Saturday, January 16, 2010

Surviving a Zombie Attack

Perhaps the best part of zombie movies is the part where the audience screams “Dummy! Don’t do that!” and when they talk amongst themselves about what they would do in that scenario.

When I was a kid and first saw “Night of the Living Dead,” I wasn’t impressed with a farmhouse, but I did think a condo high rise in the city might not be too bad, if you have time to stock it up. With only one entrance, it would be easy to reinforce it as well as reinforcing stairwells. No zombies are going to climb up the side of the building and I doubt if electricity is working they'd take the elevator, so you have a certain amount of control. If you get brave, you can sneak out long enough to knock down abandoned apartment doors and steal lots of supplies.

Everyone considers what they’d do. I went online to find that there’s actually a huge group of people hypothesizing how to handle the zombie apocalypse.

In the book “Infectious Disease Modelling Research Progress” by Canadian mathematicians Jean Michel Tchuenche and C. Chiyaka they presented the scenario of a zombie attack and used mathematics to determine that the best way to deal it is to “hit hard and hit often.”

“An outbreak of zombies is likely to be disastrous, unless extremely aggressive tactics are employed against the undead,” the authors wrote. “It is imperative that zombies are dealt with quickly, or else we are all in a great deal of trouble.”

On this site they suggest these 10 tips:
1. Clear the Room: There's nothing worse than stepping into a room only to be set upon by a horde of brain-hungry zombies. A team of four armed shooters can easily clear a room if they all stand against the nearest wall: one body in each corner and two in the middle. This position proves optimal for quickly dispatching of a room full of the reanimated.

2. Never Turn Your Back on the Enemy: Shambling isn't just for zombies. Three live humans can stand with their backs together and carefully rotate through the room, ensuring that all eyes are facing outward and no one falls victim to a surprise attack.

3. The Fine Line: For those lucky enough to amass a relatively large army of live humans, the Fine Line is the best way to fend off roving zombie hordes. Simply form two lines of armed persons, one line in front of the other. Have the front line shoot while the back line holds. When the front line runs out of ammo, the back line steps in while the front line reloads. Tragically, the Squad's training zombie, Billy the Hunter, died while the Squad demonstrated this technique.

4. Zombies Are the Least of Your Worries: It's bad enough that you have to deal with the zombified masses, who are tireless, feel no pain, and greatly outnumber healthy human beings. But perhaps even more deadly are the humans who simply can't cope with the new world order. It's best if you keep a psychologist on hand who can identify and subdue such persons before they embark on a murderous rampage that makes the zombies look as ferocious as fluffy kittens.

5. Choose Your Weapons Wisely: Not all weapons work for all people, and the trendiest zombie-fighting armaments aren't always the best. When in doubt, melee weapons are a fine tool against the undead, but think twice before picking up that giant hammer. As satisfying as squishing zombie skull may be, swinging the hammer creates a sizable arc that gives zombies plenty of time to nibble at your armpits. GLAZS advises that you invest in a machete, which is cheap, lightweight, and neatly separates a zombie's head from its bodies. As for ranged weapons, you may want to reconsider that sawed-off shotgun you're so fond of. Bolt action rifles are both powerful and accurate, without the ammunition restrictions of the close-range shotgun.

6. Windows Are Not Your Friend: Zombies have a nasty habit of crashing through glass windows, so it's best to choose a hideout with as few ground level windows as possible. Steer clear of malls, coffee shops, and boutique outlets in favor of Costco, BJs, Sam's Club, or any other large warehouse. If you find yourself trapped in your house, it's best to hightail it up to the attic, which the uncoordinated zombies will have trouble reaching. Basements, even windowless ones, spell trouble.

7. No Brains for Oil: If you're traveling with a group, you may consider fleeing by minivan or SUV, but be warned that the gas mileage and rollover rates might be a literal killer. If you're traveling alone, it's best to take a high miles per gallon vehicle, like a dirt bike, or, better yet, grab a bicycle and escape the zombies under your own replenishable power.

