At Comic Con 2012, I was fortunate enough to survive an onslaught of hungry zombies at Petco Park. Even though I lost almost every member of my group, I still managed to not only keep from being eaten, but also kept myself disease-free. This year, I once again ran the gauntlet of undead obstacles all over Petco Park at San Diego Comic Con. The Walking Dead Escape has changed slightly since its inception in 2012, and here are a few of the changes I noted:

  • Run times only take place between 7 PM and 11 PM each night
  • Runners no longer have to climb, crawl, or cross precarious obstacles
  • Water stations are available at the beginning and middle of the course
  • Spectators may now watch for free with any valid Comic Con badge
  • Zombies, while still slow, are abundant and slightly more difficult to elude
  • The “ending” is more intense and doesn’t always come to a happy conclusion

When I ran (read: walked really slowly) the course two years ago, it was during the day with a group of several cosplayers still in their outfits. It made for a very interesting run, so I’m glad that this year I was able to run with another cosplayer, who I’ll mention later in the article but needless to say, his inclusion in our late night group made those blood-thirsty zombie easier to face.

This year I needed to come up with a unique angle to running this obstacle course. I couldn’t just report, ” I ran it. I was tired. Then End.” – that would be boring. That’s when it hit me, “I’ll draw inspiration from “Weird” Al Yankovic’s new song “Tacky” and take selfies with the deceased!” What you’re about to read is my first ever selfie adventure. For the record, I’ve coined the word “zelfie” to describe taking a selfie with a zombie.

National Guardsman Yelling (They’re ALWAYS Yelling)

As you may know, taking a selife at night (even with an iPhone 5s) doesn’t always produce the best picture quality, but having a professional photographer walk around with me would have defeated the purpose.

We’re saved! Batman is with us!

As organizers press us into a large, tightly packed group outside the Petco Park gates, National Guardsman yell at us to listen up for our own safety. The yelling was a reoccurring theme throughout the entire course. Apparently, yelling scares off zombies and makes the world a safer place – a good tip to remember.

I’m actually becoming a little anxious at this point. Not at the thought of being infected by brain-eating zombies, but I suddenly remembered all those damn stairs from last time and had forgotten to properly hydrate…again. But as I looked around at my group (most of whom will end up dead as I trample them attempting to save myself), I notice someone that gives me hope that we might actually survive this ordeal – Batman! But before I can bathe myself in the new found confidence seeing The Dark Knight brings me, we’re yelled at to run for our lives…and off we go.

I’m actually surprised more people aren’t hurt at the beginning of this obstacle course, as all sense of humanity and civility is seemingly tossed out the window in an effort to dodge people dressed up as zombies. *Mental note: Send a get well card and fruit basket to the girl I knocked down.*

Skater Zombie Selfie

As we dodge a couple of zombies while going down a stairwell, I can’t seem to get my selfie game on point. All the pictures are blurry and I’m getting infected quicker than a drunken college student in Mexico on Spring Break. Then it happens – I get my first, really good zelfie! This poor skater guy was clearly just trying to pull off a switch stance 540 heel flip when he became a mindless undead cannibal.

Redneck Caged Zombie Selfie

After a few intense minutes of dodging zombies while bending my body like Neo in a scene from The Matrix, we get a slight breather to walk up a ramp. At the top of that ramp is a zombie girl in a cage trying to grab us, while her husband/brother/cousin tries to sell her off. “Ain’t she pretty?”, he says with an obvious Southern drawl. No thanks buddy, I’ll pass.

Sneaky Zombie Selfie

We eventually come to a long walkway littered with dead bodies – some of who are, of course, trying to eat us. This living dead girl wouldn’t let me get a real zelfie, so I had to be sneaky. It still counts.

Concession Stand Zombie Selfie

As we cross by the concession section of Petco Park, I see this poor guy laying in a pile of brains and blood. I felt bad for him, because he was so close to get some napkins. I gave him a pile – after the zelife, of course.

