Should you be in downtown Victoria, wandering around Centennial Square on Saturday, Oct. 14, at about 3 p.m., don’t be concerned if you happen to come across some walking dead lurching down the street.
No, it won’t be an indication that a zombie apocalypse has begun.
At least we hope not – it would be hugely coincidental if it was. It’s the date and time of Victoria’s annual Zombie Walk. That’s when people of all ages – folks we assume are otherwise perfectly normal and healthy individuals – choose to dress up in ragged clothing and don gruesome makeup that makes them look, well, dead.
They gather and make their way downtown in what might be described as a rather bloody flash mob.
The event is organized by the Umbrella Corp. West Coast Operations.
During the event, participants dress up like the members of the undead. The whole idea has been around for hundreds of years in one form or another, but has been popularized by a host of zombie movies that started half-a-century ago with films like George A. Romero’s seminal “Night of the Living Dead” (1968), its 1978 sequel “Dawn of the Dead,” and a 1985 offering called “Day of the Dead.”
To keep the zombie mania alive, television series like “The Walking Dead” and video games like “Resident Evil” (which is also a movie franchise) continued to seep into popular culture.
And while films and games might explain the origins of the zombie craze, the reasons for the pervading popularity of zombie-themed films and events are a little harder to nail down.
Psychologists and scholars have examined the matter and have linked it to fears about rampant capitalism and the environmental damage it causes, global contagion, and general anxiety about societal collapse and the end of the world.
Of course, it could be that it’s just a lot of fun, particularly as Halloween approaches.
Everyone is welcome to the event, and there is no charge to participate.
Organizers have, however, set up some pretty basic rules.
They’ve asked that no fireworks or firecrackers be used, no fake (or, we assume, real) weapons are displayed, and that participants do nothing to impede traffic. They also make clear that participants shouldn’t smear blood (presumably fake blood), on storefronts or any zombie walk observers.
And don’t bite anyone.
Spectators are welcome.