Zombie School is Now in Session
Businesspersons are experts at combining personal interests or skills with the creation of a new endeavor. Anywhere in the world, some of the most unusual schools can be found — magic schools, colleges where there are no rules (which means, of course, no tests, homework or grades), online courses that teach you how to play cards, and even zombie schools. The right to education is a basic human right, but it is a basic zombie right, too!
Many may be concerned about surviving a zombie apocalypse, but there are just as many wanting to be zombies. Zombie Walks have been spawned in many cities worldwide. For example, the New Jersey Zombie Walk has nearly tripled since its inception in 2008. And there are Walking Dead Day celebrations worldwide that TWD fans will have marked (in blood?) on their calendars.
TWD fans embrace their “inner zombie” and aspire to be zombie extras. Not just anyone can be a zombie on The Walking Dead show. Special effects guru, Greg Nicotero (of Misery fame where James Caan’s ankle is crushed with a sledgehammer; he is also the creator of the failed electrocution scene in The Green Mile) insists that his zombies attend a special zombie school. How do you prepare for acceptance into zombie school?
All you need is to simply have a solid zombie technique to get to the top of the undead class. Get the drunken stagger down and practice some grotesque moves like dragging your foot and having an arm dangle lifelessly.
In a 2012 interview with CNN, Emmy award-winning Nicotero stressed that prospective walkers are graded on look and performance. His preference is for thinner people with a specific kind of bone structure who won’t look too well “filled out” after layers of makeup and prostheses are applied (a zombie shouldn’t look as if he regularly has four-course meals). The whole emaciated look is based on the highly-successful graphic novel. The applicant then has to put on the “performance of his life”.
No costume is complete without some undead blood. The aspiring zombie can make the perfect fake blood from powdered food coloring, soap and corn syrup. Latex, cotton and tissue paper make realistic wounds. TWD will, of course, use state-of-the art foam latex prostheses. Shading the eyes with dark makeup for that sunken eye effect should not be so heavy-handed that it makes you look like a crazed raccoon rather than an awesome zombie.
TWD creates their zombie army by using four bottles of conditioner and ten gallons of “blood,” handled by an assembly line of makeup artists who create 50 zombies per hour. The first artist shadows around the eyes and cheekbones. The next person applies a lighter color to make the bone structure pop. Bloods is spattered on next. TWD goes through 30 gallons of blood every three episodes. Torn nylon stockings soaked in blood and thickened with KY Jelly is glued into wounds to give the appearance of torn flesh, then conditioner is put in the hair. The coup-de-grace? Hand-painted contact lenses that are used to make the eyes look, well, dead.
100-degree temperatures provide the perfect decomposing effect for the skin. You can use the “stretch and stipple” technique for replicating decomposition by putting latex on the skin with a sponge and then stretching the skin tight while drying it with a hairdryer, giving the dermis a wrinkled texture after it has dried.
A phone call from TWD signals your success at zombie training.
You now have the opportunity to stand around in zombie makeup for hours on end for very little pay — and come out on the other side an even more dedicated fan.