When killing’ ain’t an option.
It’s hard to believe TheDeadWalk.org has been around for eight years already! Hopefully you’re enjoying the eighth annual My Favorite Zombie month for October. Feel free to share your favorite zombie memories in the comments section below or to be included in the archives, submit your entry here.
In the previous months of Zombie Combat, we’ve explored battling the living dead in a variety of natural disasters including forest fire zombies and avalanche zombies. A tsunami zombies post was considered, but given the tragedy of the tsunami in Indonesia this week, it would have been in poor taste. Supreme Court Zombies was also briefly considered, until I vomited Linda Blair style at the thought of dedicating anymore brain cells to that dead beaten, and re-beaten horse.
Zombie Combat was originally envisioned to hypothesize about melee brawls with the walking dead. In zombie lore, any zombie that isn’t decapitated, shot in the head, or burned into a crispy critter still poses a potential lethal threat to the living. Therefore, most frequently, zombie forums and social media groups talk about all the unique and colorful ways to kill zombies in their slow (some are slow), moving tracks. Let’s get back to the roots of the column this month and look at some alternates one may consider when attacking a reanimated corpse hellbent on taking your life.
Attacking the hands (Grabbing)
Have you ever tried eating a cheeseburger or slice of pizza without using your hands? Sounds like a fun, messy, time, but I wouldn’t recommend you do it on a first date. During the month of October you may try bobbing for apples, but that is a rare exception to using hands to bring food to your mouth.
The classic style of zombie attack is to latch onto a victim and sink their teeth into their prey. If you were able to somehow severe a zombie’s hands or crush them beyond use, it would greatly increase your chances of surviving an attack. Perhaps that would be using a chainsaw (Read The Death of Sears and Roebuck) to amputate the zombies hands. (But if you had a chainsaw, why wouldn’t you just cut the head off?) A more realistic way to impair a zombie’s grasp would be to smash their fingers into a bloody pulp with a heavy blunt object. Managed digits may still be able to paw at you, but without opposable thumbs and grip strength, a zombie would have a hard time holding on to you.
Attack mobility (Joints/Legs)
Fight or flight (10 Hard Questions) is nature’s way of solving problems. Negotiation is a uniquely human trait, and one that doesn’t work well with the living dead. Although, that sounds like a humorous skit for a zombie movie to parody. There are a few reasons why you might want to attack a zombies’ legs and slow them down instead of kill them outright. For example, the zombie that is trying to kill you could be a loved one who recently has risen from the dead, and you simply can’t bring yourself to kill them again. Or, maybe you are outnumbered and it is a better strategy to run away from an attacking horde. In this later case, slowing down the zombies nearest to you, may be a better course of action instead of fighting each of them to the death.
Cripple a zombie by attacking it in the knees. Other possible areas you could attack would be ankles, the ball sockets of the hips, and any other place on the lower extremities to immobilize it. Remember, it won’t stop the zombie from trying to attack you. Recall the famous scene in The Terminator when the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) crawls forward with only his arms intact to kill Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton). A zombie is no different, and just because you brought it to a standstill by attacking it’s legs, that doesn’t mean you are out of harms way yet.
Attacking the ability to infect (Mandible destruction)
The primary way that zombies maim and kill their victims is from a bite. Driven by unrelenting cannibalistic rage, they sink their teeth into a warm body and chew, munch, and crunch their way to death. It’s as gruesome as it sounds, although more modern zombie movies have toned down the elements of gore. Peruse older zombie films from 70’s and 80’s to get an eyeful of true visceral zombie carnage. Horrifying.
It is impossible to bite someone if you do not have the capability of using your jaws. This is the very reason that alligator and crocodile handlers duct tape the powerful jaws of brawny reptiles together. It doesn’t eliminate all of the animal’s weapons; They could still claw you or whip you with their massive, bony tail, but it deprives them of their primary offense.
The same line of thinking applies to zombies. To dislocate a zombie’s jaw, aim for the lower portion, aka the chin, and strike it vigorously with a heavy, blunt object. The same rule applies with a gun as with the chainsaw from above; if you had a firearm, why wouldn’t you just shoot the zombie in the head instead of wasting a round of ammunition to its mouth?
The only good zombie is a dead zombie, but you may not always be able to kill one. It could be as simple as conserving your strength or having limited amount of resources available, but for whatever the reason, there are other options you can choose from when attacking a zombie. Slowing them down, at reducing their ability to grab and bite you can be effective ways of dealing with a zombie attack for a short time. Eventually, you will need to destroy the zombie permanently but buying yourself sometime could be the difference between life and death.
Zombie Combat is a series that investigates hypothetical situations involving the undead in melee combat. Will you fight, run, or hide? Have a suggestion for Zombie Combat? Leave a comment below!