The Survivalists Guide To Zombie Outbreaks

Welcome To Zombie Survival 101.
Hopefully you have brought your notebooks, pencils, and trusty boomstick so we can begin our lessons!

Darling you gotta let me know... Should I stay or should I go?



Hello Zombie Hungry Populous,

     Welcome to my first 3 part special.  Our grand topic?  

In the event of a zombie outbreak, would you stay put, stock supplies, and board up the windows, or pack the minivan, grab your trusty boom stick, and seek shelter elsewhere?

     This is a topic that has had me scratching my noggin.  I keep going back and forth in my head as to what I would do, and frankly, I am on the fence.  After plenty of soul searching, I believe it boils down to where you are during the outbreak.  I implore you to give me some feedback on my ideas.

Here we go...

The Scenario...
     Ok, so here's what we are up against.  A virus hits the United States, spread by fluid transfer (blood, saliva, urine, etc.) and causes the recently deceased to rise and feed on human flesh.  Being deceased flesh, those infected are slow, lumbering, uncoordinated, and unintelligent.  The cause and nature of the virus is unknown, and for arguments sake, hits simultaneously in an urban metropolis, suburban burg, and rural farming town.
    Now we are going to discuss what I feel is the best course of action if living in any of these locales during a zombie outbreak.

-The Urban Jungle.  Here is the scenario where I think the road warrior has the best chance at survival, and one has a small window of opportunity to get moving.
     Think about this logically for a second (I know, I know... Logically? We are talking about zombies for crying out loud!!)  We are talking about an area that is very densely populated.  A zombie virus will spread incredibly fast and the number of infected will grow exponentially.  The denser the population, the closer proximity that population lives in, will translate into this virus spreading incredibly fast.  Therefore, I believe the best course of action is to get out of the city as quick as possible.
     I recommend this option for a few reasons.  Space is at a premium in a city, so stocking supplies is not a very viable option.  Next, there will be tons of infected knocking on your door, so shoring up your dwelling is going to be exceedingly difficult.  Finally, once supplies have run out, moving around a city infested with infected is going to be near impossible.  Given that list of issues, I think getting out of the city and seeking shelter elsewhere may be your best option.

Stay tuned for Part Deux... The Return ::cue scary, dramatic music:

The Madness to my Method.



I shall address this to both the Zombie Hungry Populous and those who think the genre is silly.  

Well, I am sure this has circulated around the net for a while (and I am guilty of posting it around certain venues myself) but I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to post it again.  And why do I post it you might ask... Well, it's food for thought.

Plus, it shows you that even though I have spent way too many hours of my life contemplating the ins and outs of zombie survival, it actually isn't as far fetched as you might want to believe.

Alright, it's still pretty far fetched, but it could happen!!

(As I am new to this whole blog thing, you might have to copy and paste this one... I apologize, I am blog-illiterate.) 

Adam's Top 5



Hello Zombie Hungry Populous,

     As I am still new to the blog scene and you are still getting to know me, I though I'd give you a deeper glimpse into my psychosis.  I figured the best way to do that would be a list of my top 5 zombie films.  And being a man of few words (yes I know, in my last post I was way too detailed and wordy) I will not keep you in suspense.  Afterwards, feel free to reply with your own top 5 films, as not only am I up for a good zombie debate, you might expose me to something I haven't seen.

(Warning- although I don't go into great detail about the plot lines of these films or individual scenes, there may be some inadvertent spoilers.  I tried my best to avoid this, but you are forewarned.)

5.  Undead (2003).  Very rarely do you see a film that incorporates 2 very different antagonist genres well, (I will site Vampires Versus Zombies (2004) as the main example of this concept gone awry) but Undead successfully merges the unlikely paring of zombies and aliens.  In its simplicity, Undead is a spoof; outlandish plot lines, outrageous gore effects, and otherworldly action sequences, but is so fresh and well executed it undoubtedly should be on anyones top 5 list.  I wholeheartedly recommend this film to any horror fan who can appreciate some interjected humor.

*If you do end up watching this movie, just remember this one question... Where in the hell did he get that gun? (you will understand when you watch it... And if you are anything like me, you are now dying to know and may possibly run out to rent it tonight.)

