I’ve been thinking a lot about zombies lately. Tis' the season, I suppose. The Undead have been running around in my head partially because I’ve been watching too many zombie flicks lately and partially because I’ve felt very much like an undead creature roaming the Earth mindlessly, propelled forth by only base survival instincts. While I haven't yet developed a craving for brains or human flesh, I have become practically dead to the world & am only motivated into action when starvation becomes a real threat. I can't seem to find the will to do a damn thing. If that's not zombie-esque, I don't know what is. If this cloud of crappiness doesn't blow over soon, I'm going to hit up the Taco Truck for some of those cabeza tacos & see if feasting on the brains of cows has any effect on my condition. Sick, huh? I can't help where my mind goes when my mood is this dark. You should hear the analogies I come up with when I'm really fucking angry. Talk about sick thoughts...
Anyhow, I've been thinking about zombies from many angles; the mythology, symbolism, the films that have scared the shit out of me & the ones that have made me double-over with laughter, my zombie escape plans in case of emergency, the possible outcomes of a zombie apocalypse, and of course Leslie Hall's call to arms "Zombie Killer". Since I'm all for preparedness in mythical situations, I've compiled my best (?) thoughts on the subject so that you might take them into account before an emergency catches you off guard. Nobody wants to be the jackass left to fend for herself come Z-Day, right? I suggest you take notes.
- In every single zombie movie I've ever seen, there is at least one character that is bitten & he or she manages to conceal the fact until it's almost too late. The character knows full well that they will inevitably turn into a man-munching monster, but they hide their injuries from their companions without regard for the danger they expose everyone to. Whether inspired to withhold information by the fear of un-death, by the duty to protect fellow survivors from immediate harm, or by some unknown motivating factor, these Idiots will turn into Z-boys/girls immediately after the protagonists have overcome some major hurtle. This is a give-in plot twist in any z-flick (with the exception of 28 Days Later). Just when you think it's safe to breathe calmly, this quiet mother-fucker in the corner flips his lid & starts chowing down on your mates! Example A: In Dawn of the Dead, the pregnant lady is infected & shielded by her husband because he wants have a family, undead or otherwise. The result is one of the most nauseating birthing scenes in cinematic history, complete with a zombie infant, that begs the question: WTF? How the hell did the injuries of Preggo go unnoticed? Wouldn't you feel obligated to check on the pregnant lady every once in awhile? Example B: In Shaun of the Dead, Shaun's mother conceals a bite for most of the movie until it is discovered just as the masses of zombies threaten to penetrate the survivor's barricades. Even though there are slews of undead interlopers to worry about, Shaun & his nemesis,David, squabble about blasting the old biddy until she lunges at Shaun & is met with a shotgun blast to the face. Shaun's mother undergoes the slowest transformation into zombie-dom of the entire film, just so the flick could accommodate this necessary plot twist, I suppose. Example C: Resident Evil Extinction has it's wacky, off-color, Black Guy character, L.J., get bit early in the movie, but he doesn't turn until much later when a zombie attack forces him into a truck with the movie's token damsel-in-distress. She saves his ass by blasting an attacker with a shotgun, only to have L.J. flip the script on her moments later. CONCLUSION? Let us learn something from the predictable plot devices of Hollywood's horror genre: In the event of a zombie attack/outbreak/invasion, force all of your travel companions to strip down periodically so that you might check for gnaw marks. Define "periodically" by the rate at which bite victims have been observed to change. If any individual appears to have sustained a wound, shoot that mother fucker. You'll thank me later.
