SCARBOROUGH – For some zombie fans, movies, graphic novels and video games are just not enough to satisfy their obsession with the walking dead. They also have a deep need to look like the flesh-eating fictional monsters known for assembling in masses to hunt down their living counterparts.

Dozens of people showed up at a zombie celebration at Bull Moose store in Scarborough Saturday to have their features transformed into hollow-eyed, blood-dripping faces by a team of makeup artists.

“Zombies are interesting and much more horrific than vampires,” said Nathan Przybyl, 14, of Portland.

Nathan was one of the first in line for a zombie makeover. Nathan said he planned to send a picture of the results to his sister in the Marines, whom he hasn’t seen for a year, with a note: “Don’t come hunting for me.”

Nathan was accompanied by his father, Thomas Przybyl, 41, who was also made up with putrefyingly green highlights and an oozing wound on his forehead,

“This is a nice father-son activity and then we will go to the mall to pick up my wife,” said the senior Przybyl.

The zombie celebration featured games, a live band and free samples of the energy drink Zombie Blast Energy Shots, the brainchild of Reggie Groff, a Portland videographer, and Tom Talbott.

What’s behind this zombie craze, anyway?

Some say popular interest, fueled most recently by the AMC TV series “The Walking Dead,” is driven by a human fascination with blood and gore. Others point to the appeal of apocalyptic fiction that helps people confront their end-of-the-world anxieties.

For Westbrook resident Gabe Irish, 38, who planned to go grocery shopping in his zombie face, zombies help answer some of life’s big questions. “If you are a zombie, you are zombie,” he said.

Erica Gagne, 39, of Portland said zombies are simply fun and easy to relate to. “I am pretty much a zombie in the mornings anyway,” Gagne said.

Roger Lamontagne, 48, of Portland said he was just accompanying his daughter, Erin, 13, and her friend.

“I think they are cool,” said Erin.

Tim Cram, 45, of South Portland was there with his triplets, Caleb, Aaron and Ashlee, 14. All four of them are zombie fans, he said. “Zombies are slow so they give you a fighting chance,” said Cram.

Gavin McCannell 34, of Westbrook said zombies are both disturbing and fascinating. “It is hard to articulate the appeal, when everything about them is unappealing,” said McCannell.

Pete Witham, leader of Pete Witham and the Cozmic Zombies, said zombies are a metaphor meaning different things to different people. They mirror people’s imaginations and hopes and fears, said Witham.

In some ways, zombies are quite admirable, Witham said. “Zombies are very community oriented. They all get along and share what they get,” he said.

Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

bquimby@pressherald.com