I didn’t know what to expect when I went to get my zombie makeup done, but seeing a guy wearing a full body clown suit and painting his face entirely white was not it. Taft 4 Dead banked on the scare factors of its zombies, though, and this unholy combination of a zombie and a clown terrified me. The day was off to a tremendous start already.
Prep and waiting time
I’m no stranger to make up, and this wasn’t the first time a stranger did my face for me. It was, however, the first time a zombie put glue on my face—so many people signed up to be zombies that other zombies had to help out the makeup artists with designing the aspiring undead. The “glue” was actually latex, which smelled pretty bad; after it had finally dried, the artists dripped some red food dye all over my face to complete the look and I was good to go. I already had bags under my eyes thanks to college, so I figured I looked dead enough.
You know that sense of surrealism when you see videos of actors and monsters behind the scenes doing mundane and boring stuff, and they seem so normal behind the layers of monster makeup and the bloody, ripped clothes? That’s what I felt when I stepped in the waiting room and saw other zombies just sitting around taking selfies of themselves in full undead attire, or otherwise talking to their friends. The costumes were really good! I’m glad I got to talk to the other undead before the event—it didn’t really register in my mind that these zombies were students, just like me. I bet that some runners forgot that as well during the game, when they were too busy hyperventilating in fear—but more on that later.
At around 5 pm, I was feeling rather hungry. Unfortunately, the latex around the bottom part of my face that made it look like someone slashed through my mouth, Joker style, made it hard to open my mouth, much less eat. I decided to visit my friend in Goks, forgetting that I was already wearing my zombie makeup. I was just sitting down in one of the tables, innocently using the wifi, when a group of runners wearing garbage bags ran past me. One of them suddenly pointed at me and screamed, “ANDYAN NA!”, and they all visibly started running faster. That was my first taste of the fear that I would cause that night, and it tasted great.
A little time after that, I was told I could participate in any of the waves for fun. With glee, I decided to try the Mutien Marie station—the building was already scary in the morning, so what more at night teeming with zombies? Together with the creepy soundtrack of someone sobbing in despair, the witch hiding in one of the classrooms, and the general haunted asylum vibe the building gave off, it was pretty scary. Screaming at the poor players who made too much noise was fun, although the intervals between runners was a little long and boring at times. After a while, I got curious and decided to move to a different station.
I went back to Goks, where the fear in the air was much more fast-paced and panicky, especially compared to the slow creeping dread that surrounded the air in Mutien. Here, the runners had to run down a hallway and try to reach the ‘safe zone’ at the end of it while zombies tried to grab the flags around their waists. The length some runners went to protect their flags was intense—they would slap our hands away and elbow us to get space. One guy was particularly defensive of his flags, and in his haste to dodge the undead, he tripped and fell, causing his teammate to trip over him. The zombies were instructed not to break character, but we couldn’t help ourselves when we started laughing—thankfully, they were too distracted on the floor to notice.
Once the runners reached the ‘safe zone’, the zombies just had to scare them as much as possible in the allotted time period without touching them. The lights would flicker on and off, and a huge number of zombies did whatever they could to instill dread into the runners who were already safe—at least three people must have hyperventilated in fear, in the process.
The ride home
All in all, it was a pretty memorable experience, and I wouldn’t mind doing it again. I had to take the LRT after the event, and riding the train while wearing zombie makeup should be part of every commuter’s bucket list. The looks I got when I walked to the women’s section and the reactions I got from people who saw me through the window were priceless. It was actually pretty roomy in the LRT for once—I guess nobody wanted to squeeze in next to the zombie.