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Is Toronto the Unofficial Zombie Mecca?

Diary of the Dead , the independent film by George Romero, will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on September 8, 2007. I don't usually get excited about movie premieres but as a long time Romero fan this is definitely get-there-early line-up and brave-the-crowds exciting. As far as I know this movie doesn't even have a distribution deal yet, so zombie-lovers here in Toronto are pretty lucky to be able to see it first.

The idea of zombies first originated in Haitian folklore. Witch doctors were said to have the power to create zombies using a special powder. They would then have complete control over the zombie and use them as slaves. Since then the idea of zombies has morphed - partly due to Romero's classic1968 film Night of the Living Dead. Romero's zombies are created by an infection that has spread quickly leaving only a few survivors who must fend for themselves. (This is very much like the situation in Richard Matheson's I am Legend, to the extent that some people consider that book part of the zombie genre even though it is about vampires. Go figure.) Today's zombies are cannibals who prefer brain but will eat any part of you. They are only dangerous in large numbers - and can be easily outwitted. They used to always be slow and unable to think but there is a disturbing new trend towards quicker smarter zombies. Its interesting that they have been around long enough to evolve.

Zombies seem to be very popular right now. From Filipino prisoners recreating Thriller to organized walks - zombies are turning up everywhere. Zombie walks are much like flash mobs where groups of people dress up like zombies and stumble through streets and malls. The idea originated in Toronto in October 2003 and has since spread to many major cities across Canada and the U.S. Some walks are tied in with causes like blood donations or anti-shopping days but most are just for fun and coincide with screenings of zombie films. According to Sarah at the blog unknowntoronto the last Toronto sighting of zombies was at the premiere of Fido back in March 2007.

Another indication zombies are hot stuff right now, is the number of zombie movies that have been made recently. This year alone we have had:
  1. 28 Weeks Later, the sequel to 28 Days Later (which was written by Alex Garland) where all the zombies move like they are on speed.

  2. Fido - a dark comedy where thanks to a special collar zombies help out around the house. This movie goes back to the idea of zombies as slave.

  3. Resident Evil: Extinction

  4. Day of the Dead - the remake. Made as an homage to the original.

  5. Diamond Dead

  6. Planet Terror, Robert Rodriguez's contribution to the double feature, Grindhouse, is a straight up zombie movie.

  7. Flight of the Living Dead: Outbreak on a Plane (awaiting wide release) - think Snakes on a Plane crossed with Day of the Dead. Beware, these zombies also move quickly.

As I write this I wonder why I like zombies so much. Maybe its because they bring about a complete breakdown of society or maybe they create the perfect anti-hero or maybe it has to do with their brain eating cannibalism. There are many reasons but mostly I'd like to think that in the event of an all out zombie outbreak, I would be well prepared. I can't be the only one who feels this, there is actually a book titled The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks that has been on the best-seller list. All this begs the question: Is it just me, or is it just Toronto or is the whole world infected with zombie fever?

Comments (6)

I think its true that Toronto has always had some sort of affinity for Zombies. You see Zombie stuff everywhere.

The last zombie walk was great. I was volunteering at Toronto After Dark (where the premiere of Fido took place) when suddenly a swarm of zombies flooded the theatre. Some of them even stayed in character as they bought their tickets, which actually made the transactions pretty difficult. haha


Bet there will be zombies showing up for this one - should be fun.

I haven't heard of the zombies on a plane movie... just how would a plot for that work out? Either someone will open the side door and decompress the plane or they'll get to the pilots. I mean... do you think they'll actually land the plane and let zombies out? Is there a trailer?

I found a trailer:

and the website is:

I think they just battle it out on the plane. Pretty good concept - what do you do in THAT situation?

That was utterly ridiculous looking, lol. So many explosions in a pressurized metal tube! And automatic weapons! And explosions!

I think Snakes on a Plane had a little too much of an influence on this. I mean... I'll still probably try to see it but it's a cheese factor of 9.

And that trailer had too many fade in/fade outs, yikes!

yeah, i heard the movie is bad. straight to video bad. but you know sometimes i like my zombie movies to be gory and stupid like a true lo budget b-movie.