CINCINNATI – The mayor of Cincinnati has appealed for calm in the wake of Thursday’s riot that left dozens of businesses destroyed and seven people injured.
What initially began as a peaceful gathering of fans lined up for the zombie movie World War Z quickly turned violent when a group calling themselves Sloooooow Down the Dead confronted the fans. The two sides clashed verbally until police separated them, herding the protest group to a parallel street in the Mount Adams neighborhood.
When the screening of the movie finished, several audience members congregated near the exit. It was then, according to witnesses, that members of the protest group arrived with mutilated plastic limbs, blood-covered crutches, and other weapons used to attack the fans. As more audience members filed out of the theater and joined the melee, a second wave of Sloooooow Down the Dead members arrived on unicycles and scooters. One estimate put the number of participants in the scuffle at two hundred.
“It was insane,” said Yvonne Betters, a resident of Mount Adams who was driving home from work when several protestors surrounded her car. “They were chanting ‘running zombies need to die,’ or something like that. They covered my car in what turned out to be red syrup and then they limped away in pursuit of a teenage boy who seemed very scared.”
Cincinnati Police spokesman David Trujillo says that seventeen people were arrested and that that police are reviewing video footage that will allow them to identify “scores more.”
“This clash seems to be due to a deep divide in the community of zombie fans,” Trujillo said. “You have the purists on one side, those George Romero people. They think zombies, being dead and all, ought to be slow. Then you got the sort of modern fans who, you know, were raised on movies like 28 Days Later and all that. They believe zombies can pretty much do whatever zombies want to do, including sprint through a crowded street at the speed of a doped up cyclist. Getting these groups together is a recipe for disaster.”
Mayor Mark Mallory has offered to arrange a mediation session for the two groups, but many horror movie fans say this will only incite more violence.
“How’s that going to work?” said Leo Collins, a possession-movie aficionado. “You’re going to put two groups who hate each other in one room? And who’s going to decide who gets to speak? Are you going to pass around a putrefied talking limb?”