UofL saw a mass of students yesterday afternoon dragging themselves across campus, dead legs and outreached arms, groaning and growling with wide gaping mouths, distant gazes, and quite a bit of costume makeup. All mastered the art of the Zombie Walk. On Oct. 30, living dead enthusiasts made a trek from the Thinker statue to the Red Barn.
Passersby seemed shocked, but laughed, and could not put down their iPhones to take pictures. Other victims included students in the Tulip Tree Café, who received a good show by impersonators on the other side. Scratching and slobbering, pressing their faces into the glass, these zombie walkers were truly in character.
I had the chance to talk to a few bloody “walkers.” Two friends, Olivia Maison and Kelly Lake, had very different views on “zombie culture.”
“When did interest in zombies first strike you two?”
“Probably when I was bitten,” Maison dryly responded.
Maison is an avid walker, previously featured in Louisville’s Courier Journal, and radio station 91.9 WFPK. With painted fleshy wounds around her eyes, this year she won Best Costume on UofL’s campus.
“What would you two do if there was an actual zombie apocalypse?”
Thoughtfully, Lake considered clothing to be the biggest necessity.
“I don’t think a lot of people consider clothing if they were to be under attack. I would bring at least two pairs of clothes for each season…”
“Pshh, who cares about clothes? Let’s just all get naked!” Maison rebutted.
“Because you could die from the elements!” Lake replied.
“I mean if we’re all gonna die anyway,” Maison said, “Why shouldn’t we be naked? Naked zombies–everywhere. It’s a perfect opportunity to just be naked.”
Amused at the conversation, I half-heartily took their banter as a joke. In seconds to follow, my question began a tangent between the two friends, who considered real-life situations in an end-of-the-world scenario.
English professor here at the University of Louisville, Dr. Aaron Jaffe co-edited his latest book “A Year’s Work at the Zombie Research Center,” with friend and associate Edward Comentale, professor at Indiana University. The two experts debriefed their research, covering topics in zombie culture such as generational affects, zombies in music and movies, moral dilemmas and hypothetical surviving techniques. I found out, more often than not, the recent uproar of zombie culture opened doors to philosophical arguments.
18-year-olds Trey Sterling and Thomas Barten, first time participants in a zombie walk, gave their input.
Both took a more relaxed approach to zombies. Sterling stated that his interests in the culture began at a young age with vintage horror movies, then later heightened when the popular series “The Walking Dead” aired. Barten agreed, adding comics are his go-to medium for cannibal corpses.
“Do you think UofL is a safe place for a zombie apocalypse?”
They briefly laughed, skeptical about the geographical layout of campus.
“Uh… Maybe the clock tower. Maybe.”