Detroit as Spookhouse

OK, someone is running a crowdfunding campaign to turn a stretch of abandoned, post-industrial Detroit into a ‘zombie’ theme park. You can also read about it here. Or here.

Here in Detroit Metro, we hear the mayor and the city council spitballing ideas back and forth to increase shrinking revenues while decreasing expenditures.  Some proposals include simply abandoning sections of the city and relocating the residents to other parts to save on utilities, police and fire coverage, etc… which has people proposing greenspaces, urban farming, etc.  There are a few urban farms up and running already.  One entrepeneur, Marc Siwak of Royal Oak, thinks the time is right for Detroit to launch the ‘zombie’ equivalent of a lasertag or paintball arena — a few acres of abandoned buildings and overgrown lots… some locals employed as ‘zombies’ with blood stained costumes, and thrillseekers paying a few bucks a piece to be one of a few ‘survivors’ trying to escape the zombies.  Run, hide, try to barricade yourself into an abandoned building, team up with someone slower than you are to increase your own odds of survival… if you get tagged and you join team Z.

From their pitch: Z World Detroit will be a unique and spectacular zombie themed experience park that will transform a virtually neglected section of Detroit, Michigan. Participants will be chased by a growing zombie horde through abandoned factories, stores and homes across hundreds of derelict urban acres. The Z World Detroit initiative is a radical rethinking of urban redevelopment and Detroit’s well-documented blight and de-population. It turns perceived liabilities into assets that will bring a renewed vitality to a struggling neighborhood. When done right, Z World Detroit would be transformative for part of the city and become a legitimate destination.

What do you think?  Sound reasonable and plausible? AFAIK, it currently lacks funds or permission.

My thought is, “Why not try it”?  I don’t know if it will work or not… or how many years it will work if it does, but, given the condition the city is in, provided the city itself does not have to pay for it, what does Detroit have to lose?  The city could lease abandoned land in return for a tax credit to the company running the operation, and perhaps make money on parking and the revenue that the ‘zombie camp’ might bring in.  If it fails, well, the land could go back to being abandoned, right?  If it succeeds, the city and ‘Z World Detroit’ can look at re-negotiating a few years down the road. It could be fun, too.

addendum: One of the thoughts that occurs to me is that ‘zombie walks’ and similar things, where people in zombie make-up shuffle around drooling ketchup and chewing on beef jerky (or whatever they chew on) are going to dull our senses to the point that when a real zombie outbreak occurs, many people are going to assume that the moaning, drooling, bloody creature shuffling towards them is just an amateur actor in greasepaint… and that will be the last mistake they make.  It’s enough to make me think its part of a plot — they are trying to mainstream zombies, like the satanists encourage kids to dress up as ‘ghouls’ and ‘goblins’ for fun… and the next thing you know, they are listening to their Beatles records backwards and killing kittens for Satan.  Mark my words.

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