Zombies assault Oak Harbor's Pioneer Way

Zombies make mayhem on Pioneer Way Saturday for the filming of “Thrill the Island,” a music video by Oak Harbor High School students.  - Rebecca Olson/Whidbey News-Times
Zombies make mayhem on Pioneer Way Saturday for the filming of “Thrill the Island,” a music video by Oak Harbor High School students.
— image credit: Rebecca Olson/Whidbey News-Times

Mayhem reigned on Pioneer Way Saturday morning as innocent citizens ran screaming from a horde of zombies.

Though once they started dancing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” they didn’t seem so scary anymore.

The foggy, drizzly day added a creepy touch to the already ghoulish cast of zombie dancers. Community members turned up in torn, bloody clothing and deathly pale make-up for Oak Harbor High School Choir Club’s and Media Arts Club’s filming of “Thrill the Island,” a student-led music video.

Pioneer Way was shut down until noon Saturday to allow the students to film the video with the public participating. Students will continue to film parts at the high school and Deception Pass.

Community members of all ages showed up to dance to “Thriller” and create chaotic scenes of zombies chasing bystanders and raiding downtown shops.

Asya Pressley, 8, and Sheyenne Pressley, 7, showed up in their Oak Harbor Youth Cheerleaders uniforms — plus some black eye makeup and a ghastly pale cast to their cheeks.

“We got makeup put on us to pretend we were zombies,” Asya Pressley explained, excited to pretend to chase onlookers down Pioneer Way. “That was, like, really fun!”

“I actually went into a store!” Sheyenne Pressley chimed in.

“I went into the Popsies store and made them really scared,” Asya Pressley added.

In one store, Sheyenne Pressley and friends terrified the shoppers so much that one fell to the floor in feigned horror undetected by the zombie.

“She was really, really scared,” Sheyenne Pressley said, grinning.

Their mom, Megan Pressley, said “Thriller” was part of their competition dance repertoire for cheerleading.

“They were excited to get to come do this,” Megan Pressley said.

Erica McCrane showed up in a tattered robe with curlers in her hair, blood on her face and a “baby” cradled in her arms. She named the brain-eating baby doll Rob Zombie.

“I was at the thrift store and I found this beautiful designer robe here and I decided that I just had a baby; why not be an angry housewife, or a zombie housewife,” McCrane said.

Lone defender of the innocents was Nate Edmiston, a recent Navy retiree, brandishing a gun at the zombies. But the groaning zombies didn’t have to know it was just a toy gun.

“Well, the little ones were the ones that were scary: they’re wily, they just kind of run around. It was a lot of fun,” Edmiston said after rescuing terrified bystanders from the groaning horde.

“Any time you get to shut down the main street to make a movie, it’s gotta be a lot of fun,” Edmiston said.

All Pioneer Way shops were subject to zombie attacks. Shop owners laughed at the acting and costumes or pretended to be terrified on camera.

Jill Schacht, owner of Casual House, located on Pioneer Way, wasn’t worried about the road closure for filming.

“I think it’s great fun,” Schacht said about the project, adding that it would have been nice if more community members had come out to watch the drama unfold.

“The choir department --- they are just very creative and do terrific things for the community. The choir director (Darren McCoy) is great and inspires those kids, so it’s all good,” Schacht said.

Despite the rain, zombies crawled down the street and performed the “Thriller” dance over and over again.

“We’re just having a great time out here,” McCrane said. “It’s just been a lot of fun, and just something different, new. You never know what to expect in Oak Harbor, and having the zombies running down the middle of the main street --- one of those things that you look back on and have a great time doing. I just had a great time.”


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