03 August 2009

Zombies 101

Last week I had a minor dream come true. I was shopping with Warren Lansdell to buy some more games for our gaming club, when I noticed Left4Dead on sale at Incredible Connection for R249. Now usually I wouldn't spend so much on a game, but when it retails for R799 normally, and it's a first-person co-op shooter about zombie apocalypse madness, I can't ignore it. I really can't ignore it, because with the impending doomsday around the corner, one needs to keep one's wits about and be mentally prepared at any moment.

Joe Graham made a comment on Thursday evening after watching Katherine and I play a bit of the game (yay for Kat! She recognises the value in mental preparation for the inevitable) that stunned me, and made me realise I have a responsibility - nay, a duty - to inform the ignorant masses about the inescapable zombie apocalypse.

You see, Joe Graham made a very casual remark that mainstream zombies have lost their "realness" because now they're too fast and agile and such, and recognising the telltale symptoms of an ignorant trying to pretend to be a zombie scholar, I responded with "what do you mean?" and Joe let out the revealing confession I was anticipating:

"well, you know, 28 Days Later - the zombies are super fast and agile - ..." ... I cut him off at that point and reprimanded his heresy.

I then realised many more out there may fall into the same trap as Joe, and to Joe's credit, he's already a great way down the path to complete zombie enlightenment, and I would certainly let him hide in my crawlspace during the invasion, provided he brings with him the necessary tools and skills - and of course, the willingness to submit to my every instruction since I am the commander-in-chief of the zombie survival group this side of the Umgeni River.

Let me put it out there for all of you to understand:

28 Days Later is a fictional movie based on the premise of a biohazard outbreak which is in fact a mutated strain of the Ebola virus gone wrong. It is a very sad by-product (or mutation) of a virus intended to curb the hostile and psychotic tendencies of violent miscreants, which instead fell into the wrong hands and became a military technology geared at empowering total domination of the globe. Interestingly, the Rage virus (as depicted in the movie) is also the French word for rabies, which is not unlike the virus in terms of behavioural effects and general efficacy.

However, I digress.

In 28 Days Later, the Infected aren't zombies in the traditional sense of the word, since they don't ever really die and then un-die. They're not undead. They're simply infected with a virus whose sole purpose is reproduction. The symptoms of the virus cause an uncontrollable, blindingly insane rage that drives the Infected to want to do really really nasty things - it just so happens that their blood-vomiting abilities coincide with the virus' need to reproduce itself. Ultimately, the Infected in this movie are virus-infected humans - they are as fragile as a normal human, but just carry a virus in their blood (the Rage virus) that drives them to do zombie-like things, but they're not - and in fact never will be - undead. A good illustration of this is in 28 Weeks Later where Robert Carlisle's character manages to use his swipe-card to gain access to otherwise secure rooms, while in an enraged state.

Understanding this very significant and vital disparity between REAL undead zombies and the Hollywood (or indie) concept as depicted in this movie is key to your preparation for the unavoidable apocalypse. Assuming a machete hack to the body will slay a zombie is foolishness. Furthermore, assuming a zombie will starve itself to death within three or four weeks is also tomfoolery.


Forget everything you have learned about 28 Days Later Infected, and focus on reality - zombies will not, ever, ever, ever, starve to death in a month. You are going to be in it for the long haul, and the chances of quarantine on the British Isles is also foolhardy wishful thinking. Zombies will not keep out of the sunlight. Zombies will not relent. Zombies will not be put down with a shot to the vital organs (apart from the brain). Zombies will rise from graves. They will rise from morgues. They will rise from the beds wherein parents take overdoses of sleeping tablets. There will be very little escape from a zombie horde. You must unlearn all that this movie has taught you about zombies, lest these aspects invariably become your undoing in week three onwards during the outbreak.


Gonzo said...

brYan, don't you think that in this day and age a 'bio-hazard outbreak' would be plausible? think about it for a second there, we got the swine flu at the moment so who knows what will be next. perhaps i have being brainwashed by the mainstream make-money-by-distorting-the-truth movie industry?

BrYan (aka Brattex) said...

Gonzo, I never said a bio-hazard outbreak was implausible. I simply said that the movie is a fictional account of such an outbreak, and that such an account of said outbreak should not lull people into believing that's how to survive a zombie apocalypse. The "zombies" in that movie aren't really zombies, so it's going to buy you some time but never outright survival. To survive a zombie outbreak, you will need zombie survival skills, not rage-infected survival skills. I'm more concerned about the zombies that don't stop running, don't stop when an arm falls off, don't stop when the sun comes up, or just plain don't stop. The Infected from 28 Days are soft in comparison to real zombies.