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What’s behind the Zombie phenomenon?

By Staff | Oct 5, 2012

Just when you’d gotten used to seeing vampires everywhere, in books, movies and TV shows, along comes the Zombie craze.

Popular culture can be hard to keep up with sometimes!

In case you have not been paying attention, Zombies are creatures that are dead, but refuse to stay that way. Instead, they escape the grave to roam the earth with their Zombie pals, dressed in grisly attire, scaring (and sometimes amusing) the rest of us. While they have long been a fixture at Halloween, in recent years the Zombie theme has become a year round party theme.

Zombies got their start in low-budget horror movies made in the 1970s and 80s. The original prototype was 1968’s “Night of the Living Dead,” directed by George Romero, which spawned a generation of copy-cat films.

In 1981, director Sam Raini put his mark on the genre with “Evil Dead,” which has remained a cult classic movie ever since. Even Michael Jackson got in on the act with his landmark Thriller music video in 1982.

Initially, filmmakers loved the fact that Zombie movies were cheap to produce since they did not require exotic locations or expensive costuming. Just some ragged clothing, heavy mascara and lots of fake blood! Movie-goers loved the fact that Zombie movies were scary but not terrifying, and also a bit goofy. And thus, an industry was born.

Just as retro music and fashion regularly come back into style, so too with Zombies. For the past five years or so, the Zombie theme has been showing up everywhere, and it has become popular across all age groups. Not surprisingly, the Zombie theme has become a favorite with marketers and promoters hoping to inject fun and excitement into events.

For example, this fall the city of Fort Myers will hold its sixth annual “ZombieCon” art and music festival to benefit the Harry Chapin Food Bank and the Lee Memorial Blood Center, an event which drew 20,000 people in 2011.

Even serious organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have employed the Zombie theme for educational programs and website theming. FEMA’s public information program for 2012 is called “Zombie Awareness: Effective Practices in Promoting Disaster Preparedness.”

Sanibel will get its taste of the Zombie phenomenon as the Sanibel Community House hosts a “Zombie House Party” on Friday, Oct. 19, from 7 to 10 pm. The party features live music for dancing by Zombie University, a talented six-piece group that has become one of southwest Florida’s favorite top-40 cover bands.

Party-goers are invited to get in the spirit with some Zombie-style costuming. Face painting will be available at the party for those who need help with their scary look. Those who are not the dress-up type can come as you are, enjoy the fun, and see what the Zombie scene is all about.

Snacks will be served tapas-style to allow partiers to mingle, move around and enjoy the entertainment. Alcoholic beverages will be available by donation.

Support for the Zombie House Party is provided by the Sanibel Sea School staff. Finally, to complete the theme, a Bloodmobile from Lee Memorial Blood Center will be at the Community House from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. accepting blood donations. Your donation of blood will be much appreciated.

Tickets for the Zombie House Party are $20 per person and tickets need to be purchased in advance by calling the Community House at 472-2155, or stopping by.

Stay tuned for Zombie dressing tips!