With Europe in economic misery, new opportunities are emerging in the zombie sector. A company providing zombie experience days is recruiting and training an army of the professional undead.
“We train them how to act in character,” Zed events’ head of recruitment Pete Owen told Metro. “We work on timing, movement and subtle voice techniques – from small growls to full screams. The key is to build tension.” Zed events now have three centers in the UK and a zombie staff of around 25. Many have no background in acting, but receive a four-week crash course.
The professional zombies are installed in a derelict house where they stalk and attack the visiting public, who shoot at them with BB guns. “Accidents do happen”, says zombie Tanya Faenowa. “We get training in how to take a hit and fall safely – but getting shot can hurt.”
Zed are set to expand again, with plans to establish centers in the US and Asia. This reflects a wider boom in the zombie economy around the world – research in 2011 found that zombies contributed over $6 billion to the US economy through movies, games, and increasingly, experience days.
Jason Karl, editor of Scareworld magazine and creative director of the AtmosFEAR! scare entertainment group, told Metro “the scare entertainment industry is growing massively”. He estimates there are 170 live scare attractions in the UK, employing thousands of people. In addition, a new ‘Scream School’ training academy for actors is “creating a higher level of professionalism”.
The industry continues to grow despite the economic climate. Karl has been able to employ 36 Greek actors at a new ‘House of Fear’ in Athens, and will take on 113 British actors in the next four months.