I've always felt skittish about incorporating military characters because of the potential for causing unintentional offense. (I'm not opposed to creating controversial displays that are likely to piss someone off, I just want to be sure that I'm hitting my target and not causing collateral damage). That said, I would LOVE to see something like soldiers vs. zombies.
I'm probably just super skittish becuse of past incidents in this area, some of which made the paper during my formative years. None of them involved me or people I knew, but when I saw pictures of what people were VERY strenuously objecting to I honestly couldn't see what was setting them off. I could see how, say, dead or undead soldiers in a display might upset some Americans in ways the haunter didn't intend. I realize that any display dealing with death has the potential to offend someone somewhere, but dead military seems to me to be especially risky in the current sociopolitical climate.
However, heroic soldiers blasting away at zombies (or navy at things with tentacles, or whatever) who are obviously not stand-ins for any particular group would probably tickle many people's fancies, including mine! I'm sure there are other ways to incorporate military characters that would be similarly received, it's just that my mind is stuck on zombies what with the Chicago Zombie March being in a couple of days.
I had thought about doing this, being retired military as well as a history buff. I thought about doing different time period skeletons in an old memorial cemetery, kind of like Revolutionary war soldier, a civil war soldier or two etc. I am trying to figure out how to make the idea work as a respectful thing, but the fact of the matter is no matter what you do, someone will always be offended!
Being a old Pathfinder, I would not mind. But I know a bunch that would. If I did it I would have to make some servie humor, Like a NCO screaming at a private and some other humor that a ex-service member would get.
I love horror, halloween, and I know I am too sensitive about the Military. Please do not think I am calling you out or telling you not to go forward with your ideas. Soldiers and Sailors and Marines fight for our freedom.
But if you do a Soldier Zombie display, please remember many people have lost loved ones. maybe something really graphic and realistic would be upsetting. Or perhaps it wouldn't; I don't know.
I know a wife at Ft Bragg, NC hung a mannequin on her porch of a Soldier hanging by the neck...for a Halloween decoration. Many or her neighbors approached her and asked her to please take it down. I don't know if she did. We lived in a different housing area, and I really wouldn't have wanted to see a Soldier in ACUs hanging. But that is just me.
Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful Halloween, and if you do create a Zombie Soldier haunt, please post pics. I am sure quite a few Soldiers would relish the thought of rising from the dead and being a Zombie, too!
Here's how I'm handling the general topic. I have had a zombie/military theme in the "planning/collecting-props-for" stage for a year or two now. Nothing prop-wise finished however. Won't have the room until I go with that theme for the year. I decided to approach it as a mlitary base a la Area 51 that was examining some aliens in their lab. The backstory would be something happened when the dead aliens were brought in...a virus or parasite of some sort affected some of the researchers... and it turned some people into zombies who have overrun the base and escaped into the nearby farm town. The ToTers come to the high security base which has been under high alert since the outbreak...and need to navigate thru the base in the dark and reach the village, hoping to reach safety there and get their halloween booty. This theme is pretty close to John Carpenter's The Thing, a favorite old movie of mine.
This approach gives me the opportunity to do a military setup--barbed wire fence, infrared tripwire system (from a toy spyware series still being sold), animated motion trigger/voice-alert monitoring cameras, command office with info on the zombies, a high security lab where some of the aliens still lay on the tables and a researcher (in biolab hazard costume) who has been attacked is seen behind the lab doors where he apparently got sealed in when the alarm sounded and doors sealed. The way out of the base is thru a service tunnel which has been compromised--steam pipe leak, flashing lights, bloody tracks on the walls and floors. The first farm house they reach has already been compromised and the inhabitants are now zombies whom they need to flee from.
