The Concordian has caught zombie fever

Of all the ways the world could end, a zombie takeover is low on the list of probabilities. Natural disasters, global warming and nuclear destruction, all seem far more likely possibilities.

However, popular culture in the last few years seems especially taken with the notion of a zombie apocalypse; which is why, in light of the popular annual Zombie Walk, The Concordian thought we would take this opportunity to explore the many ways the theme of the undead can be presented.

We looked at how zombies have become a trend in popular culture, including films, movies and television shows, as well as how the idea of death and the macabre has become prominent in music. We created our own zombie band and explored our own zombie narratives through poetry and fiction.

Members of The Concordian attended the Zombie Walk and recorded their experience as photographers and participants.

Finally, we assembled a creative list of places that people of Montreal can go to in case of a zombie invasion.

While we explored a myriad of topics related to zombies, we neglected one key subject: the zombie culture at Concordia.

Slack-jawed students hunch over textbooks; eyes glazed, students sit in front of computers or their television sets; heads drooping, they sit in lecture halls; crookedly they lurch home from bars; hungrily they eye human flesh.

Thousands of people might have costumed themselves to look as though they’d returned from the dead on Saturday, but if we look closely at ourselves, our habits often closely resemble those attributed to the undead of television, film and literature.

All of us are alive, biologically speaking, and yet many of us lumber through life as though we were powered solely by some supernatural force that kept our limbs moving but our hearts still.

As students we are overwhelmed with work, especially around midterms, which often leaves us listless (as outlined above). However, it doesn’t have to be this way. In any zombie conception there are always those who resist. We students must resist becoming zombies as a result of our school work. We are not dead yet, so let’s not act like it.

We hope that this issue will allow you to look at different ways zombie-ism manifests itself in our culture as well as awaken you to your own zombie-ness.


Student Life

Annual zombie apocalypse overruns Montreal

Photo by Keith Race

It started, as most zombie apocalypses do, on the metro.

A dead stare here, some ragged clothes there, some blood dribbling down the little boy’s chin in the corner. Fortunately for the living the transiting zombies weren’t a sign of end times; just the Roussel family heading to the Montreal Zombie Walk at Place Des Festivals on Saturday.

The Montreal Zombie Walk is an organized public gathering where participants walk around dressed as zombies. The first official “zombie walk” happened in October 2003 in Toronto. After an exponential gain in popularity for zombies during the mid-to-late 2000s, zombie walks began to emerge around the world. Montreal finally decided to host it’s own in 2009, drawing in larger and scarier crowds each coming year.

Stepping off the Metro and into a crowd of moaning, shrieking and groaning undead was enough to put me on edge, but three-month-old Romy Langevin stared out at the crowd unbothered as her zombie dad tried to eat her brains.

“She just loves to be in the baby carrier,” said Pascal Langevin, fitting the zombie teeth soother back into his daughter’s mouth. Everyone, even kids, are welcomed at the walk.

Another first-time walker was surveying the zombie horde from atop a small hill.

“I can’t wait to send a picture of myself to my daughters in Italy,” said tourist Lory Mondani, gesturing to her zombified face. It goes without saying that dressing up is highly recommended.

Photo by Michelle Gamage

“I am crazier than them, for sure. They would never be so brave to come here and do what I am doing now.” Her daughters would no doubt also be impressed with the level of creativity and dedication some zombies put into their looks, she added. All participants can be “zombified” at the on site make-up tent from noon to 3:00 p.m. at the cost of $15.

Amidst the 1,500-something strong zombie horde just one hero stood tall.

Deputy Rick Grimes rode his horse Spirit through the crowd, unphased by the undead packed close around him.

Always the zombie hunter and never the hunted, Charles Colnet is a three-year veteran of the Montreal Zombie Walk.

“The first time I was a cowboy and then the second, and now the third, time I [am] the sheriff,” said Colnet, adding each year he tries to add new accessories to keep his costume original.

