Does your colleague walk at a slow drag, is her body steadily degrading and does she have a hankering for brains instead of biscuits? The likelihood is that you’re sharing an office with a zombie. There must be something going round because we’ve been sending an increasing number of people to train for the zombie apocalypse. Don’t delay: wise up and visit our Spy, Survival & Army Skills page to find our famous frighteners set in bunkers, asylums and tombs across the UK.
The undead have been thrilling and terrifying us for as long as time has been recorded. Today, it remains the horror genre most consistently revisited and added to, its canon gradually evolving. As well as the films, series and books there are zombie fun runs, escape rooms, themed nights, board games, ranges of kids’ dolls and computer games.
Where did it all start?
The word ‘zombie’ is a lonely one, without discernible roots or derivations. Its first recording of English usage is in a history of Brazil published in 1819, where it’s spelled ‘zombi’. Its origin is likely West African, from the Kongo word ‘nzombie’ meaning ‘dead’.
Take on the ‘nzombie’ hordes by way of pragmatic missions and objectives with a Zombie Infection experience. Can you work as a team to make it out uninfected? Choose some wonderfully creepy venues in cities including Liverpool, Birmingham and London.
Zombies in nature
The idea of a body becoming reanimated and driven by a sinister urge is not confined to fiction. The Ophiocordyceps unilateralis fungus makes bona fide zombies out of rainforest ants. In a bid to find optimal growing conditions, its spores hijack a host body – that of an ant – and control its actions. The ant is compelled to leave its habitat, head to a specifically humid environment and then bite down with a ‘death grip’ on a leaf before dying. The fungus is then able to grow out of the ant’s corpse and thrive. This parasitic fungus was discovered by British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace back in 1859. Watching sped-up footage of its modus operandi is deliciously chilling.
And here’s another naturally-occurring zombie: our ambassador Kip. He was transformed into one of the walking dead by a talented Scareface makeup artist, which involved having latex stuck to his face and colour applied to his teeth. To complete the effect, Kip was then taught how to walk and sound like one of the undead army.
Does the sight of Kip’s rotting visage make you want to grab a pitchfork and run in the opposite direction? If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! Become a Zombie for a Day at The London Tombs with this once-in-a-lifetime outing. Undergo a transformation, courtesy of professional special effects makeup artist. Even better, be part of a live show at The London Bridge Experience and Tombs.
Know your zombie
Each new game, show, film or comic adds to the zombie lore. The catalogue of names given to them, or to zombie-like creatures, is steadily growing: Walkers, The Infected, The Undead, White Walkers, Revenants, Empties, Biters, The Reanimated. Romero’s classic Dawn of the Dead, twisted the form into a critique of consumerism while the subtlety and creepiness of French TV series Les Revenants gave us something completely different. 28 Days Later brought the terrifying prospect of infected creatures who could run. Then there are the comedies: The Santa Clarita Diet, Shaun of the Dead and iZombie to name just a few. Other offerings introduced undead animals, like Will Smith’s dog companion in I Am Legend.
Take a grisly gander at this infographic for more details of the zombie’s evolution:
With the zombie apocalypse imminent, this is no time for sofa-slobbing. Whip yourself into shape with a 24 Hour Adult Survival Course with Bear Grylls Survival Academy. Spend a full day and night learning from Bear’s hand-picked experts. By the end, you’ll know how to build a shelter, stalk prey, light fires and create rope harnesses.
Fire-throwers and chainsaws look supremely badass but require power and maintenance. A crossbow is a strong choice: send arrows straight into Biters’ brains and recoup the arrows afterwards for reuse. We all win when we recycle, folks.
With most types of revenant, infection can spread through the mouth. Avoid spray-back of blood, brains or other materials by remembering to wear goggles, or by bringing along a riot shield.
Learn to master different types of weaponry with a Zombie Battle Bunker adventure. Become a deadly demon-dispatcher thanks to airsoft, laser tag and paintball training. Set in an underground bunker in Greenwich, this one’s a hardcore fright fest with large helpings of gore.
Don’t be a sitting duck, waiting for flesh-infatuated flocks to sniff you out. If your current locale isn’t entirely boarded up, high enough for 360-degree surveillance and near to a water source, just grab any supplies you can see and move along. As vehicles go, a car is only a boon until it runs out of fuel, so keep an eye out for fuel-efficient models or, even better, hunt out a bicycle. It fits through tight gaps for an easy getaway and, since you’re its source of power, it’ll keep going as long as you’re replenished.
Good luck, friends. Stay alert.
Continue your training by checking out our Frighteningly Good Zombie Flicks
Infographic courtesy of Eagle Barber Design.