2nd Annual Anoka Walking Dead Pub Crawl

When I went to the zombie crawl on Saturday, I did more enjoying than documenting. There was a great deal of distracting fun to be had while wandering the streets with a bunch of good-natured zombies, and I didn’t take as many photographs of the event as I should have.

It was a cool night after a forbiddingly drizzly day, and I don’t think the turn-out was as big this year as last. There was no Thriller street dance, sadly.

As usual, the making up of  people, which happened earlier in the day,  was the best part for me … And that’s when most of my pictures were taken.

Scroll down to see the final versions, out and about in the night.

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Zombie #1 requested bloody and gross. We mixed up a bowl of corn flour and water – then daubed on some blood and fresh scab to simulate brain matter. Turned out pretty good I think. The best part of this makeup, for me, came after he complained about a piece of it falling into his shirt and getting caught in his chest hair.

ME: You have chest hair? Let me see.
ZOMBIE #1: (opens several buttons)
ME: (squeals) Oooh! Lots of chest hair! Can we smoosh brain matter on your chest? We’ll spray it in with hairspray.
ZOMBIE #1: Yeah! That’s a great idea!

He thought the repeated hairspray applications were really cold. Later, he may have regretted his consent, because he had to pull his shirt away from the sticky mess that coated his chest several times. I think he lost some chest hair. But it looked great.

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Zombie #2 said she’d be happy with a less disgusting look. Her road rash cheek, bleeding ear and broken nose turned out fine, but there was something missing. She decided to mess up her hair (a lot) which helped. When I suggested she gather a handful of leaves and dead grass and spray that into her rats-nested hair, the makeup really came together.

Zombies #3 & #4: (fewer photos were taken with these two makeups)

Zombie #3 wanted to be an Amish zombie with no blood. Had he been open to it, I would have done a simple throat slit, just to give a pop of color to the overall look.  Working with his bone structure was an absolute joy – he’s made to have shadows and hollows emphasized. I asked zombie #2 to do the right side of his face while I started on zombie #4.

Zombie #4 was open to anything. I did her up last year with lots of peeling face gashes.

Zombie #4, last year.

Zombie #4, last year.

I wanted to do something different this year. We gave her a simple bleeding head wound at the part of her hair, a bitten cheek, and tears of blood. You’ll notice all the blood on her is directional – no splattering, but rather dripping.

I sort of became fascinated with her eyes, as you’ll see in the following pictures. Hers was a subtle makeup, and I’m not sure that she wouldn’t have been happier with something more visceral. But I loved it.

dark side custom crop

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Out with the zombies:

Formal portraits:

Other zombies:

We didn’t see as many fantastic make-ups this year as we did last year. Of course, I was also more engaged in the party atmosphere this year too – I may have been too busy playing with my friends to notice. I did chase down a couple of great faces, though:  a guy with missing eyes who had done a nice job of blending the appliance, and a fabulous burn victim.

To see some more good costumes and makeups, check out last year’s post: Anoka MN’s 1st Annual Walking Dead Pub Crawl.

On Thursday, I’ll be sharing some links to good makeups I’ve seen around the web, and I plan to post a video of me doing a zombie makeup on myself, so check back if you’re looking for some tips and tricks.

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Courting Creepy: 13 crucial movies – for zombie lovers – at Halloween (or anytime.) By Pooka’s Beau.

Tonight, as promised, I bring you a new Courting Creepy list. As soon as I agreed to participate in the recent Blogger Virtual Zombie Walk, I knew I needed to craft a zombie movie list, so I’ve been thinking about it since late September. I racked my memories. I watched new-to-me films … which I didn’t much like. In the end, I was able to come up with only nine solid recommendations. That’s a shame, because I genuinely respect the genre. Some of the best horror movies I know are zombie films. (But then, so are some of the worst.) Eventually, I had to admit that most zombie films are just a bit too bloody and violent for me. In desperation, I reached out to my daughter’s beau who has a particular affection for zombies. He agreed to write up a list, using my existing lists as an example of format.

Please feel free to let The Beau know he should have a blog of his very own 🙂

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The Beau’s take on zombie movies:

If horror movies were liquor, then zombie movies would be vodka. You can add just about anything to vodka and get a palatable drink. The same can be said for zombie movies. Granted, you have your top-shelf zombie movies and your cheap b-list zombie movies. Beyond that, you have your flavors: zombie comedies, zombie action flicks, zombie science fiction … the variety is overwhelming, but all of it works in some way. It’s the various permutations of these films that ensure you are going to like some kind of zombie movie, you’ve just got to find the right variety.

