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Why Leeds is a paradise for zombie fans

Written by
Mark Whittle

There are many benefits to living in Leeds – the arts scene, world-renowned universities, amazing bars and restaurants… the list is endless. However there is another, darker reason to stay here. One that never makes its way into the visitors' guide.

When the inevitable happens and the dead rise from their graves to feast on the living and the rest of society crumbles around them, Leeds’ inhabitants can take heart in the knowledge that their city has prepared them with everything they need to survive the undead onslaught.

Leeds is, without doubt, a zombie-lover's paradise and here are just a few of the reasons why.

The Leeds Horror Film Festival
Before you can combat the undead you need to understand them, and what better way to educate yourself than with a horror movie marathon? New for this year, The Leeds Horror Film Festival is taking place on Sunday April 26 at the Cottage Road Cinema.

Organised by self-confessed zombie obsessives Dominic Brunt and Mark Charnock, aka Emmerdale’s Paddy and Marlon, the festival gives horror fans the opportunity to watch classic films on a big screen, as well as discover some more recent releases.

Each film is introduced by Dominic and Mark, explaining why it was chosen, and, while the films haven't been announced yet, the duo's previous venture, Leeds Zombie Film Festival, featured the director’s cut of World War Z and the wonderfully titled Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead. An excellent way to gather survival tips then, and see plenty of examples of what not to do. Book your tickets here.

Leeds Horror Film Festival

Zombie Science: Worst Case Scenario
Understanding zombie behaviour is only half of the story, though. To really prepare your mind, and find that elusive cure, you’re going to need to understand the actual science behind a zombie pandemic. Luckily, the University of Leeds' very own Theoretical Zombiologists are on hand to help.

On Thursday March 26, as part of the Leeds Festival of Science, they’ll be hosting a tutorial entitled Zombie Science: Worst Case Scenario. Mixing hard science with the fantastical, the tutorial will cover everything you’ll need to know in order to stay uninfected and includes practical demonstrations along with audience participation. Get your hands on a ticket here.


A photo posted by M. Bird (@helloyesthisisbird) on

2.8 Hours Later
Of course, a brain full of information is nothing more than a snack for a zombie unless you can hold your own physically. The live-action zombie survival game 2.8 Hours Later has been putting potential survivors through their paces in cities around the country for several years and has developed a large following in Leeds.

Returning to the city from July 23-25 with a brand-new story and game-play elements, 2.8 Hours Later transforms familiar locations into post-apocalyptic nightmares as players are forced to flee from the infected hordes and try to locate a potential cure. A mixture of quick decision-making and physical endurance, it’s a perfect opportunity to test out your survival chances.

Rusty Iris

I Survived a Zombie Apocalypse
Should you begin to doubt your ability to make it through the outbreak, it’s essential to have a role model to aspire to and Leeds' citizens need look no further than Cross Gates' very own Amena Jefferies.

At only 18, Amena used her athletic background to defy the odds (and the undead) to make it all the way through BBC3’s recent I Survived a Zombie Apocalypse reality television show. Living proof that Leeds has prepared its inhabitants well and an excellent example for any wannabe survivors.

Send More Paramedics
Leeds’ fondness for the living dead extends to its music scene, with the city being the home to not only a resilient goth scene but also the world’s very first Zombiecore band, Send More Paramedics.

Formed in 2001, thy were as heavily influenced by zombie movies as there were by their fellow thrash bands, with song titles including I Can Feel Myself Rotting, Zombie Sweetheart and Cranial Blowout.

Known for playing their gigs in full zombie get-up, Send More Paramedics performed at the Reading, Leeds, Download and Damnation Festivals before they were finally laid to rest in 2007 when the group disbanded.

Zombie pandemic contingency plans
You might assume that with such a zombie-focused culture our masters at Leeds City Council would be fully prepared for the outbreak. A recent Freedom of Information request, however, indicates that this may not be the case.

When Lorelai Miller asked to view the council's business continuity plans in the event of a zombie invasion she was swiftly rebuffed. The council deemed the request ‘vexatious’ and therefore did not have to comply. The implications of this are twofold. The council may simply have no plans in place (more fool them) or could it be that the council has plans in place but is simply refusing to share them, covering their own backs and leaving everyone else to fend for themselves?

Flickr: Jason Charlesworth

Remember, in post-outbreak Leeds, the dead may not be the only threat you have to contend with…

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