Large Scale Out of Town Retail Shopping Malls of the Living Dead!
Not a very snappy title I know but certainly one that should envoke many happy memories in those
horror fans who have been lucky enough to grow up in the era of truly great cinema and TV.
Its not really in dispute; The Walking Dead brought Zombie fiction to the 21st century masses. The
genre had been undead and kicking since the 1950s in an undergroud, niche kind of way, and during
the late 60s and 70s George A Romero’s incredible Night of the Living Dead franchise converted
millions to the idea that watching unholy armies of the dead take over the planet was a pastime
worth pursuing. Comics…sorry….Graphic Novels, actual novels, TV shows, Podcasts, radio plays and
computer games all followed but the Walking Dead really brought Zombie genre and Zombie events to
Each fictional zombieverse is subtly different. Time lines get confusing real quick! Some zombies run,
others shamble. Some can be killed with fire, some only by a bullet to the brain.
But while the individual details change from platform to platform and writer to writer at least one
thing has become Lore; The Shopping Mall! You can’t create a zombie themed production or zombie event without the inclusion of a zombie shopping malls at some point!
So when did the dead become Mall Rats?
In 1978 Romero’s ‘Dawn of The Dead’ reached the big screen took us shopping!
Night of the living Dead (1968) had set the scene - Bodies returning to life hell bent on chewing bits
off the living! Redneck Armies prowled the continental U.S. hunting them down on the back of pick up
trucks! The end of the movie (although tragic in many ways) left the viewer with a sense of hope, that
humanity had defeated the enemy and the good old boys had saved the day!
10 years later we learned how wrong we were….
With no definite chain of events documented, and no real explanation at all, Dawn of the Dead
showed us a defeated humanity. At the beginning of the movie society finally falls to the hoard. A
helicopter pilot and his girl friend team up with a couple of SWAT guys and take to the skies, leaving
the hustle and bustle of the city in an attempt to find a safe place in the country. They don’t get far
however and decide to take refuge in an out of town Shopping Mall.
Everything goes pretty well at first and it actually looks fun for a bit but then a motorcycle gang turns
up and spoils everything…..
Anyway, this may have been the first infected retail outlet but it sure wasn’t the last! Pretty much every writer of the genre has taken their hoard to the Mall!
So what is it that makes the big out of town shopping centre destination number one for the undead?
I’ll tell you…
“This was an important place in their lives” (Stephen - Dawn of the Dead 1978)
Firstly, from a survival perspective, its the ultimate example of risk versus reward. In any survival
situation you need to weigh up what you will gain and what you might gain against what it will cost you and what it might cost you. If your lost in the desert, dying of thirst and you find a muddy puddle along a camel trail you have a difficult decision to make! The Shopping Mall is another example. Think about your local out of town Mall. Think Trafford Centre, Blue Water, Medowhall . Think of all the stores that you’ve seen in there.
Think about near unlimited resources for you and your group of comrades. Think of locking doors and secure space, of food and entertainment. It all seems too good to be true doesn’t it.
Then think of the people, the hoards of consumer zombies that were already shuffling around staring into their iPhones. Think of the hidden corners and corridors that an infected security guard might be lurking within. Think of the other survivors wanting to take it from you. Is it really worth the risk?
Secondly, Shopping Centres and Malls reflect us. They are where we go to buy things that define us as a species. We rarely go for essentials and we never really need to go…but we do go. We get a bonus from work so we spend it at the Mall. We need a gift for a distant relative so we go to the Mall. We book Holidays at the Mall. We get bored, we go to the Mall. We take our life of privilege for grated at the Mall. Most of us have become Mall rats in one way or another at some time in our shallow and vapid existences. Writers know this so they send us back to the Mall….over and over again.
We asked for the Stores, the flashing lights and the pre-packaged, processed food. We lined up to pay
for things we just didn’t need and really couldn’t afford so the authors send us back where we deserve to be…
As a survivor or as a walking corpse we end up back in the Zombie Shopping Mall, if only for a while. We go
there to pay homage to what we have become. Most of us stay and rot, walking the aisles, no longer
interested in Buy One Get One Free or 50% Off and some of us survive for a while. One thing is clear
from all the movies, TV shows and literature; Shopping Malls are not safe!
Zombie Shopping Mall Experience is Full on Fun!
The third and final reason that shopping malls feature so heavily on Zombie fiction and in Zombie
experiences is this….They are great fun. Should you go to a shopping mall in the event of the zombie
apocalypse - No. Would I go to a shopping Mall during a Zombie apocalypse - Hell Yeah!
If and when the shit hits the fan I’ll be the first out looting the stores, and not the discount ones
either. I’ll be fighting the hoard in the finest designer gear, I’ll be King of the food court bejewled with
bling. I’ll be raiding camping stores and gadget shops and probably trying to fortify a Greggs against
the advances of what is just another breed of mindless consumers.
Perhaps the best way to prepare for the imminent apocalypse is to attend a Zombie Event. The
zombie shopping mall event in Reading & Milton Keynes was a huge success but alas has long gone. Don’t worry though Zombie Infection have got your back!
With 7 separate chapters, special events and a new Zombie Training Academy Zombie Infection will prepare
you for every eventuality! Whether you find yourself in a research facility, prison, tower block or even
in Sherwood forest, what you will learn from ZI events will make sure you’re ahead of the game and in
the best possible position to survive and thrive!