This year the sheriff backpack he built himself was playing the sound of Spirit’s hoofbeats as he galloped off into the crowd, only pausing for quick fan photos along the way.

But he wasn’t the only Walking Dead character around. My favourite costume of the day was Michonne, walking like a badass with her two armless and jawless zombies chained to her side.

Eventually the zombies lurched off in a similar direction as the walk got underway around 3 p.m.

Bothered by the screaming walkers, I decided to head for higher ground after an undead bride started chewing on my hair and muttering how I looked good enough to eat.

But that just meant I had zombies clawing at my ankles and screaming “brains” as they reached up towards me and my camera while I stood on top of a cement pylon.

A guy with an “I’ve-seen-this-all-before” expression walked past with a picket sign that read, “The End Is Nigh,” and surrounded by screeching and twitching undead, I couldn’t help but agree.

The only upside to my imminent doom was seeing Colnet still charging through the crowd and noticing the one guy who dressed up as an elephant to photobomb the zombies waving up at me.


With files by Sabrina Giancioppi


Photos by Keith Race and Michelle Gamage


When zombies attack Concordia

You are sitting in class, waiting for the professor to hand back your assignment: the one you spent hours tweaking with coffee and peppermint tea until someone bangs on the door. You keep your eyes down on your paper and wait for your neighbour to get up. They scream. A zombie’s bit them.

Next thing you know a horde of biters shuffle into the classroom and start attacking peers, chewing their faces off. You slip out the back door and dodge the walkers in the hallway. Hopefully, you aren’t stuck on the tenth floor so you manage to get out of the Hall Building. Now what?

City outbreaks are the worst. Car alarms are blaring. People are running and fending off zombies with their backpacks and trying to climb up on the rooftops, but the staircases around campus are blocked off.

Just keep your head on a swivel. The Walking Dead have their prison; you’ve got The Grey Nuns Residence.

The residence can house over 200 students and is protected by an iron fence. You can use the park to grow your own sprouts and micro-greens year-round, and the desks and chairs and bookcases to arm up and prepare for a zombie ambush. There are even kitchenettes with coffee makers if anyone happens to raid out Tim Hortons on the way.

Fighters, go for the brain. If you can’t fight, bang on the fence to distract the undead.

“Stay tight, hold formation no matter how close the walkers get,” says Rick (S.3 Ep.2). “If anyone breaks ranks, we could all go down.”

Believe it or not, Concordia University has prepared us to survive through a zombie apocalypse. Most of the engineering students, the good ones anyways, will be an asset to the team. How many times do the lights go off when they are most needed? Electrical engineers will keep our residence up and running 24/7. Mechanical engineers are the masters of momentum, energy and heat transfer.

“Do you need a flamethrower? Do you need a machine gun? With their knowledge, mechanical engineers are weapons of destruction,” says Hao Yin, an electrical engineer.

English and History students wouldn’t be entirely useless so long as they have read or seen any zombie-related material. Except Warm Bodies. You’re trying to survive, not fornicate. Unless you stopped by the Queer Concordia office and got some free condoms. Remember kids: zombie apocalypse or no, practice safe sex.

Andrea Sun, former student, says she would burn her books for kindling and dissuade the group from making “fatally cliché mistakes.”

Students can also manage their stress under tight deadlines, and pull all-nighters.

“I’ve learned to expect little-to-no-sleep, so I’d be great for things like night watches,” says Domenica Martinello, creative writing and English literature student.

The exercise science department would know how to treat minor injuries like sprained ankles. Maybe even have the courage to amputate an infected limb. Or you could just go to McGill and get a real doctor.

We will need students from the greenhouse and People’s Potato if you want proper nutrition from our urban garden. Stingers to help fight back the zombie hordes. Psychology and biology students to keep ourselves from losing hope. Even philosophy majors would play a vital role because, let’s face it: zombies need to eat.

