Vampires and Zombies, part V: surviving the living dead

Originally posted on January 2, 2011 at 1:15 AM

Okay, we’ve talked about the sources of the myths, the popularization of the myths, and the distinctions and similarities between the myths. Now, the most important thing of all: how to survive if the myths become realities.

We’ll start with vampires. You’ve heard before that the best defense is a good offense, but in this case, the best defense is a good, well… defense. Ahead of time. A truly prepared person (which should, according to logic, include any and all boy scouts) doesn’t wait for vampires to make themselves known. Now is the perfect time to string your porch with garlic, place crosses (backed by faith, of course) on each door, scatter your yard with grains of rice, and catalog-order those silver bullets. And don’t forget the wooden stake! These items will not deter the truly determined dead, but much like a security system, it will likely send them roaming to your neighbor’s house instead – a much easier target.

If it’s personal, such as a relative or lover returned from the grave to seek vengeance or convert you to the immortal, they’re coming to your house no matter what you put up. In this case, you’ll be happy to hear that the ultimate stopping power belongs to you: the power of no. That’s right kiddos, just say no. To get into your house, a vampire must first get an invitation over the threshold. And unless you’re a bit of an idiot, you won’t give them that. Well, maybe that was a bit harsh. The emotional pull of seeing someone you thought was dead now standing on your doorstep could easily become overwhelming… but don’t give in. They are not who they were; they are now a soulless body seeking blood. Send them away. Stay inside. Call your local vampire executioner. And never ever EVER look a vampire in the eyes.

So if bloodsuckers are your pest of choice, you’re all set. Let’s move on to zombies. There are two basic schools of thought when it comes to surviving a zombie apocalypse: 1) fortify and stay put or 2) keep moving and don’t let them find you.

The thinking behind strategy one is to minimize chance of exposure to the zombies. If they can’t get to you, they can’t chomp you. The more you move, the more likely you are to meet other uninfected and be coerced to take them on – thus upping your general risk factor. Pros to this strategy include normality, a schedule, and the potential for something that resembles regular life. Cons to this strategy include trouble obtaining new resources and the possibility of being discovered and overpowered by the undead. If this is the strategy you decide to go with, the most important thing is to choose a good location for your hide-out. You need defenses such as high walls or natural barriers as well as ample food and fresh water supplies – preferably renewable resources. Have an exit strategy, don’t let in strangers, and never, ever relax your guard.

The theory behind strategy two is to escape the threat. Surrounded by zombies? Just leave. Okay, it’s not quite that simple. It is a risky choice in the immediate present, but if you travel light enough and move quickly enough, you may be able to reach an uninfected location. Pros to this strategy include new opportunities to obtain better resources, excitement, and the unlikelihood of being cornered. Cons include the possibility of running into brigands, becoming stranded, and physical and mental strain. If this is the strategy you decide to go with, it’s important to set some ground rules: are you allowing outsiders to tag along? Who is in charge of decisions? Don’t forget to ration provisions, weapons, and gear. Where are you going? It’s important that the whole group knows the plan, be it one or fifty. Know how much you’re willing to sacrifice, always thoroughly check new stop-sites, and build trust with your travel mates.

Hopefully the dead will never walk the earth, but if they do, you need to be prepared. Good luck, and Godspeed.

Be sure to check out the other posts in the series:

Vampires and Zombies, part I: introduction

Vampires and Zombies, part II: the popularization of vampires (in western culture)

Vampires and Zombies, part III: the popularization of zombies (in western culture)

Vampires and Zombies, part IV: compare and contrast

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  • A. B. Davis

    This was a fun and informative series, Annie! I think my favorite parts were I and II, but I really loved the tidbit about viral-outbreak, apocalyptic setting stemming from I Am Legend and lending more to the zombie genre. So interesting! Thanks for being even more obsessed with these creatures than I am!

    • Thanks Ashley! This was one of my favorite blog series to do ever, so I’m glad you got something out of it! 🙂