8. Fight World War Z with TNT: Using dynamite around the undead is a tricky proposition; the right amount of explosives can blow them to bits, but you might get cremated yourself. It's better to stave off those desiccated corpse with a controlled burn. But, GLASZ's demolitions expert warns, make sure it's a fire you can contain. A raging wildfire could prove far more deadly than the zombies themselves.

9. Animals: Friend or Foe? Animals can be invaluable allies at the end of the world, but the zombie infection could render them more hazard than help. If the zombie plague is viral, it can infect any living cells, causing even the most inhuman animals to exhibit flesh-craving symptoms. GLASZ members ask: Would you rather fight off a zombie human — or a zombie lion?

10. Suit Up: Perhaps the best way to prepare for the day the dead rise from their graves is to assemble the perfect zombie-fighting attire. Avoid brain spray-back by wearing goggles and covering your face with a non-porous material. Use plate mail or leather to create a bite-proof body suit. Kevlar gloves (provided to some food industry workers) can be worn as is or refashioned into impenetrable sleeves, allowing you to fend off zombie bites by holding up your forearms. Riot shields also add an extra layer of protection and make the zombie head squishing that much easier.

Admittedly, it’s good to be prepared. Zombies might not happen, but to think about such scenarios is to be ready for anything, to think in steps, to be prepared to live instead of resigned to die. I enjoy such mind puzzles just to keep myself alert and to have a stimulating conversation.

Let's start a conversation: What would your plan be?

p.s. If you're really into this subject, the best monster hunter I know is found at this fantastic blog. You can be certain "Burt Gummer" is ready to talk monster hunting and zombies.


  1. Oh, weird, I feel like I've been the first one responding to your posts lately but I swear this one was purely accidental. I just logged on and saw the word zombie and clicked without hesitation or discrimination.

    But I felt the inclination to say.. zombies are my niche! Mine!!! LoL!

    But thanks for the post regardless. For some reason the undead never get old (duh pun). But you gave me a good idea for a post series if you don't mind me taking your idea and running with it, expanding some steps, omitting others, and making them all the more detailed ;)

    I know there are tons of books on this subject but it's just so damn fun, so who cares?

    There's always the issue of exactly what to pack in your survival bag, the right food and gear, whether you should settle in place or run for it, picking between going it alone or with a group, the right weaponry, the WRONG weaponry and the best places to aim for a kill shot on the undead (thank you Max Brooks!), the right vehicle for the job, etc. And yes, yes, I know. I need to stop playing "Left 4 Dead" and get off the damn computer but I rather enjoy the Matrix reality in which I often reside.

    BTW, sorry if this comment sounds like I'm on a sugar rush. Hope it didn't come off too weird.

  2. Grim;
    You're no more hyper than me--I'm a total spaz! Yes, please, please, puh-lease, continue the idea with a series. I try to do more on ghosts since, well, it's my blog, but now and then there's something too tempting. Please go to town with it!
    I just love to sit with my geeky friends and discuss what we'd do. I can't wait to see what you do!

  3. p.s. Grim, your blog "aim for the head," can I sign up for it?

  4. You know I couldn't let this post pass without a comment! tips, by and large, but forget the explosives and burning. Explosives are great for killing humans, but with zombies, where you must destroy the brain, they're typically more trouble than they're worth. The Zombie "kill zone" is way too small. You'll just end up with a pile of crippled, crawling zombies, and a few dead ones. Not really worth the risk of collateral damage. Same goes for fire. Zombies do NOT "go up pretty good." They don't burn any faster than a human body, which is slooww. Set a zombie on fire, and you've got a flaming zombie that still keeps coming.
    If you're facing a mass zombie attack, aim for the HIPS. Unless you can virtually guarantee a headshot every time on an advancing line of zeds (which most people on zombie survival sites insist they can do!) you're better off fracturing their pevlvis (an easier target to hit) and slowing them down. Once you've got 'em on the ground, you can walk through the hoarde taking headshots at your leisure.
    And finally, think survival first, killing zombies second. Too many in the Zombie Survival Movement concentrate so much on eradication that you'll be able to measure their life expectancy with a stopwatch.

