The bright side of 2021 is that we're all a little better prepared for a zombie apocalypse. We’ve been paranoid about the symptoms of a disease that's easily spread, and anxiously watched for warning signs. We’ve all (or at least some of us) quarantined to prevent further infections. Empty streets and protective measures aren’t just the imaginings of a zombie-inspired apocalyptic event but the daily reality of COVID-19 that we faced over the past year.
Zombie movies have been a popular horror subgenre for decades, first gaining acclaim with George Romero’s 1968 masterpiece Night of the Living Dead, a bare-bones survival story that doubled as an allegory for Cold War politics and race relations. Romero continued to bring his critical social commentary to the film’s sequels, with 1978’s Dawn of the Dead examining consumerism and 1985’s Day of the Dead exploring militarism.
Zombie media, however, only spiked in the coming decades with Danny Boyle’s hyper-realistic 28 Days Later and Edgar Wright’s self-aware satire Shaun of the Dead both proving to be innovations within the genre. However, zombie films have seen a decline in recent years, and for two obvious reasons. First, The Walking Dead remains dominant and covers the nuances of the genre so extensively that it’s hard for other stories to provide a new take. Second, cheaply made films dilute the genre, and it can be hard to distinguish between charming low-budget films and the garbage cinema headed straight to DVD or online video services.
Zombie fans are hoping this year will change that; not only is Romero’s long-lost passion project Amusement Park finally being released this summer, but controversial filmmaker Zack Snyder (who also directed the surprisingly enjoyable 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead) recently debuted his two-and-a-half hour zombie epic Army of the Dead on Netflix.
In a post-pandemic world, will zombie movies end up being a strange sort of comfort food? We’re not entirely sure, but the last year has given us all the preparation we need to survive any impending zombie apocalypse headed our way. Here are some Dallas locations we’d use to our advantage if the undead do finally emerge.
A mall hideout worked out well enough in Dawn of the Dead. Would there be any demon-slaying devices hidden at Wetzel’s Pretzels?
The Six Floor Museum
C’mon, JFK-era zombies? How has Hollywood not transformed the most famous assassination in history into a cheap zombie flick?
Immersive Van Gogh Experience
Vincent Van Gogh did in fact cut off his own ear, so maybe the upcoming immersive exhibition will offer some clues on where to inflict maximum damage on a squadron of corpses.
Six Flag’s Mini Mine Train
Speedy World War Z-esque zombies scaling the side of the Titan or the Texas Giant could be terrifying, so we reckon if we’re going to hide out at the Arlington amusement park, we’ll stick to the family-friendly area.
The Fort Worth Stockyards
If all the undead need is flesh to survive, does it have to be human flesh? We might have a few other options to distract them.
The Dallas QAnon Convention
We’d imagine that the living dead would seem charming in comparison.
If Shaun of the Dead taught us anything, it’s that if you’re facing an inevitable zombie invasion, you might as well camp out somewhere you enjoy. Bars might deplete our resources quickly, so how about the best damn taco place in the city?
AT&T Performing Arts Center
Zombies can’t get us if they can’t find parking.
Addison Improv Comedy Club
We might as well just make a night of it.
Austin bonus: The State Capitol Building
If you're in Austin during a zombie takeover, there's only one choice for shelter. I mean, it’s not like Gov. Greg Abbott would do anything about it. Who else has better experience at being the “stock moronic government figure in a pandemic movie”?
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.