Aside from the military base props, I love being able to include aliens, and farmer zombies and other zombies--all props I already have and would love to get more use out of. I didn't really want to focus on the service personnel so much as use the setting of the base. Also didn't want to focus on military personnel being attacked so am keeping the base more or less eerily absent of people (which hopefully can still be an unsettling thing in the dark). If I do include a few base unfortunates who didn't survive the zombies, I may go the skeleton route with them. I have a Zombie sarge mask that I picked up a few years ago and might work in with a skeleton frame. He actually was the inspiration for my theme.
We saw a "Scare Tactics" episode on the SciFy channel that had a woman on a school bus being attacked by aliens. It was the scariest Scare Tactics I have seen. It was in a desert area, and the bus rocked around and then there was a loud noise, some greenish light, and these horrifying aliens surrounding the bus! Yikes!
My house has many military inspired displays, out in the yard, upstairs. I built a ruined battlefield of jet plane parts, a field piece using steel conduit , sheet metal, thicker steel pieces, pipe, real wheels and tires and many pop rivets.
The front of the house features "Mr. Tuxedo's War Memorial" a tank made from steel that I styled to resemble a Walter P. Christie-type design only modern, around the 1950's. Mr. Tuxedo my deceased Spook house cat is represented sticking out of the turret wearing his suit of armor, next to the gatling gun.
The side yard features a beached nuclear submarine 25 feet long("Is that submarine real?" yes, some ask this) It is steel fuel oil drums(275 gal.) cut down, re-welded complete with conning tower and diving fins and deck weapon and the ICBM hatches. I had a sign on the fence, now too faded, that said:"Down-Home Nuclear Sub Repair, all makes, all models!"
In the basement I have a 7 foot tall steel coffin I built on steel tank tracks, propelled from the rear by a home-made aluminum flathead V-12 engine(The heads are from two 1950 Hudson's 6 cylinder motors) "Don't worry about this guy, he's gunna getcha someday, he can't be stopped."
I purposely made this Death Tank a funny design if you know anything about tanks , the tank's wheels are very small, the tracks very narrow and low, all extremely bad design choices in the real world of such things.(Maybe "Mr. Death" will be slowed down getting us because of poor design?)
Upstairs there is a 4 by 8 foot Men's Magazine cover I created, it mentions "Taste-Guzzling some new whiskeys with the French Foreign Legion at the Diem-Den Foo guardhouse and the magazine is dated a day before that decisive battle began which ended French control. (If only we had all been sober that night!)
I have a piece of plywood with a huge swaztika cut from it, making a window in that hated shape, which does make some people question my motives.
"What would a Jewish person think of this?"
"I don't know I'll ask my Grandfather Katzenburger!"-Jim's reply.
They walk around the corner and come face to face with a pretty good , large scale replica of a WW2 German Panzer Mk. 4 tank covered with female manniquins dressed as "Nazi Babes", a mythological creature of the 1950's Men's Magazines (Like my Dad purchased regularly.)
I make funny remarks concerning their lack of Winter clothing at Stalingrad and a few more remarks if the audience is definitely adult-humor minded.(But not obvious or raunchy)
Then walking down a hallway I open the door to the "War Room" where they can see (through a full sheet of plexiglass covering the entire door) some of the 100s of military plastic model kits I have assembled over the years.
My Father was a World War Two vet. MY Great Uncle was in World War One and Two, my Uncle was in the Korean War, my Great, great Grandfather was in the Civil War commanding a unit of Black artillery troops and he would have been executed with no hesitation if he had been captured by the South as a white man leading black soldiers.
I live a block from the huge Civil War monument that has all of the names chiseled into it of the men who served, along with the other monument for the rest of the wars, listing our county's war dead.
This City's cemetery is outside my west window on the next hill, 6,400 graves right there.
I have always been thinking about historical struggles and losses of mankind, and I have been known to get emotional when certain such songs are played.
So many dead. Not to be taken lightly, ever. Why do I have such things here? They have always been an interest of mine(history) and I have discovered so many people much younger than myself have little of no actual knowledge about most of the items I am showing them, no sense or struggle, danger, loss, suffering... so maybe I am opening up a "Book" for them?