Despite the name, obviously a clever take on Danny Boyle's apocalyptical 28 Days Later, I hoped would allude to more the idle, classic sloth-like shuffler zombies of the Romero Night Of The Living Dead and Raimi's The Evil Dead profile. That, and they aren't called the 'the walking dead' for giggles, right? Wrong! The producers of the event, SlingShot Effect had no mean feat on their hands. Spanning the UK, since 2010 they have been taking on an array of cities and subjecting the locals to an entertaining site of thrill-seeking loons in a big game of cat and mouse. The simple childlike fear of being tagged 'it' is the essence of this game. Added to this a healthy dose of mouldy improv volunteers, a city as your playground and zombies that gain speed as the game wears on, you have a superb night for all big kids who fancy burning off a little of that trick or treat calorific bounty kept back from the neighbourhood youngsters.
On 2nd November (a belated Halloween), along with four friends, we descended upon London's Isle of Dogs for an evening of scream, scare and titter. Oh, and we were dressed as KISS.
Ever since Sarah Connor looked wistfully into the dusty distance mulling mankind's future, sat alone in her Jeep at the end of Terminator 2: Judgement Day, I've wondered how I'd fare if we were all faced with extinction. Seriously, I have. Now, I'm no gym bunny. I have sugar in my tea and sweet canines the tooth fairy can bank on. But despite the muscle revival from short bursts of action while desperately trying to evade the festering clutches of scrub wearing rotters, I can officially say, that I am going to be useless come the world-shattering pandemic. Bugger. I think I had convinced myself that a conditioned Sarah Connor style icy outlook would be enough. Heck, 'if Shaun (of the Dead) could survive, I surely can', was my inner mantra too. Turns out, when you are cornered in a nine storey carpark with zombies at every slope, stairwell and fire exit, it takes a little more than thinking you're Chuck Norris to get out of such a scrape. So I was fondly termed 'infected' soon in to the game, along with a good percentage of the rest of my team, I might add. But never one to be down hearted (or should that be 'dead hearted'?), all infected got to carry on where they left off, to become the hero of the hour, or, like me, get caught a few more times in a midnight-dark park and a genuinely funny-but-scary underpass or two, before arriving at the 'zombie disco' to drown our sorrows in bonus fake blood and a drink or two.
Bravo. My hat goes off to the organisers. Safety was paramount but handled without marring the silly and fun aim of the night. A lot of the crowd had made an effort by dressing up in costumes, adding to the spectacle. From Misfits to a skulk of foxes, we as 70s rockers to The Walking Dead Sheriffs, with a mind easily opened to the spookier side of life, it was a totally unique, invigorating and brilliant experience!
Now, I'm off for a run...