October 27, 2009

COVERAGE: 2009 Hamilton Zombie Walk (Part One)

On Saturday, October 24th, the undead turned out in support for the unfed at the 2009 Hamilton Zombie Walk.

Presented by Horror in the Hammer, the Hamilton Zombie Walk and charity food drive in support of Hamilton Food Share drew a large crowd of zombie fans for a march from Gore Park to Dundurn Cemetery. After the walk, zombies retired to the Staircase Theatre and Tapestry Bistro for the Zombie Marketplace and a very special screening of Renegade Motion Pictures' zombie film AUTUMN, filmed locally in the Hamilton area. Director Steven Rumbelow and members of the cast and crew were in attendance for a brief Q and A. The Zed Word zombie blog was there too for every bloody, shambling step along the way.

Read my full account of the walk and see more gruesome zombie photos after the break!

Or continue to Part Two for my coverage of the post-walk event and screening of AUTUMN!

 12:30pm -- Undead Transformation Begins

Last year, I went as a zombie surgeon for the Hamilton Zombie Walk. I got a lot of use out of that costume for subsequent events such as the Toronto After Dark zombie appreciation night and Toronto Zombie Walk: Special Director's Cut Edition, but this year it was time to retire the good doctor in exchange for some new threads. I envisioned my new zombie to be a prisoner who, during the zombie apocalypse, becomes handcuffed to a man that is infected with a zombie virus. The man dies and reanimates, still cuffed to the prisoner. Using a hatchet, the prisoner hacks off the arm of the zombie, but not before being bitten by the zombie. Stumbling away with the severed arm of the zombie still cuffed to his wrist, the prisoner soon succumbs to his own wounds and dies. Lying in a field, his eye and face are torn up by hungry crows before he too reanimates and joins the legions of the dead.


On my face, I used three Living Nightmare brand "FX Hole in the head" latex appliances, one Famous Don Post Studios sightless eye appliance, and a touch of Living Nightmare brand "Scary Skin". Rather than go as a regular pale-faced zombie, I attempted to blend the appliances on my skin with purple, yellow, and red makeup to create a raw, bruised effect. In addition, I added two temporary tattoos to simulate bleeding wounds. Temporary tattoos wounds usually look fairly convincing from a distance, are cheap, require little mess, and are removed easily. Below you can see the pre-blood and final stage of my of my face makeup.


Since my zombie costume this year was of a hatchet-wielding zombie prisoner whose eye had been torn out by a ravenous crow, I required several props. My costume consisted of an orange prisoner boiler suit with handcuffs. I attached one handcuff to my wrist and attached the other cuff to a severed arm prop. In my free hand, I dragged a bloody hatchet

On my shoulder, I attempted to fix a fake crow purchased from Wal-Mart. Like most things purchased from Wal-Mart, the crow was a poor quality prop. Unable to hold much weight on its broken legs, it drooped down severely; however, it served its purpose of holding a gory eye I had built the previous night and attached to the bird's beak with liquid latex. The eye was a big hit with my fellow zombie walkers. I constructed it from a fake eye that came with a jar of eyes prop I had bought earlier for Halloween decorations. Using liquid latex and cooked spaghetti noodles, I built a web of optic nerves and tissue that I painted red with theatre blood.

2:45pm -- Zombification Complete

With my costume and props assembled, I packed up my food donations and walked down to Gore Park to join my fellow zombies.

3:00pm -- The Dead Walk!

Shortly after 3pm, we began the walk. Leaving Gore Park where we terrorized buses, we shambled across the street into Jackson Square Mall. Entering on the James St. side, we shambled east through the mall to the delight and surprise of Saturday afternoon shoppers. We exited the mall and continued the walk along King Street before turning North on Dundurn and making our way to Dundurn Cemetery. Originally, we were going to end the walk at Dundurn Castle, but we changed our plans so as not to disturb a wedding taking place. Zombies showing up at a wedding may be a bad omen.

This year's walk drew considerably more participants than last year and a welcome influx of children taking part in the walk. Most of the costumes were incredibly creative. Even when walkers wore costumes that were fairly basic (some blood on a shirt), our Hamilton Horde of zombie walkers was never short on spirit. People snarled and growled and contorted themselves into zombies of all walks of (un)life. One walker in particular pierced the afternoon with a wretched scream so much like the scream of the Hunters in Left 4 Dead that I started to have nervous Left 4 Dead flashbacks.

Below are some of the photos I managed to take during the walk. For more amazing photos, check out the Hamilton Zombie Walk Facebook group.

(click thumbs for enlarged pics)

CONTINUE TO PART TWO for coverage of the Zombie Marketplace and screening of AUTUMN