Animal Planet’s Zombie Livestream Is One of the Most Amazing and Existentially Horrifying Things I’ve Ever Seen

At this point in Internet history, none of us are strangers to the wonders of endlessly amusing livestreams, but usually they’re a little… cuter than this: For Halloween this year, Animal Planet is livestreaming a zombie they’ve captured and quarantined. For real. Well, I mean, not for real, for real, unless you believe in the existence of The Walking Dead-style zombies — but they do have a livestream up and running on their website as part of their “Beastly Nights” Halloween programming.

It is both amazing and terrifying, although probably not for the reason you’re thinking.

According to Animal Planet’s website, the zombie made its first appearance on Monday:

“A startling discovery was made at Animal Planet headquarters on the morning of October 27, 2014. Upon returning to the office after the weekend, several workers reported seeing an individual roaming the hallways, behaving highly unusual. These eyewitnesses described the person as displaying violent tendencies, grunting a lot, craving human flesh, and showing signs of abnormal bodily decay.”

Animal Planet concluded that this strange individual must be suffering from the condition known as Zombism; accordingly, they managed to detain the zombie in a conference room and put it under 24-hour surveillance. Viewers are invited to share their observations about the subject using the hashtag #zombiecam, because what would be the point of setting up such a stunt without a good, solid social media campaign behind it?

The zombie cam alternates mostly between two different angles, this one:

And one from the opposite angle, which, alas, I have no been able to screen cap because after the first time I saw it, it hasn't reappeared (I've been waiting for it to do so for 30 minutes, but no dice). Occasionally, a third view will also pop in, allowing us to see the reactions of those walking by the glass-walled conference room in which the zombie is being held:

Breaking the fourth wall for a moment, I’m not sure whether they’ve got one person acting as a zombie in there at all times, or whether they’re swapping zombies out in shifts. I assume it’s the latter; maintaining an undead character like this, 24 hours a day for an entire week, would be a challenge for even the most seasoned of actors. I suppose it’s even possible that it’s not actually a livestream at all, with all of the footage having been prerecorded — but where would the fun be in that?

Of course, I’m sure there are some who would decry the forcible imprisonment of this poor, unfortunate creature; zombies are people, too, after all, and people were never meant to be caged. But the real I find the whole a tiny bit freaky is this: Are not we all like this zombie in some respect? Do we not spend our days stumbling through life, confused, easily distracted, and occasionally moaning and banging the walls with whatever object is closest at hand? Do we not often look up and find ourselves mired in the aftermath of our destruction? Do we not sometimes look at our motivational posters hanging from the wall and say, “Dammit, Puppy Bowl just isn’t enough!”? In many ways, the zombie is the literal representation of the human condition, which kind of makes the Zombie Cam one of the most seasonally appropriate existential crises in the history of the universe.

But that said, it’s also hilarious. In fact, it’s mostly hilarious; zombies these days have lost their teeth somewhat, becoming more of a punchline than an actual fear — but that’s OK. I’ve embedded the livestream below, but you can also watch it over on Animal Planet’s dedicated Zombie Watch page.

Just, y’know… don’t let it near your brains.

Images: Animal Planet