Shambling in the Brisbane Zombie Walk

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The 2011 Brisbane Zombie Walk

The modern day obsession with zombies is a fascinating thing. While teenage girls swoon over sparkly vampires and bare chested werewolves, the humble walking dead seem to capture the hearts, minds, and imaginations of people all around the world.

Whether they’re rocking out to Michael Jackson’s Thriller; torn between cheering and grimacing as the walking dead dismember hapless people on TV or the silver screen; or participating in a zombie walk such as the Brisbane Zombie Walk – people have an abiding obsession with the humble ‘rotter’.

While a big part of my Queensland trip was the lure of the sun and surf on beautiful Moreton Island – the timing of the event can be (I’m ashamed to admit) attributed to my desire to participate in a zombie walk. And if I had to lose my zombie walk virginity, why not do it in beautiful Brisbane and participate in one of the biggest walks in the world?

Ever since I missed the 2008 Seoul Zombie Walk, I’ve been kicking myself for not better indulging my obsession with the flesh hungry dead. Dawn of the Dead, 28 Days Later, and Shaun of the Dead are some of my favorite movies and The Walking Dead remains at the very top of my weekly viewing on TV.

Dressed as a zombie for 2008 Halloween
Chocolate syrup and red food dye made up my zombie costume in Korea, 2008

While my 2008 costume might not have been terribly impressive, this time I’d have the talented Temissa on hand to make sure I looked my very best for the walk.

After a thoroughly un-zombie lunch of a vegan burrito washed down with some organic juice, it was time to zombie up. Brisbane had turned on a scorching hot day for the affair, but I shrugged off my shorts and thongs in favor of tattered office-wear and uncomfortable leather shoes. I figured a little sweat wouldn’t stand out amidst a horde of zombies.

After the epic of trying to find a parking space, we ducked down a quiet lane and began to undress. I feel for the poor businessman who saw me strip down to my underwear in preparation. He had the decency to look away.

Then it was time for fake blood to be splashed about, makeup to be applied, and chest hair removing liquid latex to be prepared. While Stuart had a pencil jammed into his neck and I had a pen jutting out of my chest, the girls contented themselves with brutally realistic claw marks.

I would later regret my decision to have liquid latex applied to my very hairy chest. But more about my experiments with waxing in a future entry…

With costumes on and sweat already beginning to trickle down my back, it was time to walk to nearby Wickham Park to join our fellow walkers…

Temissa dabs blood on Stuart
Temissa dabs blood on Stuart
Covered in fake blood and ready to walk
I assume the position for fake blood to be liberally applied.
Temissa, Stuart, and Ailsa all ready to walk
All zombied up and ready to walk

 

Wickham Park in Brisbane packed full of zombies
Wickham Park in Brisbane was choked full of zombies ready to walk

There was a real festival atmosphere at Wickham Park as we approached.

A small dance-floor had been set up and zombies jerked spasmodically in time with the music. Various stalls were set up for people to buy cold drinks and various zombie souvenirs. Children ran about with toy guns shooting at the horde while Umbrella Corp uniform wearing organizers herded everybody into the park where we battled it out for the limited shade.

The array of costumes on display was mind blowing. I’d thought that Temissa’s very good handiwork would have us standing out above all others, but never underestimate the potential of a nerd with free time. Some of the costumes were not only amazingly realistic, but wonderfully imaginative as well.

They ranged from the amusing to the downright disturbing, and you can see the best of them below.

A ghastly zombie bride
Zombie bride! I do!
A baby zombie all tuckered out
Zombaby!!!

 

Hazmat Zombie
One of my favorite costumes. He must have been sweltering.
The zombies leaving Wickham Park
The zombie horde spills out of Wickham Park
Burned zombie
The most realistic costume I saw. This guy went all out.
A zombie eating brains
A rotund zombie chowing down on brains

 

A zombie eating a rat
This guy had a surprisingly realistic rat that he was actually biting. Asians lost their tiny minds.
Stuart sports a pencil in his head
Stuart sports a pencil in his head

 

Zombie Freddie Mercury and Zombie Marilyn Munroe
Zombie Freddie Mercury and Zombie Marilyn Munroe
Some very green zombies
Some very green zombies
Some cute Asian nurse zombies.
Kimchi! Wait…uh…. BRAAAAIINNNS

I could have spent the entire day just wandering around the crowded park and snapping photos. The level of effort that must have gone into some of the costumes was astounding.

The abundance of amply chested goth girls certainly made that option quite appealing.

But I hadn’t come here for the Brisbane Zombie Meet, I’d come for the Brisbane Zombie Walk.

The walk itself, little more than 2k from Wickham Park to another park in Fortitude Valley, was followed by a second walk.