- White people hijacked the Zombie myth. It's origins are found in Voodoo teachings, in the Afro-Caribbean tradition, it comes from Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Southern Louisiana's Creole regions. This being the case, how come zombie movies are almost entirely cast with white folk? Always one token funny black guy or sassy strong black girl in a cast of blond, blue-eyed Anglos. I guess it makes it easier to see when a person has gone from feeling fine to flesh-eating if they are white. Skin discoloration is put on blast when the skin lacks color to begin with, I guess. This is the fatal flaw of the sole African-American character in the original Night of the Living Dead. He manages to survive the zombies that have taken down all his homies, only to be gunned down by cops that assume he is undead at the end of the film. When I started thinking about the subject of race & Zombies, I sought the insight of the Internet's many nerds (See video located HERE for an example of these folks). They had a lot to say about the lack of racism in zombie flix, but I'd guess that race-based prejudices wouldn't be on the fore front of one's brain during the zombie apocalypse so it would be difficult to include racist themes in such a film. That doesn't mean that racism "does not exist" in the genre, because even a passing glance at the casts of these movies suggests at least a preference for white actors. Come to think of it...ever seen an non-Zombie Asian in one of them? CONCLUSION? When Z-Day arrives, pray that your tan is in remission. If you are darker in skin tone, you should take up constant singing and/or moving about in an obviously un-zombie like fashion to avoid being misdiagnosed by the trigger-happy. Seek out the biggest bigots you know & laugh as they come to the bitter realization that the only difference that really matters is "Infected or Not", just as they are torn to shreds by their former white-bred, God-fearing, Christian hetero-normative suburban neighbors.
- To kill a zombie you've got to destroy it's brain. Or burn it's body into submission. Choosing a weapon for this task is easy if you are blessed with super-human abilities like Alice from the Resident Evil series - anything works when you're Queen Kick Ass. The muscled type are also easy to outfit, since they have the ability to knock heads clean off of necks if they need to. What about us layfolk? I can't imagine that it's easy for someone like me to ram a crowbar or a butcher knife through skull bone when I have difficulty opening jam jars and scooping ice cream. In films, shotguns seem to be the weapon of choice. A shotgun will blow a fucking hole through the Z's skull, so there is no question about whether it's dead or not, but I doubt a weakling like myself could weald a shotgun without months of training in advance. Plus, the re-load is a bitch. There is always the chainsaw, but short folk might want to skip it due to the danger associated with jumping (to reach a Z's dome) & operating a chain saw. In films, huge guns that usually come with plenty of kick on the rebound are wielded by waifs, which might mislead gals into having false confidence in their gun-blastin' abilities. On the other hand, that whole damsel-in-distress bullshit won't fly either. You maybe chillin' with the baddest mo' fo' & his impressive arsenal, but once he's downed by a gang of the undead you're fucked. Tiny Tina's should stock up on light-weight guns, flame throwing mechanisms, and long-distance weaponry like grenades or Molotov cocktails. Burning the body maybe a more realistic goal for those of us not familiar with guns. Plus, you'll look like a real bad ass when you engulf a zombie click in flames, then light your Parliament on your flamethrower. CONCLUSION? Be realistic about weapon choice, because a gun ain't worth shit if you can't shoot straight. Don't entirely depend on brawny armed males because they make for scary, muscle-bound Zombies later. Always carry a working Bic, because you never know when you'll need a light.
- I have a couple pieces of common sense advice for you that are all too often over looked by those under zombie attack. First, shut the fucking door behind you. You weren't born in a barn, idiot. If you're dealing with the slow & stupid zombies of the early undead era, a closed door is all you'll need to protect your brains from becoming breakfast. If you're faced with the faster & stronger menace of the modern age, at least the closed door will buy you some time. Second, hesitation when offing the Zombies formerly known as your friends & family is the number one killer of Americans in zombie films. Don't get all emotional & nostalgic! Just recall the bad times, like when Big Sister fed your Barbie to the neighbor's dog or when your Best Friend slept with that guy you had a crush on in high school. Makes it much easier to bust a cap in that ass when you remember why they're Bitches any ways. Third, standing in front of windows is not a good idea & if you insist on doing so while lecturing your companions, you will be pounced upon by an undead passerby. That's just the way it is. See any Z-flick for an example. Three rules to live by, y'all. Believe that.
Finally, before taking on any undead crisis, you've got to get in the mood. Gotta' be feelin' it, y'know? That's why Leslie Hall's Zombie Killer is already on my Mp3 player...just in case. Watch the video now, because you won't have time to wait for the mo' fo' to finish loading when zombies actually hit the scene!