Anarchy doesn't mean chaos, however. Faulds and her crew of volunteers gently remind participants that zombies "retain memories" of "traffic bylaws and other general rules." Within these bounds, the march supports improvisation. "I've had free blood to give out," Faulds says. "Sometimes somebody brings a brain." A gory feeding erupts now and again.
"Western culture doesn't have a celebration of death, and you have that coupled with a panic mode since 9/11," says Faulds. Zombie walks present a more authentic confrontation with death than does a commercialized holiday like Halloween. The walks are equal parts safe and horrifying, and therefore cathartic. Plus, zombies offer an individualized expression of mortality. While the Creature from the Black Lagoon has always fascinated Faulds, and costuming 500 of her closest friends as him might look neat, the creature's makeup would overwhelm each person's identity.
This difference is crucial for Toronto, which, in terms of race, ethnicity and nationality, is the most diverse city on Earth. The zombie is perhaps the only monster that can both reflect this diversity and remain monstrous. As for Toronto, so for the world. Zombies are the most human of horrors.
Sexing the Zombie
Imagine a woman in a black slip, black garters and hose and black high heels. She holds a spade - the mark of a playing card, not the digging tool - as if it were a serving tray, in an ass-out, '50s-era pose against a white background. The stark black-and-white composition sets off her bluish skin, which is mottled with bruises, ravaged by numerous wounds and running with blood. "The Queen of Spades," as Monique Motil calls her, belongs to a sorority of women who are "sexy and voracious at the same time." Zombie pin-up girls.
Motil began her zombie calendar project as a lark a few years ago. She wanted to do a pin-up series, but had gotten sick of vampires. Zombies seemed more of the moment. The initial portfolio of a couple of dozen or so figures - The Cheerleader, The Can-Can Girl, The Princess - now serves as a foundation for a website of user-created content. Women upload their own photos to zombiepinups.com. The site also hosts images of zombie beauty pageants. "Zombies are very inclusive," says Motil.