all photos: Rachel Eisley
all words: Sadie Dingfelder and Matthew Malamud
I’m not sure if it was the death of Michael Jackson and the related rash of Thriller dance-a-thons , or perhaps we’re all just getting tired of vampires. But whatever the cause, zombies are all the rage.
On Saturday night, in usually placid downtown Silver Spring, Md., hundreds of drunken hipsters and the occasional family swarmed the streets in full zombie get-up. Nurse zombies – their scrubs smeared with blood and guts – chased an ambulance, a Starbucks barista zombie proffered a blood-encrusted (venti size?) coffee cup and a pair of adult kickball zombies booted a decapitated head down the street.
The zombie invasion started at the Quarry House tavern – they apparently serve up brains in addition to beer – and spilled out into neighboring bars. There was a bit of theme confusion as the undead staggered across the street and into the Piratz Tavern, but at least one zombie-pirate bridged the two cultures.
The next destination on the zombies’ agenda was Ellsworth Drive, a commercial complex complete with a cupcake bakery at one end, a multi-screen movie theater at the other and several chain restaurants and retail stores in between – all filled with unsuspecting denizens.
But, as the zombie hoard turned the corner of Georgia Avenue and Ellsworth Drive, they ran into some resistance in the form of bat-wielding zombie hunters. Though the humans fought bravely, the zombies soon overwhelmed them and continued to lurch down the street.
In between posing for photos and stopping for interviews with bloggers and international news reporters, the zombies pretended to wreak havoc. They pounded the glass of such storefronts as Ann Taylor Loft and Living Ruff (a pooch owner’s retail equivalent of a wet dream), trampled on benches and trailed rent-a-cops on their mall security routes.
Not all the humans were kinetimortophobic (or zombie-phobic) – as was evidenced by a few cheering supporters of rights of the undead – one of their signs said “Zombies are people too” – and one enthusiastic tourist who snapped a photo with a zombie who had apparently died right after receiving a doctorate degree.
Amid strategically placed fog machines, the zombies ambled on toward their ultimate goal: a 10 pm showing of Shaun of the Dead at the AFI theater. The groans of several zombies grew more irritable, however, after finding out the show had quickly sold out.
Humans take note: Saturday night’s zombies demonstrated strict adherence to traffic signals and use of the crosswalk. So, if ever chased by a zombie, you’d be wise to lead them into a street intersection if you want to increase your chances of shaking them off your tail.