Daniel Ewald says he's ready when and if
ever take over.
His Hampden home is
fitted with solar panels to provide power in case he needs to be locked away. His partner is a former Eagle Scout with survival skills galore. And the two have honed their "Zombie Apocalypse" training with video games such as "Zombies Ate My Neighbors," "Dead Island" and the "Resident Evil" series.
"We could survive the first wave," the 28-year-old said with a chuckle.
Should the zombie apocalypse strike, self-described zombiephiles such as Ewald are ready. Well, sort of.
"Zombies, they might happen," Ewald said. "Vampires, werewolves, they ain't going to happen. There is a lot more suspension of disbelief. But zombies could happen."
Be warned: Zombie mania, which has been rising dramatically in recent years, may be reaching uncontrollable proportions.
The stage has been set: AMC's
the end-of-the-world zombie drama, has been a hit among viewers and critics alike. Video game makers annually churn out new zombie-related titles. In October, the second annual Run for Your Lives 5K zombie obstacle race will take place in Darlington; last year, more than 10,000 participants and spectators attended. The Zombies Run! app motivates runners by syncing a zombie pursuit scenario to their workout
In recent weeks, a spate of apparent real-life, flesh-eating attacks in the U.S. prompted the
to assure the
that the "CDC does not know of a
or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms)."
Yet, it seems, they keep coming.
A cast of zombies last week boarded a new roller coaster at
America in Bowie to unveil Apocalypse — The Last Stand, the park's first new coaster in more than a decade.
is set to rewrite "Zombies vs. Gladiators," an action-
flick about a gladiator who must stop zombies in ancient Rome.
recently reported that
will release zombie-themed games when it sells its new console this holiday season.
Arnold Blumberg, co-author of the 2006 book "Zombiemania: 80 Movies to Die For," isn't surprised at society's recent fascination with zombies, which he considers one of the youngest and greatest modern-day monsters.
"It is inevitable with the economy, tensions, people overseas fighting wars — a pop culture icon like this can give you a way to filter those fears out of your system," the University of Maryland
Blumberg says the zombie first surfaced in the 1929 book "The Magic Island" by William Seabrook. In that book, zombies had a close tie to voodoo.
eventually evolved into its current reanimated cannibal version in
's 1968 movie "Night Of The Living Dead." Movies such as
in 1978 and "Return of the Living Dead" in 1985 fine-tuned the characteristics and scenarios that we now associate with the monster.
"There has never been a figure that has reflected all the fears we have as the zombie," Blumberg said. "It is the closest type of monster to us. They are us and we are them. The zombie comes down to some form of being a human being."
He added: "The zombie popularity isn't going anywhere soon. Right now we are living in a time when we are so inundated with fear, we need that figure to help us get through."
Six Flags is hoping that zombie fandom will draw people to its newest roller coaster, Apocalypse — The Last Stand. The standing coaster reaches speeds of up to 55 miles per hour while corkscrewing and ripping through 2,900 feet of track. The entire experience, which includes a 100-foot drop, lasts two minutes.
"We wanted to add some new and exciting capital to this park," said Linda Jensen, director of sales and marketing for the amusement park. "We wanted to link up to the beginning of the park and the end of the world."
The ground underneath the coaster is sprinkled with scenes from a zombie apocalypse. An abandoned truck, a crashed airplane, broken glass and other debris reinforce the zombie factor.
"The image of the end of the world has been played up," Jensen said. "The zombie tie-in seemed like a fun way to do it. We've already had some great responses. The guests are very excited."
But zombies don't always have to be about bone-tingling fear.
Movies such as
have all tapped into the funnier side of the genre. There is even talk of making "Zombieland" a television series.
Tina Henry, a Washington resident, has built a "zombie empire" on pairing the macabre with humor.
The former Web editor quit her job in 2005 to launch tinaseamonster.com, a site where she sells her own bookmarks, greeting cards, magnets, T-shirts and other products decorated with humorous images of zombies.
Her Obama-versus-zombie design made national news. Her zombie bookmarks are sold by the thousands. And fans eagerly await her famous zombie-themed holiday cards.
"It's a masculine monster. It's not a monster that has been feminized by bad women's fiction. It is an easy way to deal with death," she said. "And it's fun to put them in these silly situations."