Friday, May 23, 2008

Public Service Announcement: Making your zombie plan

Welcome to my place of repose here on the river Styx. Yes it's a quiet and peaceful place right now, but here between the living and the dead things can get interesting without a moments notice. Sure it usually starts over there in the land of the dead, but it almost certainly will have repercussions on the living world. It's almost mind boggling that the land of the living is perpetually caught unawares and unprepared. So here are some tips in preparing yourself and your family for the next inevitable Zombie breakout.

1. Know your Zombies: There are essentially three main category of Zombie, one should be able to identify each of these categories if one hopes to be able to effectively survive an outbreak.

Traditional Zombies--Classic or traditional Zombies can be identified by their vacant expression, relatively healthy complexion and robotic behavior.
These zombies are born of Voodoo practice. As such it is important to know they are not infectious and are always under the control of the individual whom is responsible for their creation. If you are facing attack of this type of zombie be warned it is extremely likely such attacks will persist until you find and deal with the voodoo Priest or Priestess who has it in for you. There is good news for you if this is your situation however. First off their numbers will be limited buy the number of recently deceased bodies available to the offended practitioner, the number vulnerable fools whom could be turned into living zombies and the relatively involved spells or "tricks" required to create them. Secondly this class of zombie is awkward and slow moving, making escape through limited confrontation a possibility. This type of zombie may still be an entranced living mortal or a deceased corpse, therefore a simple body blow or serious body wound may incapacitate or dispatch such a zombie, but then again it may not.
It is important to understand that there are relatively few films or accounts dealing with individuals dispatching traditional zombies, so I cannot say with certainty that even the tried and true shot to the head will achieve the desired results. The only certain way to deal with traditional Zombies is by dealing with the conjurer or with fire/incineration.

Modern Zombies--The living dead. First described by George Romero, this variety of Zombie can be easily recognized buy the shambling gait, the vacant expression the pallid gray complexion and the compulsive behavior directed towards attacking and consuming living human flesh. Unlike traditional zombies this variety can be quite vocal although completely incoherent. They do not obey a master rather they simply obey instinctual behavior: kill--eat.
The origins of this category of zombie is not entirely clear, whether it was of extraterrestrial/cosmic or earthly nature, the simple fact is that it is their existence is unintentional and is their behavior is not under intelligent control. Warning highly infectious! Whatever was the initial cause of the recently deceased returning to life, it is of relatively little consequence. Their numbers increase exponentially as any victims which are not consumed quickly succumb to a mysterious illness and upon death become zombies themselves. Although they are slow moving and, like traditional zombies, with some effort an individual may fight through them to escape, death due to infection is an extremely high risk.
Destroying Modern Zombies is relatively straight forward, however limited in options: destroy the brain, separate the brain from the brain-stem or incineration.

Contemporary Zombies: This category included supernatural zombies, pseudo zombies and non-zombies. Not all script writers or directors choose to stick with the rules established for Modern Zombies, and thus we end up with this motley collection of the undead or seemingly- undead, so beware if faced with zombies of this variety.
Because of the variable nature of this type of zombie, they can be more difficult to identify than the former groupings. However it is more often the trend for this type of zombie to be deceased for a greater period of time thus displaying a greater degree of bodily decomposition. Remember that in only a generalization however and does not necessarily apply. For example the non-dead are just that, living beings infected with a disease mimicking a zombie state and thus would show no decomposition or excessively pallid complexion, but are equally deadly and infectious. Unlike Traditional and Modern Zombies, Contemporary Zombies as of recent have been known to move exceedingly fast, so stay on your toes until you are certain of what type of zombie your are dealing with.
Again because the rules have been flaunted so loosely in the past, there is no simple or guaranteed way to dispatch a contemporary zombie. Even incineration of this class has been know to emit dust and smoke that can rain down creating more zombies from long dead corpses. Similarly supernatural zombies may only be susceptible to the destruction of the greater evil and magic that has created them. The majority however respond equally well to severe head trauma in the same manner as Modern Zombies, thus this is the recommended first course of action. The key here is buying yourself enough time to get as far away from them as possible.

2. Making a Plan: One should not live in fear of a zombie outbreak, but simply acknowledge the possibility and prepare accordingly, as one might keep candles, matches and a battery powered radio in event of a power failure or earthquake, or perhaps like one keeps fresh garlic and holy water on hand in case of vampires. Once one accepts the possibility of zombie attack and has an understanding of the various types of zombie, they should quickly outline a basic plan that ideally addresses all three varieties of zombie they may encounter.

3. Has it Happened Before?: Fact is zombie breakouts are usually dealt with within days of the initial outbreak by high ranking officials and military or national guard units. So if your area has not been previously affected a much more short-term rudimentary plan should be sufficient. However outbreaks tend to re-occur and usually the second time can be considerably worse with the possible collapse of civilization. If your area has had a previous outbreak, you should immediately begin outlining a long term and dramatic plan for the eventual second outbreak. Relocation of your residence should be a first consideration (hello Pittsburgh).

4. Location, Location, Location: Densely populated centers are likely to be the worst in the case of modern or contemporary outbreaks, while rural tropical localities are more likely to experience traditional outbreaks. Remote rural Northern communities are likely the last to be effected by a pandemic. In addition to there being a much smaller population to have to fend off, weaponry and ordinance may be more prolific in rural areas and more easily acquired while scavenging.

