What is the Zombie War? Actually, this term is a misnomer. The zombie outbreak will destroy any government or military infrastructure within a matter of days or weeks. After that the human race will be its own army and anyone left alive will be a soldier.
And the only way to win this war will be to stay alive.
Keep the number of people in your party to a minimum. Too many people means dragging around someone who will hold up the group, get you in trouble or turn everyone over to the New World Order weirdoes trying to rebuild civilization in their own image.
It’s a good idea to size up the people you’re with, especially if you just all accidentally ended up in the same farmhouse together. This doesn’t necessary put you all on the same side. You need to decide right away if you want to make a stand with these people or if you’re better off making a break for it (which you almost always are).
Consider the Human Equation.
This is commonly known as the DOUBLE DIGIT RULE. It is human nature to seek safety in numbers, but too many people in one place attract too much attention, become difficult to manage, and increase the chances of conflict and possible insurrection.
Large groups of people don’t travel as easily in an urban chaos situation, and the wrong people can be dangerous to the group. There’s always that one guy who gets bitten by the zombie but won’t tell anyone until he’s suddenly tearing your throats out, or the aforementioned “let’s eat the dead” guy who’s suddenly eyeing everybody hungrily to see who’ll drop, or the ones that just go stir crazy or shell shocked to the point where they try to kill everybody for no reason. You don’t need that aggravation.
Beware of Mob Mentality.
Generally speaking, people tend to give in to mob mentality when their numbers go into the double digits. If you have a group, keep it down to fewer than ten people and do your best to avoid any body of people exceeding this number.
You don’t want your numbers to be so big that splinter groups become a concern. The only reason to band together with other people in the first place is to achieve common goals, so if you aren’t in agreement as to how to do that, then you probably shouldn’t travel together anyway.
A good example of this is The Happening (because that movie had to be good for something):
· When the trees decide to eradicate mankind by making them suicidally crazy, they specifically target large groups of people.
· Of course, emitting a chemical gas is a pretty indiscriminate assault that would be almost impossible to focus on specific groups in that way.
· Even so, it supports the idea of staying in small groups. This is true even in a tree apocalypse.
· You should also be careful of trees, apparently. The upcoming tip on wandering off also provides an example which illustrates this point.
Any Stephen King story supports a fear of mob mentality:
· In The Mist they want to sacrifice a kid to the mist.
· In Storm of the Century they want to sacrifice a kid to a warlock.
· In Needful Things the church crazies march against each other in battle.
· In The Stand the good guys are blown up by a wacko when they try to re-build society and the bad guys are blown up by the hand of God.
Build a positive group dynamic.
If you are going to be stuck with a group, do your best to assess who the members are and what they can do.
· Who are the weak links?
· Who might be the handiest to stand next to in a pinch?
· Who would be the first to suggest eating the dead if you were all stranded in the snow somewhere?
Mr. Take Charge:
This is the guy who decides simultaneously that a) the group needs a leader and b) the leader should be him.
He storms into the house regardless of whose house it is and starts barking orders at everybody.
He’s a good man to have around when everyone’s too terrified to act, but like all alpha males he becomes aggressive and instigates conflict whenever his authority is threatened.
· Ben in Night of the Living Dead is a good example of this. He’s quick, strong, and good to have in a pinch, but he wastes so much time arguing about who’s in charge of what that he ends up getting everybody killed.
· Ash from Evil Dead is the ultimate exemplar of this archetype. He even trains medieval warriors in melee to prepare them for battle against the Deadites, because Ash has a better understanding of the use of pole arms than medieval warriors?
· In the Dawn of the Dead remake the take-charge guy is a rational negotiator who lets the testosterone fly amongst the tough guys until they wear themselves out, then interjects with a plan. This is the best guy to have in charge in the situation.
· In Day of the Dead the military guys dominate the installation over the civilians and have to be deposed.
Sometimes known as “The Coward”, this is the guy who’s more concerned about his own safety or agenda than he is the good of the group.
Learning to spot these opportunists early is at least as important to your survival as general zombie defense.
· Cooper in Night of the Living Dead is just aggressive enough to challenge authority, but not to lead. Defending his family is his rationalization for getting them killed.
· In the Dawn of the Dead remake Mekhi Phifer endangers the whole group to defend his infected wife and their zombie baby.
