My Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Survival Strategies

Abandoned city post-apocalypse

Just having a little fun on this one. Of course deemed purely fictional, my escape from the real world is to watch TV and movies about different versions of a post-apocalyptic world that is worse than what is outside my front door.

The true fans of the comic book series and lower-budget movies are likely going to be annoyed that I’m even writing about zombies because I get most of my knowledge from movies, TV shows, and the book “The Zombie Survival Guide” by Max Brooks. Even the CDC has a satirical article about what to do should the zombie apocalypse takes place, which just adds to my love for the culture.

I will cover three of my favorite movies and shows – Walking Dead, World War Z, and I Am Legend – because I am still in awe of The Last of Us. In the meantime, I’ve been putting together a Zombie Apocalypse Survivor Plan. I’m assembling an Avengers-style supergroup to cover the different situations that I assume would be encountered. I have assigned roles to certain friends and they laugh it off, but perhaps I will have the final laugh when any of the fictional scenarios happen.

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead Cast. Zombies and Monsters.
Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead called the zombies “Walkers“, which is fitting for the pace of their movements and how their transformation takes anywhere from three minutes to eight hours after death (in the TV version). These zombies can wander in every part of accessible land and are not affected by sunlight, so they can be encountered anywhere either alone or in groups.  They are able to see and hear, but they aren’t as strong, and people armed with a simple sharp tool would be able to defend themselves unless outnumbered.

After 12 years of the show (2010 to 2022) learning how to deal with the “Walkers” wouldn’t be the biggest threat to the survivors. Every living person would be raiding abandoned homes for food, weapons, ammo, or a safe haven with water and a good amount of furniture to block the doors and windows. Eventually, one crew will run into another and there is no telling if they are good guys or bad guys. If they are lucky to escape the bad guys, they often have to start all over – finding weapons, food, and anything else they had taken from them. If the good guys find another group of good guys, they may find a nice place to post up until something comes along to add some drama to the mix. This article details the number of zombies that were taken out by the main characters.

The plan to survive: Construct a group that has people with a particular set of skills: gardening, hunting, negotiating, scavenging, weapon training, cooking, doctor, and experts in all kinds of items that can be used for self-defense besides guns.

I Am Legend

I am Legend zombie movies
Copyright by Warner Bros.

I Am Legend is not a zombie movie but I put it in the same category for the purpose of this comparison. Watching the movie twice was all I could handle because I sobbed when Will Smith’s canine partner in crime was bitten and Will had to put him down in the middle of the transformation from dog to vampire. Seeing the post-apocalyptic world where vampires are the enemy is what makes the movie so fascinating. Will Smith’s character was immune to the virus allowing him to work on a cure, but this virus is much more dangerous because it is airborne and people can be infected simply by being in the vicinity of someone who is infected.

Based on the 1954 Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend, this 2007 version is the third time that this movie was attempted. This was also the first time that CGI was used for the adaptation likely a huge part of the movie’s success, bringing in nearly $600 million to the box office. That and Will Smith is one of the few strong actors that can carry the entire movie without a large supporting cast.

The movie starts with the typical chaos, dividing families and bombing cities and bridges. Years later and assumed to be the last man on earth, loneliness and unwavering determination to find a cure was Will Smith’s purpose for living. During the day, he lived a pretty normal life, golfing, hunting, cooking, and working out in his house. When the sun went down, the vampires known as the “Darkseekers” were so dangerous that both Will Smith and his dog curled up in a bathtub to hide until daylight. The “Darkseekers” were the most humanlike and intelligent of the other monsters mentioned here, able to do things like set traps and fight like humans – even appearing to have emotions. The most unique part of this movie is that it has two different endings that would have taken the movie in two very different directions.

The plan to survive: Do what you need to do during the day and then hunker down for a completely silent night. May the odds ever be in your favor. You’re on your own.

World War Z

16ZOMBIE3 superJumbo My Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Survival Strategies
Copyright by Paramount Pictures

In a matter of minutes, the recently retired scientist/investigator with the United Nations WMD Brad Pitt and his family are all together in the car playing a road trip game when chaos ensues. Brad used his government connections to get to a Navy vessel as a safe haven. He soon finds out that he either participates in the mission to find a cure or he and his family will have to be evicted.

These zombies are the worst. Fast, strong, travel towards the sound, and have the ability to turn a healthy human into a zombie within 12 seconds. Really tall walls didn’t do much if just one of these zombies hear something. That one sound would cause all the zombies in the area to charge towards the sound and get to the source however possible. In this movie, the zombies just climb on top of each other until they reach the wall and continue the chaos.

wwzwall My Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Survival Strategies
Copyright by Paramount Pictures

 World War Z shows the really compact city life under siege in a matter of minutes with no concept of how to handle it. The movie (for the most part) happens in real-time, with everyone in charge weighing different options as they arise and acting on them nearly immediately. They didn’t have time to grab a bunch of armor, they acted on what needed to happen and figured out everything else along the way.

The plan to survive: Stay silent in a high-rise apartment and hope things get better, or be a smart scientist and expert in your field so you get special treatment and security from the government in exchange for safety for your family. The zombies are worse, but the odds of survival do seem better because of the speed at which they figure everything out.

It’s World War Z for me

World War Z My Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Survival Strategies
Copyright by Paramount Pictures

Out of The Walking Dead, I Am Legend, and World War Z, I like the odds in World War Z. Possibly because it seems like the most realistic in how there are scientists and military aren’t completely clueless, therefore neutralized immediately. I’d like to think the military and government would have some kind of plan or would have figured out that zombie bites equal more zombies. The best of the military, the United Nations, and scientists could come together for the priority to find and bring together to have the brightest minds together to figure out a cure as fast as possible. Brad Pitt fits the role of World War Z, and he seems more resourceful and fearless by the way he makes observations in the middle of chaos and rallies everyone to put their trust in him.

Amongst my friends across the country, I’ve jokingly asked for their commitment to join the Zombie Squad that I am constructing that would lead to the best odds of survival if left with nothing but bare hands to start over and navigate to the safest possible place to set up camp. I have no skills besides being able to negotiate, so I should learn how to plant a garden or raise chickens or something. Otherwise, I’ll be the one hiding in the cabinets hoping everything will work itself out.

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