Hi and welcome to the first episode of the Z A Monthly podcast. For those of you new to Zombie Apocalypse Monthly, we’ve been around since 2012 covering the best of the zombie apocalypse. We have existed as a website, a print magazine and now as a podcast. Regardless of the format, our goal has always been to provide a blend of zombie pop culture, zombie theory and disaster preparedness.
In today’s episode we’re going to look at whether zombies would be fast or slow, how effective a crossbow would be against zombies and the classic prepper dilemma of which supplies to stock for the end of the world.
Before we get started, it’s probably a good time to answer a question that we get asked all the time. More times than I can count someone has asked me “You don’t actually think zombies are real, do you?” My stock answer is: No there are no zombies…yet.
Theoretically, there are a number of things that could create a zombie like those we’ve become familiar with in books and movies. The top three “zombie-makers” are viruses, parasites and prions.
Because of their ability to mutate and spread rapidly, viruses are already known to create pandemics that have devastated human populations throughout history. Smallpox killed as many as 500 million people during the 20th century. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 15 million people contracted small pox in 1967 and of those 2 million died. Fortunately, vaccines have essentially eradicated this disease, but others like Ebola and influenza persist.
Parasites have already been known to cause “zombies” in the animal kingdom. Scientists have observed this in bees, caterpillars and ants. Most commonly, these are fungi that change the behavior of the animal they have attacked. While ants and bees have smaller and simpler brains than humans, it is not outside the realm of possibility that a parasite might find a way to attach itself to a human host.
Prions are misfolded proteins that carry infections to the brains of mammal species. Prions are responsible for mad cow disease in cows and Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease in humans. Once introduced into the host, the prions cause further replication of the misfolded proteins, effecting the brain and neural tissue. Dementia is a common symptom of CJD and a variant could well cause violent and homicidal behavior.
So with that out of the way, let’s move on to our first segment. Will zombies be fast or slow?
With the release of 28 Days Later in 2002, director Danny Boyle introduced a new type of zombie into the popular culture. This type of zombie was no longer a slow and plodding creature, but was fast and agile. They were able to run and jump, tackling their prey like an NFL linebacker.
Boyle has said that this vision of the zombie was created to restore some of the terror back to the genre after the comedy Shaun of the Dead had shown just how easy it was to simply outwalk a zombie. That makes a lot of since from a filmmaker’s perspective, but it invites the question as to how theoretically probable it is.
Given what we know about the human body and how it responds to infections, I would say the probability of a fast moving zombie is low. As filmmaker Simon Pegg has pointed out, it’s hard to run when you have a cold, let alone when you’ve got a virus so powerful it’s essentially killed you.
One of the traits we look at for zombies is that their brains have been attacked. Whether this be from a virus, a prion or even some sort of parasite, the effect is the same: the person acts as an emotionless killing machine because the brain is damaged. Because the brain also controls motor skills, it’s not hard to assume that these abilities would be similarly damaged.
Furthermore, decomposition or symptoms like ocular hemorrhaging (experienced as symptoms of some viral infections) would reduce the zombie’s vision, making it difficult to move at any great rate of speed.
If anything, a zombie might begin “fast” (being no faster than the original human host form) but lose speed as its brain and body slowly succumb to whatever is the root cause of the zombification.
Now that we’ve established that zombies will most likely be slow, we can look at whether Daryl Dixon has the right idea when it comes to taking them out.
From the first moment he was seen onscreen Daryl Dixon, played by Norman Reedus, has captivated fans of The Walking Dead. There are many factors that play into this appeal, but there is no denying his trademark crossbow plays a big pan in it.
But just how effective would a crossbow be in a zombie apocalypse scenario? Mark Sidelinger. a crossbow advocate and certiﬁed archery instructor, said these hunting weapons have a history of use in warfare and should be a part of every zombie ﬁghting squad’s arsenal.
An advantage over a traditional long bow or modern recurve bow, is the short amount of time it takes to familiarize oneself with the operation of the crossbow, Sidelinger said, particularly if a veteran shooter is on hand to provide instruction.
“An individual with average talent, that follows instructions can become proﬁciently successful at using a crossbow for Zombies within an hour.” he said. “The caveat is to keep your shots within a reasonable distance when ﬁrst starting out practicing. Then, as your skills improve, you can increase your shot zone.”
Sidelinger said it is important to practice until your shots all fall within a group no more than 4-inches in diameter. This will ensure that you are capable of making consistent headshots.
Once a shooter has the skills, the tools will do the rest of the work. Sidelinger said modern crossbows are more than capable of dispatching a zombie.
“With many of today’s crossbows producing over 100 foot/pounds of kinetic energy, skull penetration is easily managed,” he said. “I would suggest one of Easton’s new Deadbolt crossbow arrows for this reason. A chisel-tipped broadhead produces bone-cnishing performance to the skull.”
Like traditional bows. the crossbow does have a weakness, however: It is hard to shoot at moving targets.
“There is a signiﬁcant level of skill necessary to shooting a moving zombie in the head. Depending on whether the zombie is a shufﬂer or a runner would determine the amount of lead, as well as the distance the shooter is from the zombie,” Sidelinger said. “Crossbows are best suited for shooting at standing zombies.”
