Surviving the coming zombie apocalypse

Are you prepared?

The zombies hordes are coming. It’s just a matter of time. Maybe not today, though it is Halloween. It could happen next month, when some egomaniac scientist at a giant pharmaceutical company creates a retro-virus that cures cancer, and death, with the little side effect of turning you into the walking dead.

Preparing for the zombie apocalypse can be fun and useful. Having a stockpile of basics like food, water filters and ammunition will serve you well if (a) giant asteroids smash into Australia and turn the planet into a snowglobe, (b) some idiot dictator decides to start playing global thermonuclear war or (c) the bird flu makes sweet love to the swine flu and turns into the 99 Percent of People on Earth are Dead Flu.

(Click over here to read Zombie movies are NOT standard horror movies. Then come on back for more deep, intellectual pondering of zombie flicks.)

Also, zombie movies are just fun to watch.

So let’s talk, you and I, about why zombie movies are so popular while you think about how woefully unprepared you are for any sort of disaster. What if the power went out right now – do you even know where the flashlight is, and some batteries that actually work?

FIRST: It’s always fun to imagine an apocalypse because that means there are no rules. You can do whatever you want. No police, no prosecutors, no jails. Total freedom. Need some groceries? Hop on down to the grocery store, shoot a few zombies wandering around the aisles and load up on all the canned food you can find.

SECOND: Zombie movies are completely unlike other horror movies, where it’s the Boogeyman who gets to have all the fun. In zombie movies, the heroes get to dish it out just as much as the zombies. They get to blow them up, dismember them with chainsaws and beat their zombie brains out with whatever croquet mallets or golf clubs are handy in the Sports Authority at the mall.

THIRD: Shooting zombies is a huge part of the appeal of zombie movies. DAWN OF THE DEAD had an entire scene where they played zombie chess by shooting zombies.

And this leads us into something deeper and all meaningful or whatever. Shooting things and blowing stuff up is fun. HOWEVER: We are trained from birth to not hurt other people, because if we ran around shooting and blowing up other people, we’d be in prison, and in Hell, if that’s your thing. Even if religion is not your thing, it’s morally repugnant to get your kicks by hurting people at all, much less setting treating them like zombies.

Men who got drafted to fight in World War II had trouble firing their rifles at other human beings, even though they were Nazis, because they knew killing people was wrong. This feeling was so strong that even when they were getting shot at, many soldiers didn’t fire their rifles, because killing other people was wrong. It’s good they have these instincts. Otherwise, we’d be a bunch of savages.

The percentage of soldiers who shot at live human soldiers on the other side went up in other wars, such as Korea and Vietnam, when they started having soldiers fire at human silhouettes instead of bull’s eyes.

This is why war propaganda portrays the enemy as cartoonishly evil subhumans, and why soldiers in every war have slang terms for the other side that dehumanize them. It cuts down that barrier.

With zombies, there’s no barrier. They’re not other human beings. They’re already dead. Zombies are unthinking monsters that you are supposed to blow up, decapitate or set on fire, because if you don’t, they will eat you and every other person you know and love. There’s no negotiation. There’s no chance for diplomacy. Kill or be killed.

And that’s why zombies movies are fun. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes feel bad watching stupid action movies with insane body counts. The evil bad guy, fine, he deserves it. His 5,932 soldiers for hire, they’ve got moms and wives and little kids, right? Not cool.

I don’t feel bad watching zombies go boom, though it is required by law for a character in a zombie movie to come face-to-face with a wife, husband, son or daughter who got zombified, and they can’t bring themselves to put the zombie down, and it’s the only time in the movie when you might get something stuck in your eye.

Otherwise, it’s a free-for-all. In regular horror movies, you can shoot the Boogeyman with a .357 magnum, stab him in the chest or plant six pounds of C-4 in his tighty whities, and he’ll still keep coming back. You will not get anywhere. It’s frustrating, and to me, it’s cheating. I mean, come on. How many times have Jason, Freddie and every other horror movie villain been killed and resurrected?

Zombies don’t cheat. They play fair. Though the heroes usually die anyway, at least they have a fair chance, and they get to romp around the apocalyptic wasteland, taking whatever they need and doing whatever they want until the zombie horde catches up and goes nom-nom-nom.


This is Guy Bergstrom the writer, not the Guy Bergstrom in Stockholm or the guy in Minnesota who sells real estate or whatever. Separate guys. Kthxbai.

Guy Bergstrom. Photo by Suhyoon Cho.

Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that won some award (PNWA 2013). Represented by Jill Marr of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

About these ads


Filed under 1 Survival Sunday, Zombie apocalypse

6 responses to “Surviving the coming zombie apocalypse

  1. Pingback: DECAY, a zombie movie made by real scientists | The Red Pen of Doom

  2. juliabarrett

    Damn! I just wrote a similar post for tomorrow. Must be because The Walking Dead is off for months and, love it and hate it, I miss it already!


  3. Well one could easily survive by just taking a few steps. A stilted home (like the ones in most beach areas) are ideal for zombie survival. But anywhere that you can either demolish or pull stairs up will be a forever safe haven against a zombie apocalypse. As zombies do not have the ability to jump you will be perfectly safe.

    I suggest somewhere above the snowline as once it snows the zombies will freeze and you will be able to forage for materials and maybe even find a new safe house for the next year.

    One could out live the entire apocalypse and die a normal death only due to getting old as long as they took the time to prepare. I suggest you do a bit of research on zombie survival as most people have the ability, but not the brains to actually survive.

    And the zombies would only last so long before rotting so chances are they are all gone long before you die of old age.


    • I believe your tips are chock full of Truthiness, and should be studied throughout the land. Stilted home, demolish the stairs, snowline — love it.

      Are you really from the zombie survival forum? That would be seven entirely separate types of awesome.

      Welcome, welcome. I will visit your forum and bask in its zombie glory.


  4. Larry of the Palouse

    I’ve been thinking about Gallipoli the last week or so. I know, product of a disturbed mind, “socially dysfunctional,” all those gems the doctors used to write on my reports. Umm, yeah, back to the point: good points about zombies. Better to kill real monsters than create fake monsters with lies and propaganda.

    And I’m ready for the zombie apocalypse, having learned esoteric skills and basic electronics at my secret cabin hideout deep in a wooded valley.


  5. I’m sensing a trend here with the zombies. ;-) I’m not really up on my zombie films, but I did enjoy Zombieland. Cardio…Double tap…Wear your seatbelt

    I hadn’t given it much thought, but good points on why they’re easier to watch than war movies, or other violent films. 300 comes to mind.


Leave a witty comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s