· In Resident Evil
Eric Mabius betrays them
because he’s just dumb enough to think he can profit from a zombie outbreak.
This is an archetype created by James Cameron and perfected by Paul Reiser as Burke from Aliens,
and it’s been repeated ad nauseam ever since.
· Joe Pantoliano turns on his fellow humans for a life of comfortable illusion in The Matrix, believing they have no way to win against the machines.
· Patrick Dempsey similarly betrays the human race to the Decepticons in the third Transformers movie. I mostly mention this because it is even further evidence that Patrick Dempsey is a tool. But if Made of Honor didn’t convince you of that, I guess nothing will.
NEVER LET HIM IN YOUR GROUP BECAUSE HE IS TOXIC TO THE CORE AND WILL ALWAYS GET EVERYBODY (EXCEPT MAYBE HIMSELF) KILLED.
Wherever apocalypses happen there’s usually a sort of racist redneck there to cause trouble or bring much needed weapons to the group.
· Evil Dead 2 has a redneck guy who kicks Ash’s head in and tosses him in the cellar before he even knows what the hell is happening.
· Left 4 Dead 2 also features a redneck for comic relief, who is supposedly from
Savannah. But then,
according to them the Savannah Mall is downtown and contains a racecar.
· The Walking Dead TV show has some racist rednecks, one who is absolutely useless and nearly gets everyone killed and another who is a badass crossbow hunter with a hidden heart of gold.
There’s usually one person in the group who’s a total braincase and becomes a liability because they’re either completely catatonic or batshit crazy.
from Aliens is a good example of a
classic freak-out, but he valiantly recovers in time to die defending the
· Barbra from Night of the Living Dead is mostly catatonic in the face of the zombie apocalypse, but she Rambo’s up in the remake.
· River from Serenity represents this part of the group dynamic, although she ends up dispatching an army of space zombies by herself.
Rednecks and Braincases can go either way. Avoid them if you can help it, but if not try to learn as much as you can about what precisely is wrong with them.
Do not stray from the group.
The whole reason to have a group is for the safety of numbers, so avoid wandering too far from them. You also want to avoid having group members who are prone to panic or just wander off at inopportune moments. These people get themselves killed or, if you’re dumb enough to follow them, they get you killed too.
· In Cloverfield, the main guy keeps wandering off to find his girlfriend, who’s stuck at ground zero. They’re constantly having to wrangle this guy! I’d be like “dude, I know you’re being gallant, but seeing as how the rest of us have agreed to come with you for no apparent reason, could you at least acknowledge that you’re putting our lives at risk too?”
· In Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome the kids wander off without Max and immediately succumb to the perils of the post-apocalyptic desert.
· The lawyer in
runs away from the car to hide in an outhouse. This just gets him eaten. Jurassic Park
· In The Hills Have Eyes 2 remake, the group is constantly having to track down people who wander off. The girl who gets it the worst of all gets it because she wanders off to go to the bathroom! What’s worse - peeing in front of your fellow soldiers (which should have been part of your training anyway) or getting raped by a monster so you can make his Frankenstein baby?
· Wandering off is particularly bad for the ladies. In Evil Dead the girl who runs off gets raped by a tree. Trees may seem tranquil enough, but they’re apparently endless wells of hidden rage.
Be prepared to leave them all behind.
If you do decide to wander off, make a clean break of it. It’s cold, but this ain’t no “how to be a hero” book. This is a survival scenario.
If you’re so worried about what will become of people you know, then work out a survival strategy beforehand that will give you all a common rendezvous clear of danger. When in doubt, just split up and re-group later.
If it goes down hard and heavy, sifting through the rubble for stragglers is likely to get everybody killed. Make sure you all know what to do and where to be when it hits. More lives can be spared by planning ahead rather than getting left behind.
Your guy that wanders off? Leave him! He’s going to die anyway; he doesn’t have to take you with him. If he’s not even going to acknowledge that he’s wandering under the dragon’s foot, let him. He’s not going to make it.
If you’re already in a group, do your best to protect them, but don’t linger to find out what happened to the ones whose phones went dead.
There’s a time to stick together and a time when the lone wolf needs to walk alone. Forcing a group dynamic that isn’t working is the fastest way to kill everybody.