*It should be noted that this film comes from New Zealand, which has been pouring out some of the most inventive horror comedies I have ever seen.  I dare you to do a little digging into The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy director Peter Jackson.

4. The Beyond (1981).  This is definitely the strangest zombie film included in my top 5.  Lucio Fulci (who will appear again on this list) was truly a horror maestro who should be included among the greats like Wes Craven, Tobe Hooper, Clive Barker, George Romero, or John Carpenter.  In the 70's and 80's, the height of shock/disgust horror, Lucio Fulci brought some of the most uncomfortable and violent movies ever filmed, (even in comparison to Umberto Lenzi and Ruggero Deodato who I will no doubtably talk about in future blogs) including this gem of a zombie film.
     There is an unintelligible plot in this film, which is common to an Italian horror film, (this period of Italian horror is most referred to as Giallo) but the shock moments and gore more than makes up for it.  Fulci was known for inventive death scenes, and I guarantee you fans of movies like Hostel and Saw will be running for the exits during this movie.

*I just wanted to mention that for this spot, The Beyond just edged out another movie by Fulci, City of the Living Dead (1980) (make sure it's the Fulci movie, there is at least one other film that shares the title, and it is well beyond unwatchable.)  City is ousted here because of the sheer inventiveness of The Beyond, but I would suggest both films to any zombie/horror enthusiast with a strong stomach.

3. Shawn of the Dead (2004).  Yes I know, this is the second spoof I have listed, but with good reason.  There are many cookie cutter zombie films (as there are cookie cutter slashers/ghosts/possessions/etc.) out there, some of which were rather successful (28 Weeks Later, Dawn of the Dead (2004), etc. and you can yell at me later for mentioning those 2), and this spoof puts them all to shame.  Incredibly witty dialogue with intelligent humor coupled with a social commentary not often used (if ever) in this genre create one heck of a zombie flick.  Now you might be concerned that there isn't enough gore in the movie and action sequences are nearly non-existent, but this zombie film is just too darn funny not to be a favorite.  Plus, true zombie fans will be able to catch numerous homages paid to almost every zombie film that precedes it.  In fact, let me know how many you catch.  I think I have found them all.

2.  Day of the Dead (1985).  Ok, here is where the zombie purists are going to bite my head off (so to speak.)  How could I only put 1 G. Romero movie on here?!? How could you put Day instead of Dawn?!? Bear with me and you will understand where I am coming from.  First, I could have dominated this entire list with Romero movies, from Night of the Living Dead (1968) to the Crazies (1973), to the latest(so far, another coming in 2010) Diary of the Dead (2007), but that wouldn't really do much good.  Plus, I think there are many more zombie films you should be focusing on, even though Romero zombie films are the standard.
     Secondly, I chose Day of the Dead after long consideration because I believe it to be the best crafted of all the Dead films.  You have a true sense of the zombie outbreak that wasn't as apparent in Night or Dawn, and you are made more uncomfortable than in the other movies (I was at least.)  The social commentary of militarization in the 80's is spot on (and a major influence for 28 Days Later) and you are immersed in the claustrophobia the characters experience.  Finally, I believe that the zombie and gore effects in this movie are and will forever be unparalleled.  Although there are other movies in which the gore sequences made me physically ill (you will hear about one in the next bullet point, and I assure you that I am no lightweight.  It takes a lot to get me ill.) the gore effects in Day of the Dead were inventive, realistic, and perfectly executed.

1. Zombi (1979).  So here we are, at numero uno, and it is some Italian zombie move??  Yes.  And not only is it some Italian zombie movie, it is a horror film that has provided us with 3 of the most iconic zombie scenes in horror history.  First, you have the outlandish underwater zombie scene.  To my knowledge, there hasn't been another underwater zombie fight scene before or since (and if there is, I can guarantee you it is nothing like this one.)   Secondly, there is the iconic zombie conquistador which you have undoubtably seen if you are a zombie enthusiast (plus it appears at the top of my blog page.)  And finally, the most iconic death scene in horror history.

The impaled eye.

