Zombies invade Saugerties

Photo by Mookie Forcella

The undead are rolling in an in human wave down Main Street, past the pharmacist and antique store and pizza place. An armed CDC agent is hanging idly on the sidewalk, watching. He’s handing out really neat pens and vials full of M&M’s. His name is Neal Smoller, by day the proprietor of Village Apothecary — until duty calls. Then he becomes Neal Smoller, zombie avenger. “I’m a pharmacist. I’ve been recruited by the CDC to help keep people safe,” he says. He’s done a terrible job, seeing as just about everyone has been zombified.

Seriously. Almost everyone. Hundreds of people decked top to bottom in face paint and tattered clothes, rocking visible bite marks, enormous gashes, sunk-in eyes and the occasional distended eyeball. Yellow, protruding teeth, and decomposed flesh. It was a red-letter day, Saturday, Oct. 22, the day the dead rose in Saugerties.

A zombie on the corner opposite the Kiersted House on Main St. is just hanging out in front of the diner, growling and groaning. It’s admirable how many of these people keep character; through a series of grunts and giggles he makes it very clear that he is a zombie and, as such, can’t talk. It can be very difficult to squeeze quotes out of the undead.

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Some zombies throw off the genuinely-horrifying vibe. They’ve put a lot of effort into this event. But some zombies don’t fit the template. Hipster zombie is a little off-putting, between his ebony and ivory patterned suspenders, his wayfarers and his super fly kicks. His makeup is not gory. It’s trim, neat and particular, with one vertical drop of blood streaming down his head. Butterfly zombie lady also creates kind of a theme conundrum. Are you going for goofy or scary, lady? You’re not really either.

The zombies, despite their impossibly gross makeup, aren’t even the most unnerving feature of the event, though. That title goes to the seven-foot tall, stilt walking, expressionless-mask wearing Mirror Man. His black cloak is decked with tiny mirrors, he’s completely silent, and he is bound to be the source of a whole lot of nightmares for Saugerties children. Also in contention for most genuinely upsetting costume is the wandering-burlap-covered-forest-spirit-with-skeleton-fingers-that-only-seem-to-pop-up-when-you’re-not-paying-attention-and-completely-unprepared-to-confront-a-staggeringly-frightening-nightmare-beast.

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