Sept. 18--When there is no more room in hell, the dead shall walk ... in Cheyenne?
Cheyenne Zombiefest returns this weekend, bigger than ever in its third year.
In addition to the traditional costumed zombie walk Saturday morning from the Depot Plaza up to the Capitol, organizers have plenty of activities planned for Saturday and the days before.
"Our goal all along has been to make this a weekend-long convention of horror that draws people from across the region," said organizer Rory Mack. "With the list of events and activities we have going, I think we are getting closer to that now."
The festival serves as a fundraiser for the Cheyenne Little Theatre Players. Entrants in the walk pay a registration fee and get a shirt with a $20 pledge as well as a coupon to other events. All of the activities take place in the downtown area, with the Atlas Theatre serving as the base of operations.
The guest of honor this year is actor Ken Foree. Best known to horror fans as Peter in the original "Dawn of the Dead" in 1978, he delivered its famous "when hell is full" line. Directed by a young George Romero, the movie is now a genre favorite for its groundbreaking special effects.
Looking back, Foree said the cult status the film now holds is a bit of a surprise.
"When we were making it, we all thought it was probably too violent to even be shown in America," he said. "We definitely didn't think about it being revolutionary or building a genre, it was more just a job at that time. It's the years after that have given it that sort of title, which is great."
Foree has appeared in many TV series and films since "Dawn of the Dead," including "The X-Files," "Kenan & Kel" and "Water for Elephants." He has also experienced a small renaissance thanks to a cameo in the 2004 remake of "Dawn of the Dead" as well as several roles in Rob Zombie horror films like "The Devil's Rejects" and "The Lords of Salem."
He said he loves coming to conventions to talk with the fans, but he's always surprised what they know him from and what they want to talk about.
"The horror fans always want to talk about 'Dawn of the Dead,' but I have had people come up and talk with me about being on soap operas before that movie even came out," he said. "I guess I have that ugly mug no one forgets."
Foree will be hosting several question-and-answer sessions on Saturday as well as a dinner screening of "Dawn of the Dead" on Friday night at the Atlas. Registration is required by Wednesday to attend that event.
Mack said Foree's appearance was big for the festival.
"He is the kind of name that people associate with conventions like this and sort of puts our little fest into a higher profile," he said.
Other events this year include an indie horror film festival, brain-eating contest and a zombie lookalike contest. A carnival and scavenger hunt are also planned for the younger undead.
Later in the evening, the festival moves indoors for the Zombie Prom. Makeup and costumes are required at this dance party, which will have a DJ, lights, lasers and fog in the Knights of Pythias haunted house. If you need a hand with your look, there will be a $10 makeover booth available as well.
Nearby, the older zombies can get their dance on at the Cadaver Cotillion which is hosted by The Drunken Skunk and offers its own zombie costume contest.
Mack said the festival should be the best yet.
"We are really excited about the number of people who are involved and talking about it," Mack said. "And we are looking forward to keeping it going and growing next year as well."
IF YOU GO
6 p.m. Dinner and a screening of "Dawn of the Dead" with actor Ken Foree. $20. Reservations required by today. Call 638-6543 or cash at Ernie November.
8 a.m. Zombie walk registration opens at the Atlas Theatre, 211 W. Lincolnway
10 a.m. Scavenger hunt. $5.
11 a.m. Zombie walk kicks off. Registration required through the Atlas beforehand. Those who pledge $20 will receive a Zombiefest T-shirt and a $5 coupon for another event. The walk begins at The Atlas Theatre, continues to Cheyenne Depot Plaza and ends at the State Capitol.
Noon Brain-eating Contest. $5. Atlas Theatre.
1:30 and 2:30 p.m. Thriller dance tutorial, parking garage at West Lincolnway and Carey Avenue.
3 p.m. Q & A with Ken Foree. $5 suggested donation. Atlas Theatre.
4 p.m. Indie Film Festival. $3. Atlas Theatre.
5:45 p.m. Thriller Dance performance, Cheyenne Depot Plaza.
9 p.m. Zombie Prom, $5 in advance or $8 at the door. Zombie attire is required and a $10 zombie makeover is available at the door. Knights of Pythias, 312 1/2 W. 17th St.
9 p.m. Cadaver Cotillion dance party, 21 and over. $5 cover. The Drunken Skunk, 1617 Capitol Ave.
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