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Forget About The Olympics...
Chicago Wants ZOMBIELAND!

For anyone that happens to frequent film screenings throughout the year, you may make at least one undeniable observation....there is an entire subculture in attendance at these events. I often see the same people at each screening that I have come to call "the usual suspects".

They clearly know each other and often tip each other off to the next screening in their own clandestine fashion. It's as if they live for these screenings and at times it appears that they live at these theaters. It's clearly fodder for a sitcom pitch.

I just watch and smile and wonder how they get their passes. Now, I consider myself a film enthusiast, but these folks seem to be in a class all their own. Well, that class was in for a dramatic change this week.

On Monday, September 28th, I passed up the opportunity to see a screening of The Invention of Lying for my love of the undead. That's right. I can't help it. Zombies, I love thee!

Already, I bet you know what movie I'm referring to. That's right folks, hundreds of select Chicagoans were treated to a very special red carpet screening of Zombieland with stars Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg. That's cool in and of itself, but even better was the chance to become a zombie yourself!

My screening pass had stated that if attendees arrived early enough, there would be an opportunity to be "zombie-fied" and walk the red carpet with the two leads. How could I pass that up?

While the screening was at 7pm, I wouldn't be able to make it there until about a quarter to six and I assumed "early" would mean 5ish. I told my buddy Otto to get there as soon as he could and scope out the place to see how the what the crowd was like. Sure enough, he arrived at 4:30 and he let me know how crazy it already was.

Yes there was a tent with a red carpet inside parallel with the curb in front of the theater. Yes, there were Zombieland posters everywhere. And yes, there were fans (including "the usual suspects" -- maybe we should call them "preview zombies") dressed up as zombies everywhere. It was quite a surreal and assuredly geeky experience.

Unfortunately, my name wasn't on some list in order for me to qualify to be transformed into a zombie. Fah! Little did they realize (or care) I would have been a great zombie. I know the swagger, the contortions and appropriate "Gak!" sound effects (thank you, Roger Kirkman!) which I found lacking in many of the zombies that passed us by as we were in line for the screening. Otto and I took turns going in and out of the line to take many pics of the undead both in and outside the theater.

Once seated, the spotlight beamed down to the bottom of the screen where Harrelson and Eisenburg were met with a roaring applause. They didn't really have much to say. The typical "Hello Chicago, good to be here!" and "Thank you, enjoy the film!" that was followed by a quick departure. Fine with us. Myself, Otto, "the usual suspects" and all the other zombies were more than ready to see the undead on the big screen.

All I'll say about the movie is that it is fun, gory and one of the funniest movies I've seen all year. Right away, it knows what it is and who it's for. If you're a fan of the genre, you'll have a blast!.

Now go check out my friend Otto's blog for a look through the superior and not yet decomposing eyes of a professional photographer!

David J. Fowlie

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