5. A Safe House: Consider your residence, are you in a place that can be easily defended? How about an escape route? Certainly a place you can readily defend is a good idea, but be careful not to trap yourself in the process. A basement may seem Ideal but what if there are more zombies than you can properly fend off? A staircase is much easier to defend than multiple entrances and windows, so a property with a second story is ideal, as the living dead do not have the mental capacity to scale the side of a building to get to the second floor. Apartment buildings can similarly be defended, however beware the fact you have numerous neighbors all around you who could become infected, making your condo complex a hive of the living dead. A multi story building may not have simple enough means of alternate escape either. Consider this when choosing your high-rise.

6. Weaponry: The ideal weapon to deal with Zombies is a firearm, in that they can be engaged at a distance to reduce the possibility of infection. Different firearms have their advantages and disadvantages. Shotguns have really limited usefulness for entering the skull and damaging the zombie's brain, so while they would be effected against mortal invasion (which is a distinct and real threat), the are not a good choice for zombie protection. Large caliber rifles have tremendous power to remove craniums and are exceedingly accurate, however are limiting at close range. Fully automatic firearms are relatively useless as they do a great job of spreading a lot of lead around, buy only a small percentage of bullets used would hit the required target. Handguns however, are ideal for close range protection, but are less accurate and do not have as powerful cartridges as rifles. All firearms however are limited to the amount of available ammunition and reload rate. My personal weapon of choice is the Lee Enfield rifle. With the renowned speed of the bolt action (hence the mad minute), the ten round magazine, stripper-clip loading and a 17 inch bayonet they are a very formidable weapon.

Other weapons of choice: Chainsaws are very popular and if you happen to have one handy well why not, but in the end they are limited to their fuel and are rather unwieldy. If you are preparing for a secondary outbreak which in all likelihoods will last a while, tools or weapons that best represent a medieval lineage are likely the best choice long term. Examples would be baseball bats, axes or machetes. These will not fail you even it matters the most. But remember in hand to hand combat you are most likely to succeed against one or two individuals rather than against a horde pouring through a door or window which are likely to overwhelm you.

7.Long Term Planning: If your area is likely susceptible to a long term outbreak, then it would be wise to consider how you will acquire other necessities such as food and water, and replenish other supplies when necessary. Again counting on large public outlets and chain-stores, while they may appear attractive are wrought with danger, and might be best avoided unless absolutely necessary. Don't forget that these places are typically loaded with people and this could translate to more zombies, additionally other survivors and looters will have though of such facilities before hand and may be quite aggressive.

8. Other Survivors: Be careful out there. Not every survivor is necessarily going to wish you the best. they may be violent and present as much or greater a risk to your well being that the zombie horde if they become desperate and are otherwise ill prepared.

9. Other Contingencies: A good zombie plan will also prepare you for other contingencies such as home invasion of post apocalyptic holocaust, so once you have your basic plan in place consider how it can be easily modified to suit other conditions and threats. For example stocking a couple silver bullets just in case of werewolves too is a simple extension if you have chosen to have a firearm.

So there you have it follow theses simple steps when formulating your own Zombie Plan and you will likely survive the next zombie outbreak.

Gary D. Macabre

*update* as this post has taken on a life of it's own it would appear, I am adding links to forther related posts: A Further Guide to Zombie Planning - Firearms Part 1 - Firearms Part 2
Additional future zombie guide posts will be linked here as well.


B-Sol said...

Fine work! Max Brooks has nothing on you, sir.

Gary D Macabre said...

Praise from the master of things zombie. I know you must have a good zombie plan.

Shane said...

As a soldier, and an Infantryman serving the US Army, you can assume I would have a very distinct taste in weapons. I can assure you that a good semiautomatic carbine, much like the M4 would be the best choice. You may say they are hard to acquire, I say to be prepared s to take the necessary steps. You may also want to consider a Sub-Machine gun with fire selector switch. Consider, yes, the very cliche MP5. It has the ability to put a round in the brain and scramble the shit out of any rotter. Or, better yet try the 45. ACP firing KRISS, a very new Subby just released on the market. I do appreciate the simple effectiveness of the lee-enfield, but I still must be wary of a longer rifle, as when clearing a room, the length of the barrel will not allow me to successfully surprise the lone zombie standing in the corner. I would also recommend a 40. or 45. handgun as a sidearm, because it is always faster to pull out that pistol hand it is to reload. Also, I wouldn't recommend a chainsaw, as the noise may attract more rotters, thus only worsening your situation, unless your going for a good kill count. I wholeheartedly believe in getting a arbage truck, taking the time to scrub out the back, filling it up with food, and moving out into the woods. Also, if your looking for a vehicle to use in the wasteland left after the zombie apocalypse, I might recommend the ASV, maybe google image that one. Its what we use in Iraq, and if it can stop an IED, it can stop a zombie. Plus it does well going over rocks, and probably countless bodies of second dead rotters.

Anonymous said...

none of you actually believe any of this bullshit?

Gary D Macabre said...

Why of course we do, it's imperative for the survival of the human race (or at least my own ass). The apocalypse is coming and a legion of the undead herald the end. Seriously, I thought about deleting your crap comment, but I reconsidered. Frankly I'm far more concerned about anyone who might think that horror fans take this for more than simple amusement, than anyone who would actually discuss making a zombie plan.

Shane said...

Seriously, my anonymous friend, just leave your single-minded stupidity at the door when you walk into a discussion, you future shambler. On another note, im surprised nobody has commented on my ideas about zombie survival.