several zombies, at which point he fell to the ground. A large group of zombies immediately gathered around him, leaning down and flailing their arms toward him. I managed to get myself on the outer ring of zombies surrounding him, so that I could see what was going on inside the ring and so that I was helping to block the view of people watching from the street. The zombies helpfully shredded up his clothing, applied a quick bit of makeup and fake blood, but from outside the circle it looked like they were completely tearing into him. After about 45 seconds of this, the zombie horde backs off and this guy stumbles to his feet and begins his own zombie shamble down the street. I wish I had a picture of this event, but people were apparently too busy running for their lives instead of taking pictures, as no pictures have surfaced yet.

This Hunter S. Thompson zombie was one
of the more amusing themed zombies.

We continued on our way down Cary Street, getting all kinds of wonderful reactions from the onlookers. This year I noticed more favorable reactions from the crowd; there seemed to be far fewer of those "too cool for this" wankers who tried their hardest to ignore one hundred and twenty groaning, shuffling zombies all around them.

We turned many a head in the cars that drove by that day.

About halfway down our first run through on Cary, my favorite moment of the whole event occurred. From around a corner stumbled five guys dressed up as mummies, who forcefully broke their way right down the center of our zombie horde. Nobody expected this at all; the organizers knew nothing about it, so it was a complete surprise to everyone.

The mummies begin to charge through our ranks.

And the best part was that I didnít see anyone break character during the mummy intrusion. The zombies groaned in surprise, as zombies will do, and the mummies cried out in simulated confusion as they rounded the corner and encountered a horde of zombies. It must have looked utterly insane to anyone on the street, with the mummies making mummy noises and the zombies making zombie noises (they sound quite different, after all).

If you ever have to take a shit in the woods, bring a mummy along.

After the mummies broke through our group, they crossed the street so that they could break through again after we looped around to come back the way we came. Then they disappeared, and we never saw them again.

The mummies prepare for another not-so-spirited charge.

We finished off Carytown without further incident and then headed off to Monroe Park, where we met up again to go shambling around the Virginia Commonwealth University campus, which included a trip through the library (as we did last year). And the good thing is that last year after the Carytown portion of the walk, we had lost well over half our number (down to about 30 zombies), this time around we still retained about 80 zombies who stuck around for the entire walk.

Yes, we even had a Stormtrooper zombie.
And thatís Jaeger S. Meistersen behind him there.

Unfortunately, the students happened to be on fall break that week, so the crowd of people we had around the campus was a bit smaller than we were hoping. We limped our way through the VCU commons (a building with lots of little places to eat where students hang out), which were unfortunately almost empty, but I imagine from the second storey balcony we must have looked quite impressive.

Zombies shuffle their way through the VCU Commons.

Then we went off the VCU library, which was awesome last year for its sheer spontaneity, and I have to say that while it was good this year, it was lacking a little something this time around. Despite the students being on fall break, a lot of people were in the library. Most of them just looked annoyed or tried to ignore us, but we did get a few laughs from people who seemed quite happy we showed up to break up the monotony of their day.

Even zombies like to read. Books: check Ďem out.

As we were gathering to enter the library and quieted our growling and moaning significantly, many zombies noticed for the first time the Stephen Hawking zombie playing voice clips on his computer growling for brains, and many of the zombies found it difficult to contain their laughter once they could finally hear it. Fortunately, there was no one else around to witness this breaking of character. Because as we all know, ZOMBIES DONíT LAUGH.

This was by far my favorite themed zombie. He had several people pushing him around throughout the Walk, but this one was the funniest.

Another thing I love is that immediately upon exiting the library, many of the zombies howl or moan loudly now that they can make noise again, but while youíre still inside the library you can hear it echo from the glassed-in entryway, and it sounds awesomely creepy from inside. From the library we shambled around to the high-traffic Broad Street, where we passed by some store fronts before making it back to the park and calling it a day. Unfortunately there were no street festivals we happened to pass by this year, but perhaps next year weíll get a little luckier with our scheduling.

Zombies love pizza. Also, their faces often look like pizza.

All in all it was a great time, and more impressive than last year for our sheer numbers if nothing else. If this trend continues, the Zombie Walk should get bigger and better every year, with more amusing themed zombies and a generally more impressive crowd overall. I also hope that weíll see more spontaneously bizarre shit like the mummies in the years to come, but then again, if it becomes an institution, it wonít be spontaneous and itíll lose some of its appeal.

This Bob Ross zombie was another themed favorite. I heard he would take his red "paint" and smear zombies up with more blood, though I didnít see it.

In any event, I canít think of a better way outside of a whorehouse to spend a Saturday afternoon than dressing up a zombie and shuffling around on public streets and moaning like youíre mentally impaired. Give it a try sometime! (But donít blame me if you get your ass kicked because youíre stupid enough to do it alone instead of with a large group).

BONUS! Click on here to see a movie clip of zombie Stephen Hawking calling out for brains!


-Special thanks to Unnerving, Bollocker, Spudaug, Terry and anyone I may have overlooked for the photos!!

-For more zombie walk planning visit www.zombiewalk.com

If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out:

The 2005 Richmond Zombie Walk!