This is a scene that I to this day, after seeing the movie dozens of times, cannot figure out how they filmed.  I wont ruin the scene if you haven't watched the movie, but I will assure you that it is disturbing, slow, torturous, and stomach churning.  But alas, this is not the scene that made me ill.  There are others within this film where I almost lost my lunch.
     I choose this movie consistently as my favorite because of 2 elements Lucio Fulci succeeded in incorporating.  First, the score of this movie is very unique and fitting.  Why this type of score was not used on a wider scale I do not know, but it adds to the atmosphere of the film.  Secondly, it is this very atmosphere that makes this my number one choice.  From the opening scene, I was uncomfortable, and as the movie progresses, I feel more and more claustrophobic. The pace of the film is perfect and the feeling of dread is overwhelming.  There are definitely some silly bits to this film, (as there are in any horror film) but the shock moments more than make up for it.  This is a must see for any zombie movie fan.  In fact, this is a must see for any horror fan. There will be images that haunt you from this film.  I guarantee you that.

*I just wanted to mention some runner ups that you should consider seeking out.  28 Days Later, City of the Living Dead, The Romero Quintilogy, and the Savini remake of Night of the Living Dead are must sees.  These movies made this list rather hard for me to compile.  Other notables are Braindead, Fido, and Dellamorte Dellamore.

Well, hopefully you are still with me, and a big thank you to those who are.  I also hope that you enjoyed my list and possibly got a few more movies for your netflix queue.  Feel free to post your own top 5 as I am very interested in what your favorites are!!

My advice until next time = Stay away from infected monkeys.

Weapons... Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Gun.



Hello there Zombie Hungry Populous,

     This is my single favorite Zombie Survival topic.  The reason being?  Well, I am an incredibly analytical person, and efficiency is a fetish of mine. Therefore,  contemplating what weapons give you the most bang for your buck (so to speak) is something I can sink my teeth into.  Now before I start, we have to establish a couple of things.  The universe I will be operating out of will be the Romero Zombie universe.  I.E. slow moving zombies who infect via biting (fluid to fluid transfer basically) and can only be dispatched by destroying the brain or brainstem.  
     What I will do from here is outline different weapon types and talk about their strengths and weaknesses before making my professional (take that term with a grain of salt... Ok, maybe a few grains.) suggestions.  Now I do warn you.  I am about to get into the zone here.  I will be getting technical in some places and overall, very detailed.

Bludgeon Weapons.
     This would encompass anything from a pipe to a bat, 2x4 to a frying pan, etc.  I prefer these as close quarters weapons when engaging single targets or multiple targets who are spaced out and less than 5 in number.  There are a few things to consider when choosing a bludgeon.  First, and possibly most importantly, you have to worry about the integrity of the weapon.  Wood will be lighter than steel or lead, but has a greater probability of denting, splintering, splitting, or shattering.  Next you need to consider weight as it will effect your ability to yield it in a combat situation.  A lead pipe will be quite strong, but will tire you out because of it's weight in relation to its' size.  Finally, you have to consider your own strength when wielding a bludgeon.  This weapon category might be self sufficient, but it takes muscle power that rapidly diminishes while attempting to shatter human skulls.  
     Here is my contention with this weapon category.  Most will cite that you don't need ammunition or have to reload something like a bat, but they fail to recognize how much strength it takes to shatter bone.  Therefore, when engaging multiple targets, you have a greater probability of tiring out and not having the ability to sufficiently injure the target.  Although it sounds like I have no faith in this weapon type, I do believe it is a necessary part of your anti-zombie arsenal.  My suggestion is to use an aluminum bat (a hard metal hitting surface that should stand up to punishment rather well, and the handle should be insulated enough to prevent shock waves going into your wrist.)  A good last resort weapon, or silent weapon against single targets or multiple targets who are spaced out and low in number.

Edged Weapons.
     This includes swords, machetes, and knives.  This weapon type is my greatest contention with other zombie survivalists.  Most fail to understand the same principles that hinder bludgeon weapons.  Human bone is hard.  Cutting through human bone is difficult.  In order for an edged weapon to kill a zombie, it must either pierce the skull or sever the brainstem/spinal cord.  This is a tall order.  Now even if an individual has a sword sharp enough and has the muscle power, not only will the muscle power diminish, bone will dull the blade significantly.
     Now I know what you are saying, "a katana can slice right through bone, no problem, no effort." Well, not exactly.  A fantastic katana or tsunda will be incredibly sharp and strong, but takes training and money to utilize and attain, and will not slice through bone without great effort and dulling.  The next issue I foresee with edged weapons is the probability of a blade getting stuck in a target.  This is highly possible, especially as the blade dulls, and will cause the wielder to fatigue at a greater rate.  My suggestion here it so have edged weapon such as a knife because of its usefulness other than as a weapon.  Knives come in handy, but I wouldn't count on them to keep me safe against zombies.

