Checking out the Big Zombie Tour With Atlanta Movie Tours, Part 1

Checking out the Big Zombie Tour With Atlanta Movie Tours, Part 1

My Experience On The Big Zombie Tour

For as long as I can remember, I have always been a fan of the macabre.  Horror movies have always been my favorite genre.  I love the idea of being frightened out of my wits and I suspect I’m not alone in that feeling.  I’m not saying that I haven’t looked away or closed my eyes when the sacrificial lamb met their doom, I have some standards.

But, I still love the suspense, the obligatory run from the villain by the world’s clumsiest victim who can’t help falling down numerous times, then the final showdown where the evildoer meets their inevitable doom.  The formula is predictable but satisfies the essence of a good storyline.

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Photo courtesy: amctv.com

That’s probably why I’m a big fan of The Walking Dead.  I haven’t missed an episode since it debuted in October 2010 on AMC.  It follows the lives of a group of people who’ve banded together to form a protective community in order to survive what is essentially the Zombie Apocalypse.  For me, the show is a perfect blend of unspeakable horror and one’s attempt to hold onto some semblance of humanity while trying to survive it.

Fortunately for me, the show films in the state that I live in.  While I haven’t had the chance to meet any of its stars, I have found pretty much the next best thing:  Atlanta Movie Tours!  Located in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood of Atlanta, this company offers a 3 hour guided tour to scene locations depicted in various episodes of The Walking Dead.  The Big Zombie tour is actually divided into two separate tours.  The first tour covers all of the notable scenes that were featured in and around the Atlanta area.  The second focuses on the more rural areas of Georgia – the cities of Senoia (aka Woodbury), Haralson, Grantville, and Newnan.

The tour guides are very likable actors who have all played walkers on the mega-hit which happened to score 17.3 million viewers during its 5th season premiere on October 12, 2014.  These ratings are unheard of for most network television shows, much less a ‘lowly’ cable series, so you can imagine that its popularity will continue to increase.  In fact, a companion series is scheduled to air by 2016 with one of the writers from the Sons of Anarchy acting as the show runner.

The first Big Zombie tour started with a short walk down the street.  There we stood in front of the Norfolk Southern Railway Building which was the scene where the gang had to leave a repugnant Merle Dixon handcuffed to a pipe on the rooftop in Season one.  Our guide, Patrick, mentioned that when nearby residents heard the staged ‘gunshots’, cops and a swat team were quickly dispatched.  Needless to say, no one was arrested.

 

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One of the most exciting developments of season four was the introduction and the promise of Terminus.  Here it was proclaimed that “Those who arrive – survive”.  Though it didn’t quite live up to its promise (pro tip – it was a blatant lie), it was still a compelling aspect of the trials and tribulation of the survivors.  Located in the Mechanicsville neighborhood,  Terminus is actually the original name of the city of Atlanta.  The abandoned railway yard was the perfect setting for those seeking asylum from a world that had literally fallen apart.

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A closer review of Terminus reveals the holding rail cars where the “Termites” kept their ‘food’ fresh until prep time.  You never wanted to make it into that yard and you most definitely didn’t want to see the inside of box car “A”.  Notice that I subscribe to the theory that fences make good neighbors.

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Next, we got to see the narrow alleyway that Glenn Rhee and Rick Grimes ran down after Rick escaped from the army tank.  Initially, it was the best solution that allowed him to get away from the walkers but was swarmed in no time.  They were able to access the fire escape (after making their way through this gate) that led to the Norfolk Southern building and were spared a horrible fate as a result.

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This storefront is the department store where Glenn, Laurie and the gang were gathering supplies for their group before Rick joined them during season two.  The glass was eventually compromised when the Zombies broke through and tried to attack them as they made their escape.  This building, located at the corner of Mitchell and Forsyth streets, was recently sold and the glass that proudly displays the name of the imaginary department store will soon be lost to history.

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This building was the setting for the sheriff office where Rick worked before all hell broke loose.  It’s where he came back to retrieve firepower with his new friend Morgan and Morgan’s son, Duane.  It was discovered in season four during the “Clear” episode, that Morgan came back and depleted the munitions room, leaving nothing but a bullet behind.

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This is the abandoned hospital that Sheriff deputy, Rick Grimes finds himself after being shot on duty.  Having been comatose at the beginning of the Zombie Apocalypse, he has no idea what is going on.  He has seen human-like creatures in the hospital corridors but he has no concept of what has happened nor where his family may be.

As he descends the stairs, he comes upon covered dead bodies strewn throughout the parking lot.  This building is actually the administrative offices of the Carpenter’s House, a division of the Atlanta Union Mission which offers residential recovery and transitional housing programs for men.

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This fantastic view from the Jackson Street Bridge which is located in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood in Atlanta.  It is the setting of the iconic arrival of Rick Grimes (on horseback) in Atlanta.  Watching this was very moving because it took me back to the genesis of the show and how much had transpired to change the lives and fates of everyone since then.

Another interesting tidbit about this photo.  When we arrived at the tour offices, we were asked to sign a release because a crew from Netflix would be filming the tour.  We expected to end up in background shots here and there but I was speechless when a production assistant tapped me on the shoulder as I was taking this photo and asked me to do a quick interview.  I was as nervous as heck but I think Carisa and I did OK under the circumstances.  When I find out when this will air, I will post a notice on my Facebook page.  You have LIKED my Facebook fan page, right?

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Stay tuned for a report on the second part of the tour where we got to visit the town of Woodbury and location shots from the Clear episode from Season four, among others.

 

Book Your Tour now:

Dates/Times: Check calendar
Tour Length: 3 hours
Cost: $65 + $3 ticketing fee

 

Are you a fan of the Zombie genre like I am?  If so, please share your favorite movies and TV shows in the comments below!

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Renee King
aviewtoathrill@gmail.com
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