I was halfway to the drug store when I remembered what I was wearing: a suit coat stained with blood and ripped to as though it had been run over. My face was paled like parafin and my eyes were sunken. I was a creature of the night in desperate need of 4 AAs for my camera flash. I was a zombie.
Let's start with an admission, I love zombies. It was an instant love affair that started the first time I fired a virtual Beretta at an undead ghoul in Resident Evil
and has continued,fueled by films like 28 Days Later
and books like The Zombie Survival Guide
. This is why I donned my best grave yard fashion to hit up the Zombie Ball presented by Horns and Halos entertainment
at The Venue of Scottsdale. That's right, the same guys who have been giving fetishists and industrial music fans a place to belong has stepped up their inclusiveness by opening their doors to the undead. In fact, this is their third year hosting the event. What better time for a zombie party than during the celebration of the O.Z.? (original zombie, keep up, fleshy).
Hundreds of zombies showed up. Those in attendance either brought their own gory costumes or received an undead paint job from the folks at AZ Rocky. Things were slow to get started (the dead often are) but soon The Venue of Scottsdale was full of half-eaten, bleeding undead.
On the bill of entertainment were industrial bands E Bomb, Alter Der Ruine, Funker Vogt, but it was a curious little side show by a man named Havve Fjell from Norway that had us take a step back and forget that we were dead.
He introduced himself as the "head master" of the Pain Solution SideShow and appeared with a pale face and outfit of some sort of ruler-toting school teacher. What followed was a series of life-threatening tricks. Some performers lay on beds of nails, the Head Master preferred a bed of machetes. And when he did finally lay on nails, he only used needed two. For the finale, the head master pulled out twenty or so razor thin needles he had stabbed into his chest, arms, throat and face earlier in the act.
"Do you want blood, zombies?" he asked. We cheered (as best as the undead can) to see him bleed. With every needle he pulled out, another trail of blood began to form. By the end of the act, his face was covered in his own blood, but he wasn't done just yet.
"I could do more," he said, "but I've already fulfilled my contractual obligation, so I'm afraid I'll need more money, but don't worry because this next act involves a staple gun." The crowd tossed ones, fives, tens and twenties on stage to watch the Head Master staple them to his body.
Shortly after his performance, we caught up with the Head Master as he wiped the blood from his tips with sanitary wipes. We had to know how much pain he feels doing what he does.
"It hurts, but it's what I do for a living so I'm pretty used to it," he said. "It's not like I'm suffering much, but I do feel it all."
As for the Zombie Ball he said he appreciated the crowd's energy.
I guess we weren't dead after all.
By the way, I got those batteries, but not before scaring the bejesus out of some poor woman on the magazine aisle.