If you’re not convinced and want to stick with firearms, you’ll need to stock up on ammunition and many preppers have stockpiles bordering on hoarding. But it bullets are just one of the three Bees of prepping.
So, which is more important in a zombie apocalypse: beans, bullets or bandages?
This is a question that gets asked more often than I think it needs to because on its face it appears to be more a matter of opinion than it really is. The short and simple answer is beans, or food stocks, are the most important and are second only to water in importance for survival.
Without food, you will die in a matter of weeks. And before you finally die, slowly and painfully, you’ll be weakened and unable to do much of anything. It’s not a pleasant way to go. Even if you’re not expecting the end of the world, you should have a week’s worth of non-perishable food on hand for every person in your house. This will serve you well in the case of any natural or man-made disaster.
That being said, I am a gun owner and recommend that everyone serious about prepping keep at least firearm in their home. It’s just in the big picture, food is more important. I also don’t subscribe to the theory that “With bullets I can get all the beans I want.”
Aside from being morally repugnant, this theory is based on the assumption that there will be someone out there with beans for you to take and that they will not have their own bullets with which to defend them. Should this assumption prove false, then you will be left with little other choice than to eat one of your bullets. It’s a tough meal to swallow, but fortunately you only have to do it once.
As for bandages, they have their place and they should be a part of any emergency kit. However, your best bet is to double down on safety and injury prevention and avoid having to use them at all. Any injury that requires bandages is a risk for infection and will serve to decrease your operational efficiency. If you’re planning on needing a huge stockpile of bandages, you had better reassess your survival skills and perhaps make arrangements to join with more competent preppers in your area.
In zombie news this week, Sony Pictures Virtual Reality and XR Games have announced ‘Zombieland VR: Headshot Fever’; a new VR game set in the “Zombieland” universe, releasing this Spring for Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality headsets, and later for PlayStation®VR.
Inspired by light gun games of the 90s and the racing games of today, ‘Zombieland: Headshot Fever’ rewards skill, speed and accuracy with addictive gameplay, a range of powerful weapons and an exciting new Adrenaline system.
Fans of the hit ‘Zombieland’ movie franchise can step into VR to join Tallahassee, Wichita, Columbus and Little Rock as our four heroes roll up in Silicon Valley to launch a new kind of product; a zombie-killing race course called the Zombieland Invitational.
Players will try to survive ferocious zombies and enjoy the dystopian humour of Zombieland as Tallahassee, Wichita, Columbus and Little Rock train you to run the fastest, most dangerous zombie-killing race course ever devised – the Zombieland Invitational!
‘Zombieland: Headshot Fever’ combines classic arcade light gun shooting with split-second racing mechanics. Two quick headshots turn the world slow, giving players more time to rack up combos, get faster times and claw their way to the top of the leaderboards with awesome weapons, powerful upgrades and head-popping, clock-stopping, zombie-killing arcade action!
If you prefer strategy games, the studio 37GAMES is launching its latest zombie-themed game First Refuge Z in several countries this week.
Unlike other mobile games of its kind, First Refuge Z creatively combines underground shelter building, zombie hunting mechanics, and strategic war game elements, bringing a breath of fresh air to the genre. According to 37GAMES, First Refuge Z is now downloadable on Google Play and players can pre-register on the App Store. Meanwhile, the company has also released a brand-new cinematic trailer for the game.
First Refuge Z is set in a world where humanity has been brought to the edge of extinction by a deadly zombie virus. The desperate actions of the remaining survivors seem futile in the face of treacherous bandits, hordes of zombies, and sinister corporations that roam this wasteland, all contending for supremacy.
In the world of First Refuge Z, each player can construct and customize a unique underground city. By building rooms of different specialized functions, residents can live safely and happily in their underground shelter. Players can even assign residents to different rooms to do different jobs. Residents in the same room may fall in love with each other, get married, and bear children.
As the senior officer of this underground shelter, players will need to search for and save survivors, recruit formidable heroes, develop the underground city, and fight off deadly zombies as well as other players from over the world. All in all, it’s a world full of danger and challenges.
The hero roster in this game is diverse and varied. There are heroes from every background and race. There is a tough looking middle-aged man holding a cigar in his mouth while blasting away at the undead. Not to mention there’s the classic sheriff who is always ready to battle incoming outlaws and zombies alike. Let’s not forget the little girl named Arora who wields a crossbow and might be the key to curing the zombie virus. There are more heroes than you can count and each of them has their unique skills and origin story. Nobody survives alone. By sticking with these heroes, you can save humanity and even the world.
Similar to other strategy war games, you can deploy heroes and edit the lineup to challenge campaigns and defend your shelter against waves of zombies. Each battle requires valor and strategy. You can even see captains all over the world getting together to fight for the control of the capital. Who will achieve victory and become the leader of the state? Join the fray and figure it out yourself.
There are many new and exciting features in this game, it’s definitely worth a try. Android users can download it on Google Play now and iOS users should pre-register on the App Store right away. You can also follow the official First Refuge Facebook fan page to be updated on the latest news, trailers, giveaways, and more.
That’s it for this week. Thanks for listening and we hope you join us next time.