     Ok, here is where I believe you get the best bang for your buck.  Yes, you need a little training here, but with that training I believe handguns are your best self defense weapon in a zombie outbreak.  The benefits of this weapon category are killing distance (a good shot can give you over 50 feet of killing distance), the ability to engage multiple targets with minimal physical effort, the ability to engage multiple targets in close quarters, and (in the case of an automatic) quick follow up shots and reloading.  Now, there are drawbacks to this as well.  First off, anyone who has handled a gun knows it is hard to hit anything let alone a moving target the size of a human head.  Next, you have to worry about how to maintain a handgun, ammunition worries, reloading, accuracy over distance, training, etc.  But with a little training, these drawbacks minimize.  I believe a handgun is a must have.
     As far as choosing a handgun there are a few things you must consider.  First, an automatic is a must.  Revolvers, although more comfortable, and accurate on the first shot, an automatic is faster to reload, has a greater ammunition capacity, and allows for much quicker follow up shots.  I would suggest 9mm for no other reason that it is the most popular round and is carried by most law enforcement agencies, so ammunition would be easier to find.  If ammunition is no object, I would suggest a .22cal because of ammunition capacity (remember, we are just penetrating a human skull, not body armor.)

     I go back and forth with this weapon class.  The reason being is ammunition capacity and reload speed.   Buck shot rounds will give a nice spread of shrapnel, making accuracy less important, and stopping power is unparalleled, but ammo capacity is limited and reloading is slow.  Double or single barrel, crack open shotguns are completely inefficient, so pump, lever, and automatic shotguns would be ideal.  The drawbacks are simple.  Accuracy and distance is minimal, ammunition is bulky, reloading is cumbersome, and there is some training needed to handle the weapon properly (not handling it properly can easily result in injuring yourself and others.)
     I would consider this as a main weapon if I were in a close quarters scenario.  In an outdoor environment where I would engage multiple targets at distance, a shotgun would be a waste.  If you can get a shotgun with a box magazine you would be set for close quarters engaging, but I would reserve shotguns for a secondary weapon.  And remember, 12 gauge shotguns are the only viable option as other gauge ammunition would be hard to find.

     Rifles are an interesting weapon class, as they encompass many different incarnations.  There are multiple types of actions, from lever, pump, and bolt, to gas rotating bolt and forward pump.  They can be shorter, such as an M2 or long, such as a springfield 03.  And there are a myriad of calibers.  I am going to break this down into 2 categories.  "Classic Rifles" and "Assault Rifles."  If you are a good shot and comfortable with a rifle, it might be a good choice in an outdoor, long range scenario.  I would choose a common caliber, such as a 5.56mm or 7.62mm, as they are used by most law enforcement and military agencies, and ammunition would be easier to find.  The drawback here is the ability to be used in close quarters, the issue of reloading (unless magazine fed), and training.  
     An assault rifle is one of the best zombie defense weapon you can get.  With the proper training, you can use this weapon for both close quarters and long range engagements, and allows you fast reloads, quick follow up shots, great accuracy, and in some cases, allows for fantastic customization.  There are other things to consider with rifles.  First, if you are in close quarters, a long rifle will hinder your movement, and there is the issue of over penetration (bullets going through multiple targets or walls.)  Also, there is a lot of training needed to properly maintain and use an assault rifle.  
     My choice here would be for a short assault rifle, such as an m4 or FAMAS.  They both utilize a 5.56mm, used by most law enforcement or military agencies, lend themselves to both short and mid range engagements, and allow for great accuracy, quick follow up shots, and have a large ammunition capacity.

Submachine Guns.
     The final category I will discuss before I wrap things up are submachine guns.  This is a good alternative to the assault rifle, as it uses a pistol round, fires rapidly, and allows for quick reloads.  Once again, it does take training to maintain and use a weapon like this.  I would suggest 9mm for the same reasons that I suggested a 9mm handgun.  Most submachine guns are compact and are perfect for close quarters, but are not suited for mid to long range engagements.  I would suggest a forward situated magazine such as a mp5 or ump, in contrast to a handle situated magazine, such as an uzi or mac 10, as it will allow for a longer barrel (more accuracy) and easier handling.

