Elements in Lit 201: How to kill a Zombie

Filed in Elements in Lit , featured , The Quirky Lover Posted on February 29, 2012 @ 3:37 pm 11 comments

I’ve been hitting the Historical Romance themed posts pretty hard recently, so I thought I’d go in a very different direction today: the most effective ways to kill a zombie.

I hadn’t really thought much of zombies before, not seeing how a book could be interesting with just a bunch of re-animated corpses running around. But, my opinion has changed greatly with my new found love of the TV show, The Walking Dead, and also having listened to Max Brooks’ World War Z. What solidified my change of heart was a viewing of Shaun of the Dead the other night. Quirk in the apocalypse? For the win!

The thing that has fascinated me nearly as much as the personal stories of survival in these fictitious renderings, is the tools used for self-preservation. I thought we’d take a look at what weapons work best when faced with a brain eating mutant.

I think in everything I’ve been exposed to one thing is in agreement across the board: the zombies exist because something in their brain stem activates to bring them back in motion, though far from life. This makes its head the prime target for the violence required to “take it down”.

First up, there are the tried and true methods of gunfire. This is a great option if you want to maintain a certain amount of distance from your target to avoid any accidental bitings from hand to hand combat. The downfall of this one is if you’re a crappy shot, like I suspect I would be. Probably a shot gun that could put a hole in the zombie as big as Rhode Island would be the best choice in this category.

Tied in with gunfire, you could also argue the efficacy of the bow and arrow or the cross bow. I think this choice commands even more of an accurate shot than the gun. It would still be fun to try though…

While watching The Walking Dead this past weekend, Rick made an impressive move with a hunting knife; it was a twist and yank motion, all while the zombie was lying on top of him. This one takes some definite guts, because it involves being too close for comfort, right? On the other hand, if you happen to be lifting weights and such, knowing that a zombie apocalypse is imminent, this is a good move for you.

Shaun of the Dead featured the old “use what’s closest” method. In this case, it was a cricket bat, but I think any piece of sporting equipment would do: baseball bats, ice skates (great for severing spinal cords), golf clubs (the iron shafts would be best), and so on. The downfall with these modes of pain comes in the amount of muscle you need to put behind each swing. I don’t know about you, but I’d be using all my might to make the biggest impact.

The most inventive method I’ve read about came from World War Z. In this book that recounts how the epidemic started and how it affected human relations, one character talks of seeing a man on roller blades. As he nears the speaker, it is evident that his chosen weapon of a hockey stick with a meat cleaver attached to both sides of the stick’s  blade. I didn’t add in the hockey stick because of its tendency to break with even just a good slap shot during a game. The added strength of those knives, though, would make this a a force to be reckoned with. My personal aversion to this one? I have a serious lack of roller blading skills, which would probably make me trip and fall right at the zombies feet.

All in all, I hope that the people out there that predict a zombie up rise as inevitable are wrong. In the mean time, I may just up my training with a shot gun…and maybe the roller blades.

What is the best defense you’ve heard about when fighting the undead? Which weapon would you chose?

About Jackie

Jackie is a quirky mom, living in Ontario, Canada. She's a bookkeeper by day and a book lover by night. She also blogs at The Novel Nation and writes occasionally for Heroes and Heartbreakers.

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  • Jan February 29, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    A bullet directly between the eyes is the best method – agreed after hours of discussion in our flat.
    We’re still working out our evacuation plan for when they attack.

    • Jackie February 29, 2012 at 4:03 pm

      Hahaha, good idea! I also totally run like a girl, so I’ll be the one taking it for the team and having my brains eaten :p

  • blodeuedd February 29, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    Maybe a flame torch, or anything that I can use and being very far away from them

    • Jackie February 29, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      Yes! A flame thrower. That was the best tool used in the book Robopocalypse to fight the crazy robots. It would work just as well on the zombies 😉

  • draconismoi February 29, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    No way! Rotting corpses are extremely flammable – and with all those decomposition gases? Explosion, explosion, explosion. Zombie pathogens tend to be transferred by fluids. Do you want zombie virus splattered everywhere? No.

    If you know how to make/have unlimited access to bullets – than a gun is best. I see myself as the sniper sitting on the roof of a fortified building, picking off all the zombies that come too close.

    I’d be learning to use a sword in the zombie apocalypse. Something lightweight, yet sharp enough to decapitate. Maybe a machete. Just like Selene in 28 Days Later.

  • Sullivan McPig March 1, 2012 at 4:27 am

    A crossbow, like Darryl in The Walking Dead uses. Silent and deadly. And a Katana for those close combat moments

  • aurian March 1, 2012 at 7:09 am

    I absolutely hate reading about zombies, let alone watching them on tv. So thanks for the post, but I really don’t want to think about it too much. If the Zombie Apocalypse happens, please let me be one of the first casualties! I don’t want to survive and have to fight for my life.

  • sienny March 1, 2012 at 7:13 am

    heard many ways to kill an undead. some says flame, the other holly water, or good old fashion stake in the heart will do it. but if i face an undead, i’d probably gone freeze scared, then run like hell or fainted. yeah, what can i say, i’m a coward ~__~

  • Danielle March 1, 2012 at 7:55 am

    No flame thrower. It’s bad enough having a zombie coming at you but do you want a zombie that is now on fire heading in your direction? I think not. I love this post! I heart me some zombies as well. Not that I would snuggle up to one but they are interesting to say the least.
    I watch Walking Dead, I’ve read World War Z, and most of the undead novels out there. I love Dawn of the Dead and 28days/weeks later.
    My weapon of choice would be a Katana, quiet yet deadly, and of course if I hunkered down in a gun store like what-his-face in Dawn of the Dead I would set. But that didn’t turn out so well for him, so maybe not.

  • erinf1 March 1, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    I *luv* all things zombies 😉

    Thanks for a great post! From everything I’ve read, and I recommend the Newflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant (not as gory but still as thrilling), guns are the best, most fail proof weapon. Plus, it still gives you the option to run away since you are far enough away. No hand to hand combat for me! If the zombiepacolypse occurs, I’m hoping to be able to find a well fortifed gun store with plenty of food and water 🙂

  • meninaiscrazy March 1, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Everything that I’ve ever read or seen pretty much shows to take out the head. I love all the different ways they come up with though.

    My brother says a shotgun though. 😉

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