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Nope, it’s not your imagination. Zombies are everywhere.
To celebrate the ubiquitous undead, a collaborative effort between zombie fans Cindy Sullivan, manager at YES Cinema, and Dave Christian, owner of Sidekick Comics, introduces the season three premiere of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” to the big screen at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
So why is society so obsessed with these delightful creatures?
It’s a cyclical obsession, said Aaron Louden, self-proclaimed horror fan extraordinaire.
“There’s been a lot of great zombie movies over the years,” the 36-year-old Louden said. “It seems that once every decade, there’s a resurgence.”
Take vampires, for example.
In the 1990s, the Vampire Lestat, from Anne Rice’s “Interview with the Vampire,” served as the modern interpretation of the blood drinker, which gave rise to a new generation of sparkly vampires in the 21st century.
Now, it’s the zombie’s turn. A zombie, sometimes called a walker or simply the undead, is a re-animated corpse. Deprived of the ability to think, zombies are automatons whose sole purpose is to feed on the flesh and brains of the living.
Zombies first rose to popularity in 1968 with George A. Romero’s classic film, “Night of the Living Dead.” Nearly a decade ago, the graphic novel series “The Walking Dead” brought the creepy creatures back into the spotlight, and no other graphic novel series brings more customers into Christian’s store.
The series explores the zombie scenario from the survivors’ perspective. Chronicling the lives of a band of survivors in a zombie-filled, post-apocalyptic world, the series made its television premiere Halloween night in 2010. Headed up by Sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), the group is under the constant threat of an attack by zombie hordes as it seeks a place to call home.
The eclectic group is forced into a situation where they must co-exist to survive, Christian said. For instance, one character with a propensity for racist comments alienates himself from the rest of the group to the point where he finds himself on a rooftop swarmed by a horde of hungry walkers.
“They have a lot of conflicting characters who, under normal circumstances, wouldn’t be around one another,” Christian said. “It focuses more on the personal stories of the survivors.”
During their travels, the characters must make choices that would horrify the bravest among us. For instance, what would you do if your child were bitten, and you knew he would turn into a zombie?
The show has gore for the horror fans, Sullivan said, but it also has relationships and drama.
“What I like about the series isn’t so much the zombies, but the human characters and their struggles,” Louden said. “The drama of these people’s lives, who are trying to carry on when the resources of this world are gone, is what sets it apart.”
The new season introduces two long-awaited characters from the graphic novel, The Governor and Michonne.
David Morrissey portrays the villainous Governor, Sullivan said, who quickly becomes the adversary of Rick, the main character. Michonne, played by Danai Gurira, is the epitome of girl power, Sullivan said, and one of the stronger characters in the series.
“They hinted at her in the last season,” Sullivan said. “They’re finally bringing her in.”
Even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention jumped on the bandwagon of the undead several months ago as part of its campaign to increase the public’s awareness about the importance of emergency preparedness. Their message: Be prepared for any emergency, including a zombie attack.
If a zombie outbreak did happen, Sullivan said she’s always joked she has the perfect place to hide.
“I always said I would lock myself in a movie theater,” Sullivan said. “Actually, I’d probably go to the nearest person who I think could protect me, because I wouldn’t last long on my own.”
YES Cinema has never presented a television show before, making this premiere the first of its kind for the theater, Sullivan said.
Originally, a single theater was planned for the event, but the 174 tickets went quickly. A second theater has opened to accommodate the event’s popularity, Sullivan said. However, seating is first-come, first-served. In case you didn’t get a chance to see last season’s finale, don’t panic. Doors will open early for those who would like to see where the story left off ... and want good seats.
Christian said costumes are welcome, although he asks fans to avoid masks and leave their fake blood at home.
“I foresee it to be a lot of energy,” Christian said. “People are very passionate about this event and excited. It’ll be the geek version of a sporting event.”
Would you make it?
10 tips for surviving a zombie apocalypse:
1 Be prepared. Have an emergency kit on hand, including nonperishable food items, utility tools and medical supplies.
2 Drink up. Fighting zombies takes a lot out of you. Have plenty of clean drinking water on hand; as a rule, at least one gallon per person per day.
3 Have a Plan B. Should you flee your home, where will you go? Establish a rendezvous point to meet up with family and friends, and have multiple routes to get there.
4 Travel in a group. During a zombie apocalypse, there is safety in numbers.
5 Get in shape. When running for your life, the last thing you want is to get winded. Work on your strength and endurance; you’ll need it. Remember: You only have to run faster than the people you’re with.
6 Shhh!! They may be undead, but shiny, noisy things do get a zombie’s attention. No one will fault you for being stealthy.
7 Avoid windows. Yeah, it’s nice to see ‘em coming, but what happens when they arrive? Zombies have no aversion to breaking things, so choose a secure shelter with few windows.
8 Travel light. That 20-pound backpack could be used as a melee weapon (if you’re determined), but don’t take the chance.
9 Be self-sufficient. In a post-apocalyptic world, the Twinkies will run out. Learn to forage, garden and hunt ahead of time.
10 Never be a hero. You’re not better off undead.
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