Zombie phenomenon is alive and well in the Poconos
Welcome to the Poconos, or Zombietown, U.S.A.
The area suddenly has become awash with zombie-related Halloween-time activities, with zombie walks, races and movie premieres all lined up for the Poconos weekend.
Mark Berryman, 42, a zombie fanatic from Stroudsburg, said he expected the recent popularity of zombies to crest by now.Zombies have become a pop culture phenomenon in the last five years, invading movies, television and video games.
Lucky for him, it hasn't, and he doesn't think it will anytime soon. He's a producer on the movie "Holiday of the Dead," a locally shot zombie movie that will premiere at the Sherman Theater at 7 p.m. today.
It's preceded by the theater's second annual "zombie walk," where zombie enthusiasts put on their best zombie garb and invade the route to the theater and comes one night after a zombie crawl at East Stroudsburg University which benefits Habitat for Humanity on Friday.
Last weekend, Split Rock Resort in Lake Harmony held its own zombie walk and costume contest.
"Part of (the popularity) is because it's become a friendly way to talk about survivalism," Berryman said. "There are online forums, meet-ups, and a lot of it is just a thinly veiled way to talk about how you'll survive the zombie apocalypse. What kind of weapons you'll have, what food you'll eat, and what your ability is to do this, that and the other thing."
Andrea Simmons of Matamoras has been a zombie fan since she saw the zombie flick remake "Dawn of the Dead" in 2004.
She's become such a fan she wanted to run in the touring 5K zombie race, "Run for Your Life" — but the closest stop is in Pittsburgh.
So instead of packing up for a six-hour, one-way trip, she decided just to make her own, and now the Matamoras Apocalypse Run will bring together zombie fans and runners in eastern Pike County.
More than 50 zombies are expected to line the natural obstacle course Sunday at the Matamoras Airport Park with about 200 people expected to enter the race.
The zombies will chase the racers through the course, but there is a no-touching policy, Simmons said.
In its first year, it has one major difference than all the other adventure races in the Poconos this year: It's free.
Simmons said the zombie phenomenon picked up because of the inherent fear factor that a zombie apocalypse actually could happen.
When you add it to all the recent media concentration — the wildly popular "Resident Evil" video games and movies, a spike in zombie movies and "The Walking Dead," cable television's most popular show — it seems even more real.
The attention may have escalated since there have been popular, feared end-of-the-world events since the Y2K scare in 1999.
"And it brings together the conspiracy theorists too," she said. "Are zombies the work of government testing? How did they get here?"
I dunno, I just love zombies.