They’re everywhere these days in movies, memes, TV shows, books, fanfic, etc. Crawling, gurgling, scratching, and hungry for flesh. The zombie fixation is very real, considering how much it gets talked about in the media. But how did society’s fascination with these apocalyptic horrors begin? What are zombies and some of its greatest myths, and how has it affected pop culture?

Let’s find out.

“Cause this is thriller, thriller night”

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Michael Jackson Thriller

First recorded in 1819, the English word “zombie” is said to have come from the Kongo words “nzambi” (god) or “zumbi” (fetish) and the Haitian Creole “zonbi”, used to represent a dead person brought to life without speech or free will. Unlike the Haitian rural folklore version of zombies, most modern depictions of zombies do not necessarily involve voodoo magic. Or any other magic, for that matter. In fiction, zombies are most commonly found in the horror genre and are created through the transmission of a virus e.g. infection, zombie plague, etc. And who can forget that time in 1983 when the late “King of Pop” Michael Jackson released a 14-minute music video for “Thriller” which featured zombies in a choreographed dance routine? Mind-blowing.

Zombies eat brains (no, not really)

The Walking Dead Zombie

More often than not, the pop culture version of zombies are depicted eating brains. But if you traced back to its roots aka the source of inspiration for most modern day depictions of zombies, in George A. Romero’s 1968 cinematic masterpiece, “Night of the Living Dead”, zombies don’t actually eat brains. In fact, no brains were eaten in any of the 6 “Of the Dead” films. Romero himself has no idea where the brain-eating idea came from. In 2010, he told Vanity Fair,  “Whenever I sign autographs, they always ask me, “Write ‘Eat Brains’!” I don’t understand what that means. I’ve never had a zombie eat a brain. But it’s become this landmark thing.” One other fan theory is zombies eat brains and guts their human victims because of the high levels of serotonin they contain, therefore alleviating the zombie’s pain.

Dominating the box office

Why, we thought you’d never ask. You’d think that people would be sick of zombies by now after so many decades – nope! The zombie theme has become so versatile that it works across multiple genres. Some of the best (not necessarily scary) films featuring your favourite decomposing, flesh-eating fiends include 1968’s masterpiece “Night of the Living Dead”, 2002’s “28 Days Later”, 2004’s funny-as-heck “Shaun Of The Dead”, 2009’s “Zombieland”, 2013’s “World War Z”, 2013’s zombie-flick-turned-rom-com “Warm Bodies”, and this year’s most talked about South Korean hit, “Train to Busan”. “World War Z” raked in USD540 million, making it one of 2013’s biggest blockbusters while “Warm Bodies”, a story told from a zombie’s perspective, returned a box office of USD117 million.

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In your screens at home

The Walking Dead Zombie

It truly is a great time to be alive for zombie lovers because the surge in popularity of the zombie-themed fad is so intense that it has spilled over into our screens at home. Yup, we’re talking about the zombies that have scratched, crawled, and gnawed their way into our televisions. Some of the best modern TV shows that centre on the zombie theme are such as the multiple award-winning post-apocalyptic series “The Walking Dead” and clever comedy crime drama “iZombie“. Both “The Walking Dead” (currently in its 7th season) and “iZombie” (currently in its 3rd season) based on a comic book series of the same name respectively. “The Walking Dead” is so wildly popular that a companion series and prequel was created in 2015, titled “Fear the Walking Dead”.

Zombies roam free in KL

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True story. After the success of events in 2014 and 2015, the world’s premier thrilling zombie-infested 5KM obstacle course, “Run For Your Lives”, is returning to Kuala Lumpur on 31st December 2016 at Taman Botani Putrajaya, from 6pm to 12am. From its humble beginnings of a single event in Baltimore, US that attracted over 12,000 people, the zombie infection has spread to other cities around the world. Humans will be transformed into zombies just by a simple touch from the infected ones, leading to a rapid spread of the virus; while cities are deteriorating faster due to the destruction caused by the zombies. Anyone can run. But everything changes when you are running for your lives!

Ready to run for your life, either as a Survivor or a Zombie?

Ticket CategoryEntitlementsTicket Price (Early Bird)
SurvivorWrist tag, t-shirt, and medalRM69.00
ZombieWrist tag, t-shirt, medal, and professional makeupRM69.00

Note: A countdown party for New Year’s Eve will be happening after the zombie apocalypse.

Early bird tickets can be purchased here from Friday, 21st October. Use the promo code HYPERFYL10 to receive 10% discount on all tickets (Survivor and Zombie), limited to the first 100 pax.

For more information, visit their Facebook page.

Sources: Today I Found Out, BBC, Vanity Fair, The Walking Dead Wiki, Gizmodo.

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Eats, sleeps, & breathes music, but drinks mostly coffee & okay, some wine - sometimes, a little too much. A little too obsessed with the number seven, is deathly afraid of horror movies, believes that she writes better than she speaks, & currently feeling a little strange writing a profile about herself.