The Asian tourists with cameras walk seemed almost as big as the walk they were following.

I’ve got lots of video of the walk proper that will go up over the next few days, but in the interim enjoy a few more photos of the walk.

A super creepy Ronald McDonald clown
A super creepy Ronald McDonald clown. The stuff of nightmares.
Got brains?
Got brains?
Some gruesome looking zombies
Zombies feasting on what looks like flesh. Impressive!
99% of the world's brains are consumed by 1% of the zombies
99% of the world’s brains are consumed by 1% of the zombies. Love it!
A zombie banana in pajamas
Kids all over Australia would be heartbroken…
A zombie girl stuck in a tarp
A zombie girl stuck in a tarp. One of the more realistic outfits.
Zombie Gonzo
Zombie Gonzo aka Gonzombie!
Zombie Sponge Bob
They even got Sponge Bob!
A zombie sailor with his dead baby
A zombie sailor with his dead baby. Creepy.

Our walk was dogged at all turns by a horde of photographers. The favorite passtime of the walkers seemed to be making pretty Asian girls scream, and it wasn’t a hard feat at all. Chainsaw wielding, loud screaming, and menacing rushes were all favorite tools of would-be nightmare inducers.

The Brisbane Zombie Walk is not just for for those participating. The huge crowd of onlookers certainly got a show.

Brisbane’s inner city literally came to a stand-still for the affair. Police were on hand to block traffic and ensure zombies were on their best behavior. No (human) brains were consumed and aside from a few bloody smudges on shopfronts, the town went largely unmolested.

A hulking zombie with chains and cleavers
My second favorite costume. My favorite was this man’s very chesty wife, but I couldn’t get a good shot of her.
A creepy zombie girl
Creepy eyes! This girl was really popular with Asian tourists.
A Nazi and his zombie ally
Loved these costumes! A Nazi walking his pet zombie/former ally.

The walk came to its end in another (nameless) park where we all gathered to take photos, exchange costume compliments and pose for tourists and sightseers.

While many of my fellow deaders would kick on to pubs in Fortitude Valley for post walk beers, I had a dinner date with a good friend and her husband and instead made a beeline back to my hostel to scrub off, discard my ruined clothes, and get some shut-eye before dinner. It was a fun, slightly exhausting, and very intriguing day.

Want to Walk?

The Brisbane Zombie Walk is the largest in the world and boasts 15,000 participants. Not only is it a huge social event every year, but the walk also raises money for (fittingly) the Brain Foundation of Australia and drew over $24,000 from sponsorship and donations in 2011.

Registration for the next edition of the Brisbane Zombie Walk won’t open up until June, but there are Zombie Walks in other cities as well.

These walks aren’t just a lot of fun and a great chance to try your hand at gruesome makeup, but they’re also about raising money for the Brain Foundation of Australia.

It’s a great cause and a hell of a lot of fun. So get out and get involved next time the horde rolls through your town. I’ve already put in my registration for the 2012 walk here in Sydney.

Zombie Chris
To violence against brains, Zombie Chris says ‘No’
  • Guest

    Don’t be angry with me, but this is the first post of yours, (rather should be said photos) I don’t like. I don’t understand this kind of entertainment, I find it to be too morbid. It isn’t just my cup of tea. I don’t want to judge you or the undeath brothers of yours, it is just my point of wiew, sorry…

    • CWBush

      No need to apologise at all! I’m not going to please 100% of people 100% of the time, haha

      It’s certainly not for everybody, but it’s a huge cultural phenomenon in the western world at the moment. If it’s any consolation, the whole zombie fascination seems to be building to a point where it’s over-saturated. I can’t imagine it will remain as popular as it is now for long.

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  • Tracey

    Live in Brisbane and never knew about this…..thanks for the bloody heads up
    http://www.oz-factor.com

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  • I love the zombaby!

    • Hehe, isn’t it cute??

      There were a few out on the day. Fun for all ages haha

  • Wow, this looks like an awesome time!!!  I just got into watching the Walking Dead, zombie fever baby!

    • Oh man, you’re in for a treat. The Walking Dead is amazing.

      World War Z is a must read too.

  • Wow great photos, some amazing costumes. I recently made a calendar stuff up and missed the Montreal  zombie walk which I had been looking forward to. Brisbane one day. I’ll be following your journeys.

  • Always thought you Aussies were brainless, so that’s qwhat happened to them…you’ve eaten them.
    Hey, we got to get zombie walks going over here in NZ!

  • Flipnomad

    love the pics!!!! awesome zombie parade.. wished some people dressed up as some plants (plants vs zombies thing)

    • I’m surprised to say I didn’t see any references to the game. Lots of other memes and pop culture were on display.

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