Attack of the Space-Radiated Zombies
'Tis the time of the season when thoughts run towards the peril of cosmic radiation and its effect on reanimating corpses here on planet Earth. Perhaps you think the chances are slim that these zombies will form Sunday night. You may be surprised to learn that cosmic radiation is the third leading cause of undead reanimation, trailing closely behind zombies formed through practicing the more traditional black arts and those reanimated by scientists during slack periods of advancement and, apparently, great boredom.
I offer three classic films for this case study: Ed Wood's 1958 film Plan 9 from Outer Space, George Romero's 1968 film Night of the Living Dead, and Thom Eberhardt's 1984 film Night of the Comet. In each of these films, zombies were formed spontaneously, with no human intervention. And, in each of these cases, the zombies threatened to outnumber the breathing habitants, but were valiantly beaten back by the living. Heed their lesson well.
Out of growing concern, I offer here a few survival tips for dealing with the random space zombie encounter this Halloween:
- The undead walk slow.
Plan 9 from Outer Space is the reanimation of corpses by outer space aliens hell-bent on taking over Earth. And while I shudder to think of their first eight plans, I'd like to stand on record and say that bringing back the dead to hunt humans is just plain wrong; we have enough problems dealing with aliens without the ill-timed intervention of a homicidal great-great Grandma back in our lives. Fortunately, most of us can outrun the undead, and view their slow, halting gaits as more of a mockery than an actual affrontation. Take this to heart.
- The undead are hungry and unreasonable.
Do not try to rationalize with the undead. They are only interested in munching your flesh (more so if you're a relative). The reanimation of the recently dead through cosmic particles is not an exact science, but it does assume zero brain activity.
- It could be worse - not all corpses become zombies.
Dealing with the sheer numbers of undead can seem overwhelming at times. Remember that it is only the recently dead that pose a threat. To drive this point home, we turn to Night of the Living Dead, where corpses are reanimated through the unusually large amounts of solar radiation bombarding the graveyards. Lest you get too complacent, those killed by zombies place themselves in the extremely high risk group of becoming the living dead themselves. This is how epidemics start, my friends.
- The odds look bad if you live around the Los Angeles area.
Space zombies tend to prefer the West Coast, preferably around the Los Angeles basin. However, denizens of Southern California, despair not. Instead, take a tip from the spunky sisters in Night of the Comet and spend the night inside steel-lined houses, protecting yourself from the harmful rays. When you emerge the next day, you may find a few piles of comet dust and a whole lot of abandoned cars, but the street-dwelling homicidal zombies that you stumble across are few and far between. And, truth be told, they don't act too differently from the usual natives of LA.