Be a hero. Odds are you won’t last very long as a supporting character. Once the area is safe, you can claim your single or double bedroom, and start being suspicious of other survivors who want to be part of ‘the group.’

Those who do not have their student I.D. cards will have to answer these questions:

Have you been bitten?

What is your major?

How many people have you killed?

Student Life

Digging out the undead among us

It’s past midnight. You get off the metro and walk out the door. You encounter a pale-skinned corpse covered in wounds with blood dripping on the floor, dressed in ripped clothing, messy hair and an axe to boot. The poor creature is mumbling, grumbling and walking towards you. You want to freak out, you scream and turn around, but guess what? A mob of possessed nobodies begin to encircle you. Your legs start to shiver, you scramble in fear. You find yourself in a dead end. Where do you go?

And cut! That’s a wrap, folks.

That’s a common scene you find in your average horror film and let’s face it, there seems to be a huge demand lately for our dear friend,

Zomibie Walk- Photo by Mallika Guhan

the zombie. The question is why are they so popular and so beloved?

“Zombies, they’re everywhere,” said Donato Totaro of Concordia’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. Totaro is a part-time film studies professor and editor of the online film journal Offscreen.

He explains that zombies have been around for a while and spanned various waves of popularity.

“Cinematically, zombies go back to the ’30s. The first wave weren’t like the bone eating, bone crunching ones we know now, but more to the voodoo, witchcraft and slavery kinds,” said Totaro.

He explained that zombies trace their roots back to Haitian Creole culture, where people allegedly used witchcraft to possess one’s physical body.

“The dead are brought back alive as slaves. They’re the working class monster, the anti-establishment monster. They’re the allegorical exploitation of the working class,” said Totaro.

The most recent wave, Totaro says, spawned from director George Romero’s horror film, Night of the Living Dead. Released in 1968, the plot centers on a group of people seeking refuge in an abandoned farmhouse from an invasion of dead corpses.

Totaro attributes how director Romero orchestrated this adrenaline-induced fear of getting eaten by a walking corpse as a defining moment for the mass popularity of zombies today.

To further understand this phenomenon, I spent a day immersing myself among thousands of walking corpses— sort of.

Zomibie Walk- Photo by Mallika Guhan

The annual Montreal Zombie Walk was held on October 19th at Place Des Festivals. People strut their creepiest zombie costume outdoors and gather to walk together through the streets of downtown, to the delight of bystanders. 

Walking along with five thousand undead beings was a dream, or in this case, a nightmare come true. Their bodies were caked in chalk-white makeup, faces smeared in cornstarch-diluted red blood.

As I endlessly followed these undead creatures, I bumped into Alex Marotte, a spectator taking photos with his friends. I also discovered that he was a hardcore zombie enthusiast.

“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of zombies. Unlike most children, I didn’t get scared at all … I was so excited about being a zombie. I wanted to eat brains, raw brains,” said Marotte with a laugh.

Marotte credits the ‘80s horror punk band True Sounds of Liberty for his immersion into zombie culture. Ironically, T.S.O.L. music was featured in the 1985 film Return of the Living Dead, a film which was also one of the many spin-offs from director Romero’s Night of the Living Dead.

Zomibie Walk- Photo by Mallika Guhan

He also explained that a good part of ‘80s music was zombie-oriented, from music to album covers and even music videos. Does Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” ring a bell?

So why do people love zombies? Going back to Totaro, he elaborates on this fascination with the walking dead.

“Look how they’re dressed, very poorly, ragged. They’re the stereotype of the working class person,” said Totaro. “[These are the] modern people we can relate to, … not appreciated by the elite, but by the disenfranchised.”

In essence, zombies represent the attack of the masses. They’re the low-class monsters, compared to more socially elite creatures, such as vampires.

“I love the whole thing, like what’s not to love? Everybody’s having a good time getting together with it, all united in death. It just blows me away,” said Marotte.



Photos by Mallika Guhan:


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