The Zombie Rights Campaign Blog

The Zombie Rights Campaign at The Dark Carnival 2009!

First, please accept the ZRC’s sincerest apologies on the lateness of these updates. A lot of work piled up here in Madison while we were away, and sadly, some of it had to be dealt with before we could supply you with the Zombie content you crave.

Absolutely ENORMOUS and wonderful post behind this cut:

Well, as the regular readers will recall, The Zombie Rights Campaign sent two representatives to The Dark Carnival Film Festival in Bloomington to spread awareness of Undead Rights and, where necessary, apply peaceful direct action to counter negative Anti-Zombie stereotypes.

These representatives arrived in Bloomington late Wednesday night, in time to attend one of the DC’s live theatrical events entitled Bloomington After Midnight. This was a modern take on the classic Grand Guignol concept, a mixture of live performance and film with audience interaction and blood. Sadly, it didn’t feature the undead in any meaningful way, so there’s not much to comment upon for the ZRC.

Thursday night, however, was the big show for the ZRC. Thursday was The Dark Carnival’s official opener, a free screening of Night of the Living Dead on IU’s campus in Dunn Meadow, which coincidentally is the designated protest area the University sets up for people to register their disapproval of… almost everything. In addition to the inflatable screen for showing the movie, the DC arranged a variety of entertainers, from costumed hosts to a fire/knife/anything dangerous juggler. It was, dare I say it, a real carnival atmosphere.


The situation was ripe for a little peaceful protest by ZRC representative and Technical Director Jenny Rowland.


The ZRC made a variety of picket signs and brought supplies, including free samples of our ZRC Zombie Equality stickers (high quality vinyl stickers, coming soon to the ZRC Store). We set up a picket line at the street entrance to the West side of Dunn Meadow, and started our protest.


night_protestsOn the left, Basement Boy confronting a group of Zombie protestors on the right. A Dagon-worshipping host is in the way of my shot.


It went exceptionally well! We got a great response from passersby, friendly honks, cheers, and yes, the occasional hooting and catcall. A local gathering of Zombies joined in to swell our numbers, helping us to generate quite a response.

Overall the local population demonstrated a remarkable openness to the concept of Zombie Rights. There was some resistance from long-time fans, and even some of the hosts (we’re looking at you Basement Boy), to our positive Zombie message, but we want to extend a special thanks to David Pruett, the head honcho of The Dark Carnival, for facilitating our protest on the grounds of his film festival. Mr. Pruett is a true friend to Zombie Rights everywhere.

Below are some photos of our protest. I apologize for the relative quality, it was a borrowed camera and I was unfamiliar with the settings.

This cheerful fellow might look scary, but was a perfect gentleman.


This adorable little girl really wanted to be a Zombie, so for the evening she had some makeup applied by a local Zombie ally. For once, a positive use of ‘greenface’!


screen_night_of_living_deadThe screen for the night’s showing


hosts_night_ofThe horror hosts sharing the gift of fire.


After the showing of Night of the Living Lifeist Stereotypes, we adjourned for an after-movie party at local coffeehouse Rachel’s Cafe. We even had a Zombie Celebrity drop by to promote his cleaning products.




Friday was the first day of screenings, a pair of films at Bloomington’s newest bar/screening venue The Bishop, which has risen from the ashes of The Cinemat of old. They were showing two films Friday evening, The Tower, which was a Silent Hill style meditation on insanity and the paranormal.. and George’s Intervention.

George’s Intervention was one of the films we came to Bloomington specifically to see. A full review will be posted here at a later time, but the short synopsis is that this film concerns a world where Zombies are accepted members of society… only some of them have a slight problem with addiction. Addiction to human flesh.

Now, the ZRC won’t deny human flesh is delicious. We cannot, however, condone the involuntary consumption of delicious humans. (More on a ZRC initiative to faciliate donating flesh to hungry zombies later)

George, the titular zombie, has a problem with eating people, and his friends have noticed. They decide to do the reasonable thing, rather than reaching immediately for torches and shotguns: they stage an intervention.

The movie deals with this very serious topic as a comedy, and the ZRC will admit to finding the movie quite funny at times. The film does, however, present a somewhat biased view of the nature of Zombie flesh addiction, implying that the problem is rather more widespread and intractable than in reality. Not all Zombies, or even a majority of them, suffer from an unbearable craving for the flesh of the living. In fact, the majority of Zombies have their desire for human flesh completely under control. The movie also doesn’t take the time to explain how nutritious human flesh is, especially for the younger members of the Zombie community. You can’t eat it every day, and it is the responsibility of all Zombies in need of human nutrients to find an ethically derived source of human, but humans are chock full of vitamins, nutrients, and essential amino acids that help to keep Zombies marching forward into the more tolerant future.

