Nation’s zombie craze brings dead to life - KMSP-TV

Nation’s zombie craze brings dead to life

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

They invade the silver screen, your TV, and now even the screen of your smartphone. It seems the whole world is zombie crazy.  What's up with all this walking dead worship?

Bridgette and Jess fish know.  "Zombie Walk" in Tampa is their creation.

"There's like 4,000 zombies screaming, growling, drooling blood and scaring the normals," Jesse said.

They help make the living dead chic and normal.

"It's kind of making people a little bit more open to something different," Bridgette said.

Their "Deadite Empire" is Tampa's first zombie social club.

Like the zombie virus, we don't care if you are black, white, gay, straight or Republican. We just want you for your brains," Jesse said.

"It does give you a slight empowering feeling because people are a little taken aback by it, but now, with the zombie craze being so big, there's not as many looks as a few years ago," Bridgette said.

Zombie fascination first took off in 1968 fueled by the film, "Night of the Living Dead." Then the 80's brought gore and camp. Now, movies are even bringing us full circle from the dead's point of view.

"That was just more cheap thrills.  We're going to just give you guys what you want.  Let's eat some brains and kill people in the 80s," said film critic Joe Belcastro.

"Right now, we're definitely at the peak, and it's going to last a few more years," he continued.

So why do people keep tuning in to the dead decade after decade?

"It boils down to they provide a provocative thought in how you can change things just in your everyday life.  It really does, as crazy as it sounds, I think that's why people latch on to it," he said.

No crazier than the reasoning from the Zombie Research Society.  Yes, such a thing exists.

"It's estimated that in a catastrophic zombie outbreak only 1 percent of the population will survive and we strive to be that 1 percent," said member Mark Mogk.

He is among the Society's group of Harvard scholars, film fans and neuroscientists.

"We try to take this unrealized threat of a zombie threat and apply it to different areas.  What would the government response be?  What would the infection rate be? What would local governments do? What would individuals do," Mogk said.

After all, if movies taught us anything, it's you can't keep the dead down.

"It's cyclical.  They're going to come back," Belcastro said.

Florida has several upcoming zombie walks, including the Spooky Empire in Orlando this May: www.spookyempire.com. Another is the cannonball-run-style race to Daytona Beach this spring: http://whoisdurdan.com.

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