LANGHORNE, Pa. -- This September, the zombie apocalypse is coming Philadelphia.
Well, at least it's coming to the goal crease at Wells Fargo Center.
For his mask this season, Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason will have a historical-themed zombie invasion of Philadelphia set during the time of the Declaration of Independence.
The mask is being painted by Franny Drummond, who runs PaintZoo and will feature the Betsy Ross, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, as well as other historical figures -- all in zombie form.
Drummond credited Mason with the initial idea of zombies when they spoke in June. Mason's previous masks featured items you'd see in a scary movie -- skeletons, skulls and lots of injury-type stitches either holding things together or being torn apart. Drummond said he and the goaltender have spent most of the summer exchanging ideas.
"He said, 'I want horror, but without a horror movie,' " Drummond told NHL.com. "He [Mason] said, ‘why don't we do Ben Franklin as a zombie,’ [and] I said, ‘I guess we could do it.’ I said I'll do sketches, over the summer we'll go back and forth over design work, and this is basically what I came up with. Betsy Ross, any historical figures, and taking it and making it into a zombie apocalypse that hit Philadelphia in 1776."
One side of the mask will feature a zombie form of Ross, the famed Revolutionary War-era seamstress, sewing an American flag while backlit by a lone candle and what Drummond called "an eerie fireplace" that leaves her with an orange glow.
"This mask is going to have a lot of glowing, very eerie," he said. "That's why with Betsy Ross, if you notice the background, she's got the candle with the smoke coming up. She's going to be black and white like an old photograph, and then it'll have a little bit of backlit, so you'll see the orange glow off her shoulder."
The other side will have zombie versions of Washington and Franklin, along with other zombies around the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Across the top will be a Flyers logo tweaked to go with the zombie motif.
"We have the logo, and it's going to be like she [Ross] stitched it to the mask," Drummond said. "Ben Franklin, him with the key, he's kind of giving the key to the city. Just weird stuff. He loves stitches. We're going to keep that feel."
Drummond said the chin portion remains a work in progress, but it will have Mason's name in some form, possibly in a combination of old-school Flyers uniform with the zombie twist -- a white nameplate on an orange background, similar to what the Flyers have on their jerseys, with stitches holding it in place.
"We were thinking it would be kind of neat with the old-school look," Drummond said. "Where you see the small stiches on the chin. But we might go with something more zombie-looking lettering. And the backplate is pretty open. We'll probably continue the theme; maybe have a zombie peeking around a strap, maybe an ex-president."
And there might be more zombie masks to come for Mason; perhaps a season-long series featuring different Philadelphia historical figures in zombie form.
"Derek [Settlemyre, Flyers head equipment manager] said he changes them constantly," Drummond said. "He's always changing gear, so you get a new lid and go."
Drummond has done a number of masks for Flyers goalies during the past few years, including ones for Brian Boucher and Ilya Bryzgalov, as well as Bernie Parent's mask for the 2012 NHL Winter Classic alumni game. But the Mason mask already ranks among his favorites.
"I'm excited about this," he said. "I'm pumped about this one."
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