Why are zombie movies so entertaining? I think it has to do with the idea of people being able to do whatever they want without any real regard for the consequences. Drive whichever car you can find, live in whatever house you want, these are all part of the appeal of the zombie franchise. It’s kind of like the whole ‘marooned on a tropical island fantasy,’ except here you have guns and have to watch out for zombies. Of course, the zombie fantasy is largely related to what type of zombies you have to live with. If the zombies are slow and easily killed (as in Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland) then you are golden; if they are fast and hard to kill (I am Legend), well, that’s just not as much fun. I also think part of the zombie fun is being able to play survivalist. Everyone loves to come up with their own ‘Zombie Survival Plan,’ which usually involves large guns and well defended positions. If it were me, I would head for a nice house in the middle of nowhere, set up a perimeter that alerted me anytime someone came within 1 mile, and have a really big sniper rifle set up on my roof. Of course, before I can head to the house in the middle of nowhere I need to survive the initial attack, which is where I think most zombie survivalists go wrong. Most people’s immediate reaction is to hit the road and get out of town. This is really stupid. You can barely get out of town on a good day, let alone one where drivers are motivated by zombies! Does anyone really want to be stuck in zombie-related rush hour? Imagine sitting on 495 listening to the traffic report where, instead of hearing the usual, “Traffic is slowing down because people are rubbernecking,” you instead hear, “Traffic is slowing down because people are eating other people’s necks.” This is not a situation you want to be in, which brings us to my main point: The key to surviving a zombie attack is the first week. If you can successfully barricade yourself in your house for one week, you have a much better chance of surviving. That first week will allow sufficient time for all the panicky types to venture out in search of safety or supplies, which will of course result in them getting turned into zombies or killed. Personally, I think one of the biggest threats people need to face during the first week of a zombie attack comes from other people! Remember, everyone is going to be going nuts, and if you don’t think that old lady will blow your head off if she thinks you’re going to try and take that last can of condensed milk, well, then you just aren’t fit to survive to Z+7. Also, keep in mind that the government will probably try and restore order and it’s quite possible that within seven days the government will have restored control, which means that any crimes you committed during the zombie attacks (such as looting or killing people) are still punishable. You wouldn’t want to survive a zombie attack but then get sent to prison would you? With that thought in mind, here’s what you need in order to survive the first seven days of a zombie attack:
1. Well defended position. If you live on the upper floor of a building you’re golden. Just cut away the fire escape, board up the windows and doors, try and stay away from outside walls (remember, zombies can smell you through drywall), set a watch, pop in a few dvds and watch the clock. If you don’t live in the penthouse suite, well, you have a bit more work to do. First off, you need to seal the house. Zombies detect you by smell, so lock the windows, draw the shades, and cover all openings with plastic. This will help prevent zombies from getting hold of your sweet smelling flesh, which will help mitigate the need for step two: Barricade all openings. Even if you don’t have sheets of plywood sitting in your garage you can still erect some fairly formidable blockades. Take apart your bed frames and furniture and you’ve got plenty of raw material to work with. If all your furniture is from Ikea you may be in trouble.
2. Weapons. Fairly obvious, but not everyone has guns in their house. I recommend weapons that can be assembled using common household items. Cooking knives attached to broom handle are good, but you want to make sure your weapon has some heft to it. These are zombies we’re killing, not Roman Gladiators. The goal is to crush their heads, not cut parts of their body. Heavy and blunt is far preferable to nimble and sharp. If you happen to have a Klingon Batleth in your house then you’ve got the best of both worlds! Also, keep in mind that you don’t need to go Macguyver here; you only need a weapon good enough to get you to the next weapon’s cache, which in my case is Home Depot. Think of it like this: the cooking knife on a broom handle gets you to the chainsaw which gets you to the gun store.
3. Supplies. Water is the biggest item here because the human body can only go three days without water and after a week of zombie attacks public services will likely start to shut down. The moment you board up your house start filling every container in your house with water from the tap. Bathtubs, ziploc bags, pots and pans, anything! Make sure to cover them with saran wrap and to stir them twice a day to ensure that they remain potable. As for food, well, you can go almost three weeks without food, so it’s not as big a concern, but you will need your strength once you do leave your house. I’m sure there is enough frozen stuff and prepackaged food in your house to help you survive. Start with the fresh stuff and go from there and make sure to ration appropriately.
4. Entertainment. You’ll need to do something to fend off cabin fever but it can’t be something that will alienate your fellow survivors. Chess is probably a bad idea.
5. A positive mental attitude. If I’ve learned anything from TV it’s this: Zombies are not hard to survive provided you take the time to come up with a solid plan and stay focused. Keep a sharp eye out for the guy who starts to get overly depressed because that’s the one who will go crazy, do something stupid and get everyone killed. Nick, I’m keeping my eye on you!
Well, that’s it. Everything you need to know about surviving a zombie attack all the way from A for…attack…to Z for…well, you get where this is going. Oh, one last thing, and perhaps the one point that sums of everything you need to know to ensure your survival: You don’t have to be the best prepared guy in the world, you just have to better prepared than the guy next to you.