Zombie on a Gurney Selfie

Next we were yelled at to run through a medical staging area where the infected were being treated. This lady had already turned to the dark side and wouldn’t stop flailing around on the gurney long enough for me to get a decent picture – so I once again had to be sneaky.

Chupacabra Zombie Selfie

I found this poor dog/bear/chupacubra animal laying dead and half eaten in what I considered to be the saddest part of the course. No animals were harmed in the making of this event, though I’m still telling PETA. Why can’t zombies be vegetarians?

Prayer Group Zombie Selfie

As we make our way through a “safe zone”, we happen upon this group of religious fanatics desperately trying to save a young girl with prayer and meditation. Based on the lack of medical equipment in the area I’m guessing they were Christian Scientists, though Tom Cruise wasn’t present that I could see.

Kid Captain America Zombie Selfie

I think it’s the zombie children that bother me the most. This little kid just wanted to be Captain America for a day, and now he’s Captain Undead Brain Sucking Zombieman for eternity.

Hot Zombie Mom Selfie

I didn’t find this out until after the run was over, but this is Captain America’s mom. I somehow missed her husband on the course or I would have taken a zombie family portrait.

Beautiful Zombie Bride Selfie

“I’m going to the chapel, and I’m…going to eat your brains out.” I asked this bridal zombie where she picked up this fabulous wedding dress but all she would say was “Arrghhhh!”. I’m hoping “Zombie Wedding” dress gets added to the Her Fashion Universe Geek Couture fashion show next year.

Zombie Stampede Selfie

I’m surprised I even got a decent, useable zelfie at this part of the course. After being yelled at by a redneck female survivor in a stairwell for a few minutes, we all pushed and shoved our way through one door into a zombie-infested walkway. Pretty sure we lost half of our group at this stage.

Spectator Parking Lot

After 20 minutes of stairs and zombies, we finally made it outside where spectators could watch runners get chomped on by hordes of wandering zombies in a crowded parking lot.

Double Dare Zombie Selfie

The first person to get us in the parking lot was this former Double Dare contestant. He obviously wasn’t able to properly complete the physical challenge.

The Dreaded Barrier Maze

We’re still outside and now have to run this complex maze of barriers filled with zombies. I’m clearly not going over these things, so I’m going to try running in a serpentine pattern to confuse them.

Screen Rant Fan Zombie Selife

After much (and needless) running around in the barrier maze, I finally exited only to hear someone shout, “I LOVE YOUR WEBSITE!” – so, of course I threw caution to the wind and ran back in for a well deserved zelfie with a fan. Cheers mate!

Zombie in a House Coat Selife

This Mrs. Roper-esque zombie was roaming the lobby looking for her good-for-nothing husband, who has probably been out gallivanting with that zombie bride all night.

Country Girl Zombie Selfie

I found this country girl zombie wandering aimlessly outside of a safe zone. There was a National Guardsman yelling at me to keep moving because it wasn’t safe, but I wasn’t going to be denied my zelfie.

National Guardsman Selfie

We’re almost done but are just waiting for these two Guardsmen to give us the “All Clear” to cross into the final safe zone. They were not amused by my selfie.

We Survived…or Did We?

Here it is – the exit. We’ve made it to the decontamination zone of the course and are given a speech by, who I think is, George Takei (not really) on how we are all living in a new world and must learn to adapt to survive in the post-zombie environment…then everything goes black. Sirens go off, flash bang grenades go off and we are over run by Guardsmen firing machine guns – we are all dead. Good times.

Conclusion

The hero our group needed tonight.

I truly believe that if Batman hadn’t been with us the entire group would have been zombie food much earlier. Ultimately though it didn’t matter though because everyone got infected and the new administration decided to unceremoniously wipe us all out. Still, he was the hero we needed this night and the run was better because he was on it with us.

Unless you’re a zombie, follow me on Twitter – @MoviePaul.