In short, humans are a sometimes food!

Still, overall, George’s Intervention deserves a great deal of credit for presenting a Zombie as a likeable protagonist, a main character with some problems, yes, but still basically a good person at heart who is trying to work through his issues. Compared to the rampant lifeism found in a Romero type ‘film’, George’s Intervention is a remarkable breath of fresh air. Perhaps they could have presented a few more facts, indulged in fewer Zombie stereotypes, but… I guess we have to accept baby steps.

Next up the ZRC was privileged to attend the Dark Carnival VIP awards dinner, where we made some significant inroads into achieving greater Zombie Awareness at future Dark Carnivals. We were able to speak with filmmakers and actors about various projects in a fun and casual setting, and overall the ZRC feels some significant progress was made. The ZRC will have some announcements in the future about our plans for participation in next year’s Dark Carnival, where we hope to bring positive Zombie messages to a larger audience than ever before. The world’s first Pro-Zombie film festival may be within our grasp!


clown(Decorations outside the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre in Bloomington, home of the Saturday and Sunday screenings)


stageHosts on stage before a Saturday screening series.


Saturday featured a full day’s slate of films, including a couple of Zombie films. We saw The Loving Dead, a short film about romance in the community of the recently undead. In this film, sadly, new Zombies are lead astray into a life of ravenous flesh eating, but can romance overcome indoctrination? Can two Zombies give up their compulsive flesh-seeking in the name of love?

Again, the ZRC had to give some credit for baby steps here. The Loving Dead was full of anti-Zombie stereotypes, but again, it had considerable sympathy for the Differently Animated. While we can’t officially endorse that short film, we do make note of their attempts at improvement.

Saturday also featured a short Zombie themed music video, Zombie-a-Go-Go. Honestly, the ZRC wasn’t sure what to make of this one. It was sort of a retro sound, think Beach Boys, and the lyrics were about.. partying… during a Zombie apocalypse. Or some such.

Why must popular fiction associate the reanimation of corpses with the end of the world? The ZRC thinks that Zombies are a sign of progress, not ruination.

There were a number of other great films on Saturday, including Sculpture, the latest vehicle for Marv Blauvelt to slaughter bodybuilders (Marv co-wrote the film, and he plays yet another *delightful* individual himself.. you have to see it to believe it)

Other noteworthy works included Thirsty, a fantastic short film about craving not brains, but a delicious cherry Slushy. The pair of Attackazoids films were very interesting, with the second film far surpassing the first, featuring an absolutely hilarious parody of Stalinist propaganda mixed with stop motion science fiction. One of our favorite films didn’t feature any Zombies at all, though it did have some Undead creatures resembling vampires… it was called The Landlord, and was a truly hilarious indie film involving demon-infested real estate. The Landlord is the rare horror comedy that mixes actual horror with actual comedy, and doesn’t scrimp on either. There are times when you’re legitimately afraid, and shortly thereafter you’re rolling with laughter, which is a very rare combination indeed.

Merchandising at The Dark Carnival was a fantastic surprise, with many wonderful pro-Zombie products available for purchase. In particular we obtained an adorable mutant/Zombie urchin poster that the ZRC is very pleased to own and looking to frame and get up on our office wall. poster_for_wall


After our late Saturday night, we sadly had to leave early Sunday, before most of the festival’s screenings. Thusly, the ZRC had to miss a film described in the program as a Bollywood Zombie picture (we’re hoping to make arrangements for a special screening).

All in all The Zombie Rights Campaign came away from The Dark Carnival 2009 with an amazing sense of achievement. Much was accomplished, Zombie Awareness was spread throughout Bloomington, and our protest of Night of the Living Dead went off without a hitch or even an arrest. It was also great fun, and many exciting future plans were formulated. You’ll have to stay tuned for more information on some of these secret projects.

Best regards to all of our readers, and all Zombie Allies in Bloomington who helped make the first major public appearance of The Zombie Rights Campaign a smashing success.

–John J Sears

About The Author

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


One Response to “The Zombie Rights Campaign at The Dark Carnival 2009!”

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