Backstage News, Front Row Pics

Walker Stalker Con Boston 2014 ~ A Star-Studded Haven for Zombie and Horror Fans

Zombie Zone range

By Drew Pion


Chad Coleman from "The Walking Dead"

Chad Coleman from “The Walking Dead”

When I read the description of Walker Stalker Con 2014 given by friends James and Eric, two fans of “The Walking Dead” who came up with idea for the series of  WS Cons around the country and made them happen (click on the link and take a minute to read that page, because it gives you an idea of just how cool the guys are), it was still months in advance of the June 13 -15 weekend, but I knew there was no way I could miss out on the chance to cover the event and share it with all of you:

“Walker Stalker Con is the fruit of The Walker Stalkers Podcast with James & Eric. The podcast began with an amazing trip to Senoia, GA where James & Eric were able to view the set of The Walking Dead and meet the incredible actors from the show. As a result of this experience, a podcast began and then the idea of a convention focused around recreating that same experience with the cast and crew of the show, along with talented actors and artists from other zombie shows, movies and art.

Walker Stalker Con is not just a convention. It is a fan meet-up and an opportunity for each guest to come away feeling like they’ve had an amazing experience and became part of a greater community of zombie lovers! Walker Stalker Con is three days of events, panels, and experiences that zombie fans won’t find anywhere else!”

So when June 13 finally rolled around, off I headed, media pass in hand, ready for whatever Walker Stalker had in store…

Authors Schlozman (L) and Cummings (R)

Authors Schlozman (L) and Cummings (R)

I started my Walker Stalker convention experience this past weekend in Boston with an hour long session/discussion about zombies with Dr. Steven C. Schlozman, author of The Zombie Autopsies: Secret Notebooks from the Apocalypse and Dr. Peter Cummings, author of The Neuropathology of Zombies. The topics covered in various engaging conversations (that could have gone on much longer than only 60 minutes!) ranged from the ethics of killing zombies to whether they have feelings.

ZombieThe most provocative part of the discussion, one about which I still find myself thinking from time to time, was the proposition that zombies could become a reality. The authors agreed that for this to happen, an airborne type of virus would have to be the instigator, and that a bite or scratch from what would be considered “Patient 0” would not be sufficient to infect another person.

Those of us in attendance were fascinated to find out that of all the existing human diseases, hereditary sensory neuropathy already causes those afflicted to exhibit zombie-like behavior. The disease causes loss of the ability to feel pain, auto-amputation of limbs (arms and legs literally falling off on their own), and a descent into a coma-like state. While a patient is in this state, any disturbance can cause him or her to have severe violent outbursts. Making the point that this disease may seem as though it would fall into the “It would never happen to me” category, the authors revealed that there have been cases of Lyme Disease manifesting into hereditary sensory neuropathy.  As if that thought weren’t unpleasant enough, it turns out that there already exists in the insect world a virus in the form of parasite that takes over a host body and creates a zombie like…bug; laugh, but the scary part is the very real possibility that this kind of virus could jump species and infect humans.

Night of the Living DeadAfter the official discussion group had disbanded, there was also talk amongst some people that rabies had to go through only relatively small mutations before it could cause what would essentially be a virulent form of zombie-ism in both animals and humans.

The rest of the convention was filled with exactly what it promised  ~ horror of a less realistic and more entertaining nature, vendors selling oddities and horror-themed jewelry of all sorts, a zombie killing booth and zombie gnomes, and of course the main attraction, the horror stars of both the big and small screen.

Patrons were in horror heaven as no matter where they looked, there was someone from the cast of “The Walking Dead” (no surprise that the show had both the most cast members in attendance and the most attendees dying (pun intended) to meet and have their photo taken with them and take home the ultimate memento, an autograph!) or from the Jason/Friday the 13th franchise or ~ a real treat for long-time horror buffs ~ actors from the original Night of the Living Dead.

There’s always been a slight [friendly?] rift between TV horror and film horror enthusiasts, but Walker Stalker provided more than enough celebrities from each medium that both factions were in their glory…and I suspect even softening their respective allegiances just a bit given how tantalizing the celebrity guest list was…there were even a few appearances from the non-horror realm, including AMC’s Comic Book Men, cast members from The Boondock Saints, and a couple of impressive Cosplay  personalities.

Sean Patrick Flanery from The Boondock Saints

Sean Patrick Flanery from The Boondock Saints

As you might have already guessed from my introduction, I tend to prefer my horror with a healthy dose of “science non-fiction,” so after most of my photography duties were wrapped up, I headed straight to meet Mike Zohn and Evan Michelson from the Science Channel’s “Oddities” at their booth ~ celebrity encounter accomplished.

Christian Serratos from "The Walking Dead"

Christian Serratos from “The Walking Dead”

There was such an amazing turnout at Walker Stalker 2014 here in Boston (which must be commended not just on its guest list, but also on its set-up and variety of booths) that by the time Sunday rolled around, many of the vendors ~ including Mike and Evan ~ were nearly sold out of their wares…but no matter, a great time was had by all, myself  included.

With camera in hand, I thoroughly enjoyed people-watching, and below are some of the photos I shot while still mulling over the somewhat disturbing thought that it wasn’t entirely impossible that within this crowded venue filled with actors who play zombies, there was already a deadly virus about to turn us all into the real thing.
 (2014) (2015) (2015)

Jeff Kober from "The Walking Dead"

Jeff Kober from “The Walking Dead”

There will even be a walker stalker in Paris on December 6 & 7, 2014 ~ website to be announced soon!

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