ZOMBIES ARE GONE … BUT JUST IN CASE, OUR “ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE”By Greater Long Beach
That’s pretty much been the equation throughout zombie history, whether in tales passed along around nighttime fires, preserved in painted or sculpted images or shared with the masses in books, radio shows, movies and what these days appears to be every network on TV.
But those stories inevitably include the exceptions to that rule—the ones that get away—and with thousands upon thousands of zombies preparing for an invasion of downtown Long Beach at the end of October, the challenge is to ensure that one of them is you.
Toward that end, GreaterLongBeach.com is putting the concluding touches on a Zombie Survival Guide, installments of which will be released to the general public on this site as we finish them. In a gathering emergency like this one, where the key to survival is getting situational knowledge and tactical response burned into your nerves with practice-practice-practice, there is no time to waste.
TODAY’S INSTALLMENT: HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Zombie lore continues to undergo its share of reinterpretation in pop culture, literature and media that hunger for supernatural escapism. As a genre, it’s proven impervious to the romantization responsible for sparkling vampires; even Seth Grahame-Smith‘s reimagined Elizabeth Bennet, a capable monster hunter, won’t suffer Mr. Darcy’s arrogance or slavering packs of night-walkers. Zombie lore is uncompromising, like the walking dead’s insistence on people meat. And if the brains behind Long Beach Zombie Walk IV happen to be packed inside your head—that is, if you are Logan Crow—you can never have enough of that stuff.
The one-night zombie apocalypse that Crow and his phalanx of assistants plan to unleash in downtown Long Beach on Saturday, Oct. 29—its centerpiece, a Zombie Walk of nearly a mile along and around Pine Avenue, that is intended to challenge a Guiness World Record—is not exactly his bouncing-baby brainchild. It’s called Zombie Walk IV, remember?
Three other Zombie Walks have come before, all of them along Retro Row on 4th Street and each of them growing in popularity and potential. Crow never passes up a chance to sincerely say how he hated to have to kill the 4th Street Zombie Walk. But that’s a familiar refrain in zombie stories, which all serve to reinforce the central fact of zombie … um … life: before something can come back from the dead, it’s gotta die.
Thus it is that the Zombie Walk’s reincarnation downtown makes it more than a promotion—never mind a perhaps-closer-than-comfortable metaphor—for Long Beach’s forever lurching and staggering business core, makes it more than a fundraiser for Crow’s own Long Beach Cinematheque, which has given us film events like Mondo Celluloid, Movies on the Beach, See This Book and the Downtown Drive-In. The Zombie Walk is has become an actual zombie! And can we just say that it’s never looked better?
The day leading up to the 8 p.m. Zombie Walk—and the huge outdoor after party—is a street festival that will feature fare such as live entertainment, about 100 vendors, art and film, food, and professional makeup artists to corpsify the living.
Crow & Co. also have their sights set on breaking two world records. Surpassing Seattle’s existing mark for the largest-ever Zombie Walk will require that more than 4,700 zombies assemble and ambulate up Pine Avenue on Saturday night. Beating Brazil’s record for the largest choreographed dance of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” demands that more than 11,000 people dance in Long Beach’s streets.
Zombies are serious business. So is keeping your head. Realize they are a triple threat. They’re wandering biohazards, they dismantle societal order and displace populations, and the scope of their infestation makes the outside rescue uncertain. Nearly every apocalyptic scenario involving zombies depicts the rapid spread of their infection. Sure, zombies can be outrun and outsmarted, but improvised blunt weapons and fast feet can only take you so far. Your odds of survival improve with numbers.
Horror movie protagonists have demonstrated and numerous zombie survival guides counsel the importance of staying calm. True, it’s hard to be the eye of the proverbial storm when it’s raining undead, but keeping your wits about means avoiding poor choices, like taking the elevator in an infested building or attempting a tender moment with a recently zombified loved one.
While physical fitness and shooting skills come in handy, collaboration is necessary. Not everyone is going get to buddy up with a professional first-responder, but you might already be with or among the CERT civilian disaster workers trained to provide emergency services such as first-aid and medical triage, light search and rescue, and mobilization.
Know Where You’re Going
Team organization is indispensable in implementing long-term survival plans, including securing supplies and successfully fending off hostile raiding parties.
Before you book it to the next town to escape your community’s ravening, shuffling hordes, you’ll need a safe place in which to regroup and resupply. Malls and big-box stores like Wal-Mart are stocked with necessities like food, water, medicine, batteries and a variety of combat-friendly implements. While malls are great, the business of securing their numerous entrances is cumbersome and deadly. Big-box stores might be a better option, as they’re easier to fortify and their entrances to guard.
If possible, maintain regular contact with other uninfected groups. The bigger the pool of available intelligence, the better informed your survival strategies.
There’s one assured way to put down a zombie, and that’s by taking out its brains. The Zombie Combat Club considers zombie encounters as inevitability, so they suggest keeping more than one weapon in your person, preferably with different ranges for fighting versatility. (They even have techniques for unarmed combat.)
Once you have your party organized, load up on:
Nonperishable food and water – Water, sanitation and electric services won’t run indefinitely, so stock up on drinking and potable water, nonperishable foods, and useful tools like can openers.
Safety and communications – Flashlights, batteries, radios for communication, ammo, and toiletries and medicines for DIY first-aid kits.
Clothes – Think of them as armor, layered strategically. You’re better protected a jacket and jeans than you are in a t-shirt and board shorts.
For now, see how long you stay uninfected among the (living) undead.