The Zombie Rights Campaign Blog

The Dark Carnival 2012

The Zombie Rights Campaign has sadly attended its last Dark Carnival Film Festival in Bloomington, Indiana, this year, as the 2012 edition was the last that will be hosted in that fair city.

We’ve been going to these things for a long time, even before the Zombie Rights Campaign started its bold mission to protect the rights of the Differently Animated. It’s been a great time and very informative, and from a Zombie Rights perspective, the Dark Carnival was special.

The ZRC saw more unique, thought-provoking, and sometimes surprisingly sympathetic portrayals of Zombies at the Dark Carnival than anywhere else. From an audience perspective, this didn’t seem to be because the Dark Carnival was editorializing in favor of the Undead (much as we might appreciate that), but rather because of all the film festivals we’ve ever attended, The Dark Carnival presented the widest variety, the most interesting and innovative films.

And they stayed ahead of the curve too. By going to The Dark Carnival we could observe trends in films about Zombies; if Anti-Zombie movies were big at the DC in fall of a given year, then NEXT year you’d see a ton of films like that. The same went for more nuanced or Zombie Friendly stories. Our annual trip to Bloomington was a fantastic barometer of the difficulty of the year ahead for the Campaign.

We saw so many important Zombie films at The Dark Carnival: ‘A Break in the Monotony’, ‘George’s Intervention’, ‘Dead Friends’, ‘Fitness Class Zombie’, ‘W.O.R.M.’ (later compiled into the anthology ’3 Slices of Life’), ‘A Chance in Hell’, ‘The Loving Dead’, among others.

This year was no different, although there were few overtly Zombie movies on the schedule in 2012. We saw:

This short film from Austria may be about the Undead, or it might not, but assuming Zombie involvement it could provide a thought-provoking take on the issue of Undead child labor.

A grim short about the pursuit of survival at any costs via mad science, ‘Other’ gives us valuable insight into the mad scientific impulse, which of course has led to the creation of many Zombies in the past (which we generally support) and their subsequent mistreatment and/or abandonment (which we oppose).

Mother Died
Will be discussed in a separate review to avoid spoilers, but the ZRC has things to say about this one, oh yes.

The Weight of Emptiness
A terrifying, haunting and beautiful film about a mother and her struggle to raise a very Differently Animated (though non-Zombie) son. Definitely has teaching potential to improve awareness of parenting issues for all Differently Animated kids, Living or Undead.

And of course we saw ‘found.’ for the second time, and it will get a full ZRC treatment (with special emphasis on what it has to say about Zombie movies) in an upcoming post.

As great (and informative!) as the film-going experience was, The Dark Carnival wasn’t just movies. It had live entertainment, circus acts, stand-up, monstrous horror hosts, costume contests, theater performances and more over the years.

A sample from 2012, in pictures and video:




We’re going to miss our annual trips to Bloomington. The Zombie Rights Campaign learned a lot, picketed a lot, and always, always had a great time.

Here’s to you, Dark Carnival.

About The Author

The role of 'Administrator' will be played tonight by John Sears, currently serving as President of The Zombie Rights Campaign.


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