“Zombies Ahead” sign fits Austin to a Z

The computer hackers who turned a road advisory sign into a zombie invasion alert this week in Texas were probably just juvenile delinquents, to use a quaint term, who were having fun with a prank. Then again, they could have been film fans who knew exactly why such a warning was, in a weird and warped way, appropriate for the Lone Star state.

That’s because it was in Austin. And why does Austin make a zombie alert appropriate? Because, as fans know who’ve seen Grindhouse, the double-feature exploitation flick from Austin director Robert Rodriguez and pal Quentin Tarantino, the former’s Planet Terror horror and sci-fi yarn was shot and set in and around the Austin area. And Planet Terror was as maxed out with zombie gore and lore as many George Romero flicks.

So there you have it: a clear Austin connection to a zombie invasion, albeit one that’s only real in film fantasy. Well, and also in the road signs which warn motorists of “Zombies Ahead!” It might be hard to conceive of such a zombie onslaught on Lamar Boulevard in my old college town, but at least I know now what the road advisory would look like if zombies did, indeed, invade Texas’ capital city. And if you hackers are Rodriguez fans, then thanks. You may have made brief mischief (for shame!), but your twisted zombie hearts were in the right place.

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