January 12, 2011

Not Reel-y That Cool: Surviving the Zombie Apocalype

This is the second in a recurring series where we take a look at things that seem oh-so-cool in the movies, but upon reflection, would actually suck in real life.

(Previous NRTC Entry:  Leaping Away from an Explosion)

This Week's NRTC Feature: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

Braaaaaaaaaaan...  Is what I imagine a zombie who wanted to stay regular would say.

Maybe it's because of the recent airing of the first season of AMC's amazing new show, The Walking Dead, or just the recent glut of fascination the culture of pop seems to have with zombies (yeah, kiss our asses, vampires!), but lately I've been thinking a lot about the ins and outs of surviving a zombie apocalypse.

It's one of those ponderings that lives in the same genus as thoughts like, "What would I do if a genie (with or without the manic, coke-fueled personality of Robin Williams) gave me three wishes?" and, "What would I do if something got stuck in my belly button?"  But it's the man who takes these hypotheticals and actually prepares for them who finds himself surviving, while others are swept away in a wave of zombies, screaming, "Why didn't I take Shaun of the Dead more seriously??"

But while the movies and TV shows and books and comics and video games romanticize the notion of the fighting spirit of human nature triumphing over the scourge of the unholy force that tries to eradicate them, doing so really shifts attention away from the aspects that are not nearly as cool.  Allow me to explain...

1. There are a bunch of undead people shuffling around who would very much enjoy chewing on your brains.

Self-explanatory, right?  This is bad.  I, for one, like my brains.

2. Uh... There are a bunch of undead people shuffling around who would very much enjoy chewing on your brains.

That's it.  There's really not much beyond that.  Oh sure, I could go on about how the extreme isolation from constant human contact would be depressing and upsetting to the point of madness or how our reliance on electronic gadgetry and automated services would render the vast majority of us unable to survive in such an environment, but really, the whole "presence of zombies" thing sort of covers everything else, umbrella-style, don't you think?

Instead, I'll be a helping hand in a sea of grasping zombie arms.  I'll provide you with the knowledge and tips that you'll need to survive when everything goes all 28 Days Later on your ass.

You know a lot of the obvious zombie outbreak survival tips.  Stay out of places where you could be cornered.  Don't draw attention to yourself.  Keith Richards is not a zombie.  Aim for the brain if you have to fight.  Weapons that don't need reloading (like an axe or a samurai sword) are better than ones that will run out of ammo.  Regardless of how awesome it would be to meet Undead Jimi Hendrix, Undead Jimi Hendrix will eat your face off.  And so on.

What truly separates the survivors from the appetizers, however, are the little things; tips that you won't necessarily be able to glean from an occasional viewing of a George Romero film.  The fringe elements of zombie survival, if you will.  Below, a few examples...

Tip: Don't be caught wearing the Lady Gaga meat dress.

"Ra Ra Ah Ah Ah!  Roma Roma-maaarrrgharrrggghhhhhh!!!!"

Those are the last words of Lady Gaga, or you, if you choose to wear her infamous meat dress from the VMAs during the zombie outbreak.  I appreciate avant garde fashion as much as the next straight man (meaning, I don't at all, but whatever), but when society has fallen and there are no longer any hoity-toity style critics remaining to fawn over your steak-tacular attempt at out-there clothing choices, there is certainly no need to wear something that makes you even more of a walking sandwich for the undead.

Tip: Come to think of it, don't be Lady Gaga, period.

Really, any Lady Gaga enthusiast would be wise to drop their practice of dressing like their idol once the undead rule the day.  She might be a singular presence in the fashion world now, but in a world where you have to rely on agility, speed, and quick reactions to keep you from being eaten, she'll be dead before she knows it.

Take her oft-discussed bubble dress, for example.

The hindrance to proper mobility aside, if she got caught up in a strong wind, she could easily be blown into certain doom.

Tip: You cannot destroy a zombie's brain by simply "blowing its mind, man."

You might think that your theory about how the portrayal of the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi is an allegory for modern class structure is really intuitive, or that you have an amazing insight into how the war in Iraq was secretly linked to the popularity of Miley Cyrus, but to zombies, you're just a blabbering snack.

Just shut up and run, hippie.

Tip: Do not try to defeat the zombies using the power of love.

These tips alone won't guarantee your safety in Zombieland (a lot of weapons and/or Woody Harrelson would help), but they'll certainly lend a helping hand. And that counts for a lot when you look down and someone is chewing on one of yours.

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