Zombie-themed fun in support of helping the living

Zombies have been a cultural attraction for some time now and a local not-for-profit is using their appeal to raise money for Calgary communities in need.

The Apocalypse Wars focuses on popular trends to bring in a younger demographic to demonstrate that helping those in need can be fun, especially when it involves hunting down the undead.

Event spokeswoman Tara McLaughlin states that popular vote chose the theme of zombies two years ago and hasn’t changed it since.

“We’re on the zombie theme because it’s a popular theme right now, people really seem to be gearing toward that,” McLaughlin said. “Our goal is to make it relevant, interesting, unique and fun.”

UNDEAD OBSESSION

The fascination with zombies has been increasing in popularity since the 19th century, appearing in everything from horror movies to comic books. Mixed with the crippling fear of the world ending and something chewing on your brain, Apocalypse Wars uses the idea of an undead catastrophe to give players a choice of being either a zombie or a zombie hunter in a giant game of capture the flag.

“I think the idea of zombies or something coming back from the dead is really quite scary and fascinating for people,” McLaughlin said. “It’s a concept that’s always been around, something rising from the dead. The zombie culture changes form a little but never goes away.”

McLaughlin maintains that the tie between the fascination with zombies and zombie culture exists because people want to answer the question of what happens after death; that it is a fundamental human question that has been asked for a long time.

“For a really long time we’ve been seeing this kind of thing happening across cultures,” she said.

“It’s really, really scary; it goes to the fundamental core of what people are so afraid of.”

‘A REALLY NEAT MONSTER’

Before the Apocalypse Wars, McLaughlin never thought herself as a zombie fanatic but changed her mind after the undead theme was picked.

“My opinion on zombies has grown exponentially since this has come about,” she said. “I’ve gained a cool respect for them. They’re a really neat monster.”

McLaughlin maintains it is all for a good cause since people will always be fascinated with monsters and the general curiosity behind the “apocalypse culture.”

“People are always going to ask what will happen when the world ends. What we try to offer people is a safe environment to explore that,” McLaughlin said.

“They get to go out and pretend it’s the end of the world, run around in a field and fight the bad guys or be the bad guys.

“That’s the appeal, so much of apocalypse culture is very passive, you watch it in movies or read about it but what we try and offer is something really active that people can participate in a safe way that gives back to communities where we live,” she added.

This year’s Apocalypse Wars will be waged at Canmore Park in northwest Calgary August 10. Zombie make-up is free with your ticket. Proceeds for this year will go to Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids and the Hope Foundation .

For more information on Apocalypse Wars or to buy tickets, visit http://www.apocalypsewars.ca.

hcawsey@cjournal.ca