AMC's The Walking Dead has become much more than just a hit TV show, it's a cultural phenomenon. It has spawned not only its own hit after-show, Talking Dead, but a successful spinoff Fear the Walking Dead, the web series Fear the Walking Dead: Flight 462, and a number of successful video games during its six-season run. The show has always filmed in Georgia, kicking off production on the pilot in the Atlanta area. The bulk of the production since Season 3 has taken place in a town called Senoia, Georgia. Cracked recently spoke with a resident of this formerly sleepy town, who reveals how life has changed since The Walking Dead started filming there.
Last season, Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and his crew discovered the Alexandria Safe-Zone, where they currently make their home. Alexandria is shot in a gated community sub-division known as the Gin Property, and when the show started filming there, residents had to agree to a certain set of conditions while filming was under way. Here's what the Senoia resident, only known as "Brittany," had to say below.
"They had to agree to things like specific exit/entry times at their own homes to work around filming, and allowing bright lights and loud noises at three in the morning. I believe they are legally obligated to wait until the crew okays their leaving so that they don't mess up a scene. Notice the security booth that is manned 24/7. Nobody gets in or out without stating their business. Tourists not welcome. The road sign reads, 'Road closed to thru traffic. No pedestrians allowed.' The yellow sign is a note from the show, with information like the crew will not stop in the road for pictures and autographs. You would never know by the show how nice the road leading up to the gate of Alexandra is."
Brittany added that some residents of Gin Property ended up moving out of the gated community due to the inconveniences of filming there. But even Brittany, who doesn't live in Gin Property, described one bizarre incident where she wasn't even allowed on her own front lawn. Here's what she had to say about the incident, which took place while the show was filming at the Alexandria wall.
"At one point during filming, I was actually told by a cop directing traffic that I wasn't allowed to be out on my own lawn. When they were filming at the wall of Alexandria, we were really close to where they were shooting. Security had to make sure that nobody walked past the blocked portions of the road, so when we walked out into the yard to see what was up, a security officer told us we couldn't be out there unless we were trying to leave. At least, I think he was a security guard ... There is pretty much 24/7 police presence here. They're on the lookout for anyone trying to mess with the Alexandria wall / leftover props, or anyone who is going to disturb residents living in the homes that appear in the show, so they watch us closely when we're walking our dogs down the street or pulling into our own driveways. A couple of my neighbors got really mad ... They complained, but I don't think anything was ever done."
One of the other iconic locations shot in Senoia was Woodbury, run by The Governor (David Morrissey). In the show, Woodbury was a Georgia community while the Alexandria Safe-Zone is in Virginia, near Washington D.C., but in reality, both Woodbury and Alexandria sets are just blocks apart. Ironically, there is a real town of Woodbury, Georgia, but the Woodbury set is just a stone's throw away from the Alexandria set in Seonia. Here's what Brittany had to say below.
"My home was right in between 'Woodbury' and 'Alexandria.' Even fans who know that 'Alexandria' is located in Georgia don't realize that it is actually the next street down from Woodbury."
Brittany also added that, since The Walking Dead started shooting, the town has caught "zombie fever," so to speak. There are a number of zombie-themed shops, such as The Woodbury Shoppe, and local stores selling items such as "zombie milk," "zombie butter" and even "zombie jerky." The show has revitalized the town's economy, with Brittany adding that the town's main street used to only have six shops, and now there are nearly 50. However, the town is often left "trashed," littered with props and other debris while filming is going on. The town has also seen an influx in fans and tour groups coming to catch a glimpse of the show. While Brittany did say she is a fan of the show, she thinks she'd be an even bigger fan if she didn't live in the town it was filmed in. Here's what she had to say, while revealing how a certain aspect of the show was spoiled for her, by a talkative fan.
"I am a fan of the show, but not as big a fan as I think I would be had I lived outside of town. I think I watch the show differently because I lived in town during its filming. I'm always paying attention to the landscape, trying to figure out where exactly things are. Keeping nosy people from spreading spoilers is a concern, particularly while filming around Main Street, because of all of the buildings and high windows. You can find plenty of spoilers from the comics online if you look for them, but that's your choice. I don't really get a choice, because tourists are constantly out and about talking about what they saw or heard. Here's one example: I'm not a comic person, so I didn't know what was up with the big wall they were constructing. That one was spoiled for me, though, by a guy sitting across from me at a restaurant here. 'That's the Alexandria Safe-Zone that they'll end up at because they find out there's nothing in Washington!' Thanks, guy."
During last week's episode, we got our first look at the Hilltop Colony, but we don't know for sure if different areas of Senoia were used for this location. Would you like to live in the town that The Walking Dead is shot in? Chime in with your thoughts, and stay tuned for more on The Walking Dead, which returns Sunday night at 9 PM ET on AMC.