     Alright, if you are still with me after this diatribe, I am going to wrap up with some specific suggestions.  Now I know there are more weapon categories out there, but I believe these to be the most realistic scenarios.  I also know that there are going to be angles I haven't considered, but I think the following setup and the preceding rant give a strong foundation for weapon choices in the event of a zombie outbreak.  

Here is the set up I would ideally have in any zombie outbreak scenario.
-Stoner Knights SR 16 with a telescopic stock, silencer, and acog scope. (This is a shortened m16 with a small scope and a silencer.  It's small enough for close quarters, but very accurate and powerful.  Also, a silencer would help reduce noise and keep from attracting attention to myself.)
-Remington 870 3 round shotgun attached to the bottom rail of the SR 16.  (Although this would weigh down the SR 16, it would allow quick access to a secondary weapon for close quarters and to add more stopping power to my arsenal.  Also, no lock or door will stand up to a point blank shotgun blast.)
-Glock model 19 9mm.  (This is a mid-sized semi-automatic pistol that accepts most other 9mm glock pistol magazine.  This is a popular model among law enforcement officers and is a popular pistol round. Glocks are easy to use and maintain, and tend not to jam)
 -Aluminum Baseball Bat. (This is my last resort weapon.  Also, this is a silent kill weapon... Relatively silent that is.  Plus, against a small number of targets, will save ammunition.)

Well, I hope I have added to your zombie survival skills.  Feel free to leave feedback and ideas.

Thanks for reading.

Lesson 1 - Who am I?



Hello Zombie Hungry Populous...

     I figured I would utilize the first entry to introduce myself.  I am not just a zombie fiction fanatic, but a child of the zombie genre.  I had my first living dead experience at the tender age of 6 when I stumbled across the film Return of the Living Dead (1985).  Although a wonderful parody meant to goof on the genre, to an impressionable 6 year old, this was a terrifying ordeal.  I spent  years avoiding horror films after this traumatic incident, but had a "renaissance" in and around my freshman year of high school.

A renaissance you say?

Oh yes... George Romero's Day of the Dead (1985).

Enough history. How about a little perspective huh?

     Alright then.  George Romero, the grandfather of the zombie genre, holds a special place in my heart.  He created the slow moving, decaying, unintelligent, flesh eating ghouls we have grown to know and love.  But... my favorite zombie film happens to be Lucio Fulci's Zombi (AkA Zombie 2, Zombie Flesh Eaters, Etc.)


     Yes, I know, I know... Dawn of the Dead (1978) is the standard, but I feel that the sense of claustrophobia and dread is absolutely overpowering in Zombi.   Lucio Fulci creates an atmosphere rarely seen in the horror genre that makes me uncomfortable from the very first scene, and when coupled with inventive gore scenes, and a rather unique score, it is one remarkable film.  As far as the Romero quintet of films (soon to become a sextet,) I believe that Day of the Dead (1985) is the best constructed of the lot, and I am also partial to The Beyond, Shawn of the Dead, Dellamorte Dellamore, and Braindead.  (More on these to come in future blogs... remember, this is just a barebones introduction.)

So that should be a glimpse of my preferences... Important to know who your professor is...

     Ok, so what do I intend on doing via this blog... I intend to discuss how to survive any number of zombie outbreak scenarios.  And yes, I know what you are thinking.  There is plenty of fiction out there outlining what to do in the case of a zombie outbreak, so why look to your blog?  And that is a valid point, but, and you may or may not feel the same, I have always been left with more questions than answers from all those supposed survival guides and blogs.  I have spent inordinate amounts of my life pondering scenarios and arguing points with fellow fanatics, and I have decided to share my insights and ideas with you, the zombie hungry populous.

I encourage you to share constructive ideas and insights as well.  Most of all, I hope you will enjoy this blog, and possibly learn some tips on zombie head bashing and apocalypse survival.

Stay tuned... more to come as my first real post will talk about my favorite zombie survival issue...
Weapon Selection.