  5. Err, well, umm, it's actually not really a blog per say. It's actually the journal of a character from a short novel I've JUST started working on (that I'd LOVE to turn into a graphic novel someday as well, ahem) about a cop (yeah, I know, I know, I'm a complete narcissist) that fights a zombie horde in the city subway system all the while trying to find out where the hell they're all coming from and how they got there in the first place (whew!). He's a completely cocky, sarcastic and cynical bastard and kind of nuts in free spirited sort of way.

    I'm actually still working on the storyline so it's REALLY disjointed, completely unedited (and uncensored), with tons of things that are bound to be re-written. Added to that I'd give it an "R" rating due to the insane amount of gore that's sure to come and the colorful language that dots it throughout.

  6. Hey Grim, have you read "Day By Day armageddon" by (.:. Bourne? It started out as an online journal/blog.

  7. Gummerfan;

    Nope, can't say I've read it but I've definitely heard of it as well as placed it on my infamous "Zombie Lit Hit List". It any good? The one I just so happen to have picked up this month was "Patient Zero". Also, I peeked at your profile and see you're a survival junkie as well. Might you recommend some manuals (or books, journals, how-to's, etc)?

  8. This was very cool as always Autumforest!!
    I now feel like I know how to defend myself if a zombie-or zombies come crashing thru my big picture window up front (and you are right-they love crashing thru windows!!)
    In the meantime--do you or anyone know how to sick a horde of brain hungry zombies on noisy and well i won't say the word haha- neighbors-maybe also a way to attack Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh in the bargain?:-)
    all the best to you my friend!!

  9. Burt;
    Awesome! Totally love the advice! You have a real grasp on what to do. I don't worry about you, my friend.

    Sounds great--I'm thrilled by people who work on graphic novels. I think it's an ultimate combo of talents. The premise sounds tight. Oh, and I wouldn't blush at see, I write very graphic erotica horror, so I'm XXX myself.

    Got the neighbor issues, huh? Well, I've had to handle it on all 5 sides (both sides, both corners and behind) with barking dogs. I sent them unaddressed messages saying I was a neighbor and I was recording their dog barking and keeping a log for future legal actions. Shut them up fast. As for Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh, they are indestructible-dammit! Probably evidence there is no God or he would have smote them.

  10. My plan mostly comes from the Zombie Survival Guide. It lays out a complete plan for surviving the zombie apocalypse. Although my favorite zombie survival rule comes from Zombie Land and that was do "cardio." I run on the treadmill regularly now imagining myself being chased by zombies. I'm getting in much better shape this way and I know I can outrun a zombie horde.

  11. Jessica;
    A gal with a plan! I love that! Well, if we're lucky they'll be those stiff-legged, slow and stupid ones like on "Night of the Living Dead."

  12. I can't believe you actually posted about survival against zombies! Sometimes i wish you were somewhere close so bad! I am just drinking coffe but cheers to you!

  13. I'm all about how to survive a zombie attack. I even bought the survival guide! Wayne rolled his eyes and said, "Seriously? You think you need to know this?" Hey, if there's ever a zombie apocalypse he's going to be glad I have a plan! Oh wait...I just read Jessica's comment. She's got the same book. The comments have been as entertaining as the post. And you know I like me my zombies! In fact, on my other blog I'm going to write about them. I'll refer back to this post. And on Twitter I have a list set up called ZOMBIES to follow other Z fans too. (I know you think they're kind of slow, but for whatever reason they really grip my imagination. Glad to see so many others feel the same.) FUN POST!

  14. I will definately heed your advice if I come across any Zombies. Lets just hope that never happens.

  15. Hey Julie;
    We'll take over a downtown high rise. With the clear weather here, we'll be able to see them coming from all sides. We could just block off one floor and take it over. Hope you don't mind that hubby plays drums. Hee hee.

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