Let’s start by talking about pure zombies. This includes George Romero’s “of the Dead” series, most of the remakes of them, and a handful of other examples, like 28 Days Later and (especially) the TV series Walking Dead. These are what I consider the top-shelf zombie movies. They stay true to the plots that started the genre. All other types of zombie movies are spinoffs of elements within these movies.

In these top-shelf movies, the horror comes from the setting. A zombie, by itself, isn’t that scary. These zombies are (usually) slow-moving and easily outsmarted. The real threat is in the fact that the entire world is overrun with them; there are millions of them out there and they will always be after you. Still-human characters have to find a way to live in the resulting world, and that is where the real drama of the movie comes from. Without normal societal norms, the characters revert to survival mode and you see just how bad human nature can become in the name of survival.

These movies inspire the viewer to ask questions of themselves. What would you do in a situation like this? Would you isolate your family? Would you murder other people who try to get into your supplies? What would you promise your squad of soldiers to keep them from killing each other? Maybe you’d just try to be the last civilized person on the planet, holding true to what you can remember of the law and order that once was, at least for a time. These questions also apply to the oldest story ever told: Man vs Man vs Nature. We live in this world with such questions in the deep, dark back of our minds, and we’ll leave the world (if we’re lucky) not knowing the answers.

The effectiveness of films like those above gave birth to the sub-genres of zombie films. Dawn of the Dead (both the original and the remake) shows us how much fun it can be to be the last man alive, for example. It introduces a light tone into the genre. That led us to Shaun of the Dead, a comedy which shows us the only people equipped to deal with the zombie apocalypse are video game playing slackers in their mid-twenties. The characters from Shaun, however – with their devising of zombie killing strategies and their indulging in zombie killing sprees –  gave rise to the action zombie films.

An important thing to remember about these films is that they are gory. Wait, don’t turn your nose up at that! A lot of people think gory = not scary but gross, but gore does have a place in horror. It’s how you validate your fears. Think of this…. If I were to tell you, “Hey, the Titanic sank,” how would you feel? You probably wouldn’t collapse in tears, even though it was a tragedy. But, if you were to watch the Titanic movie – and actually see the stories of the doomed passengers, then see them die – suddenly the tragedy hits home, it has emotional impact. The same idea applies to zombies, When a movie tells you, Hey, zombies eat people,” you aren’t going to be scared if the camera turns away. But, if you watch a gory zombie movie – and actually see a zombie tear the throat out of someone, then disembowel that same someone right before your eyes – suddenly it strikes home that “Zombies EAT people!”

If it helps those of you who are squeamish, just go into it with the intention of admiring some of the best special effect makeup ever done.

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13 crucial movies – for zombie lovers – at Halloween (or anytime.) By The Beau.

First, honorable mention to the TV series The Walking Dead. I know it’s not a movie, but if you want the best example of a great zombie story, go to that.

Dawn of the Dead (1978, original)
– One of the best and most influential movies of the genre. Special acknowledgement for best performance by a mall in film.
Zombie aka Zombi 2 (1979)
– Best of the foreign zombie films. Special acknowledgement for best fight scene: Shark vs Zombie!
Return of the Living Dead (1985)
– Splatstick comedy. Historically significant; the movie that started zombies saying “Brains!”
Day of the Dead (1985, original)
– Sequel to the much-loved Dawn of the Dead. A military bunker is the safest place in the world of the dead, but can the civilian population get along with the military leaders?
Night of the Living Dead (1990, remake)
– An updated and more action oriented version of the original that started it all. Special acknowledgement for best change of an ending.
Wild Zero (1999)
– Not going to make a list without putting a movie on it you’ve never heard of. Japanese zombie film starring a rock band that battles zombies using the power of rock. DVD comes with a built in drinking game, drink when: a head explodes, fire shoots out of something, someone says Rock N Roll, someone combs their hair, and many more.
28 Days Later (2002)
– Best zombie movies with no zombies in it.
Dawn of the Dead (2004, remake)
– Same premise, but different direction, than the original. Strong movie that stands side by side with the original, not in front or behind.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
– British comedy that is a lovesong for the genre.
Land of the Dead (2005)
– Interesting premise that falls apart with cliché characters and action sequences. Still stands up better than many other movies.
The Zombie Diaries (2006)
– A shaky-cam documentary-style take on the zombie apocalypse. Surprisingly good, better than Romero’s Diary of the Dead.
Planet Terror (2007)
– A modern homage to the cult films of yore. Extra gore, extra cult.
Zombieland (2009)
– Survival comedy that walks the line between homage and parody. Good entry movie for the genre, though it may make earlier films less scary.

Best for Halloween night: Night of the Living Dead (1968).

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