Hoards of rampaging zombies stop traffic dead in Orlando!

Spooky Empire’s May-Hem horror convention got off to a growling good start Friday afternoon as legions of the undead were seen congregating at Uno’s Chicago Grill before advancing down International Drive towards the Wyndham Orlando Resort in search of, what else? Brains!!

Here is a LINK to a video of the 2012 Zombie Onslaught!

Bill Hinzman in 1968’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.

This year The Deadite Empire organized a special May ZombieWalk in honor of Bill Hinzman, known to horror aficionados everywhere as the first onscreen zombie in George A. Romero’s original 1968 NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Sadly, Bill passed away in February of this year at 75 years of age, but his family courageously decided to continue his longstanding tradition of appearing at his favorite convention as a tribute to the actor’s memory. Multiple members of the Hinzman family were in attendance Friday at the ZombieWalk to celebrate Bill’s life and to share with others just how much Bill appreciated the devotion of his fans over the years.

Bill Hinzman at the 2011 Spooky EMpire convention.

“Being here is bittersweet,” Bill’s daughter Heidi Hinzman told me today while she was waiting her turn for zombie makeup application. “My niece is here as well with me. We were supposed to come here with him last October, but my father was diagnosed with cancer in August and started chemo in October, so unfortunately he had to call and cancel. But the plan was for the whole family to attend together, because this was for him, he was all about his fans. And Spooky Empire was his favorite convention. Petey (Mongelli) who runs Spooky Empire and Ed Asbury have been such great friends to my father, they even came to the funeral. When they invited us to May-Hem we couldn’t help but come and carry the torch for dad as best we can. I am looking forward to talking to his many fans, because he was all about his fans.”

Halfway through Heidi Hinzman’s transformation into one of the undead.

“His fans kept him going,” Heidi went on to say. “I mean, the film (NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD) was shot in 1968. It was a cheap movie. They shot in black and white because they couldn’t afford color film. And it was something that they got together and did as documentarists. They never expected it to become a cult classic! And even at 74 years old my father was still coming here, and walking and leading the ZombieWalk, because he enjoyed it so much.”

Heidi Hinzman and her niece Kristin pose in full zombie mode.

“But this is actually our first ZombieWalk! I wish now that I had been able to come and share this just once with my father. I work in the film industry in California, and my niece lives in Pittsburgh, so we’ve never been able to come to this with him. Then unfortunately he became ill.”

“I grew up in the business and was a zombie in 4 or 5 movies. And I was in every movie dad made, of course!” she laughed. “So I was a “zombie”, I was “shot” at eight years old, I was “run over by a car” in my twenties, I’ve had it all happen! But as for this experience (ZombieWalk), no, I hadn’t done it before. I haven’t  “dressed up in zombie” since I worked with dad. It’s been 10 years since I wore this costume. So, yes, this weekend is really bittersweet.”

Members of the Hinzman family at the ZombieWalk, all wearing shirts honoring Bill, pose for a family portrait that he definitely would have appreciated.

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One Response to Hoards of rampaging zombies stop traffic dead in Orlando!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Debbie. It was a pleasure!

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