This Halloween I went on a zombie movie marathon: Dawn of the Dead (both versions), Shaun of the Dead (excels as a zombie movie and as a comedy- how many other films can say that?), City of the Dead, etc… I’ve also been bathroom reading the books of Max Brooks: The Zombie Survival Guide (a fun read) and World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War (which is easily the best and most brilliant sci-fi/horror book I’ve read in a long time; since Max is the son of Mel Brooks and writes about zombies I assumed he was writing comedically and tongue-in-cheek, but not at all- in addition to creating a scary alterniverse he’s also a great writer, especially in the oral history work.)
Anyway, invariably such movies and books lead to the stoner talk (save that I don’t get stoned) of “Where would you go in the event of a zombie takeover?”). Brooks contends that a shopping mall is one of the worst possible places as the weight of the zombies at the glass doors would be enough to break through if nothing else did, while I thought the plans of taking a boat to an island (used in one of the zombie movies) was ludicrous (well, ludicrous being relative when discussing the plot of a zombie movie I suppose).
About the Romero & Brooks zombies:
Their strengths: they’re insentient to any kind of pain, do not need oxygen to stay alive [and thus can live underwater or in almost any other environ save fire], they’re incapable of fear or any kind of emotion or rational thought that could prevent an attack, their bite is 100% fatal [and in Brooks is done not to feed for hunger’s sake but to reproduce the virus], they have excellent eyesight and smell where their prey is concerned, they can survive anything other than decapitation or the destruction of their brain [even a disabled zombie can still attack]. (In the most recent DAWN OF THE DEAD they were capable of moving fast as well but in Brooks and other zombie movies they’re slow and lumbering, so I’ll stay with that one; also in Brooks the zombie virus [called solanum is so lethal it even kills microbes and thus their decomposition is slowed by up to three years.)
Their weaknesses: they’re slow (see above), they are incapable of thought or strategizing or complicated movements (e.g. they cannot climb a ladder or even turn a door knob).
What you would need: a place where there’s not a huge number of people (a city would be the worst place for as with any other plague it would be most widespread there), supplies for at least a year or two until the zombies finish decomposing, a place where you can view the surrounding area to see them when they’re advancing, a place that would be difficult for a zombie with the above weaknesses to access BUT still allow you provisions, etc…
I think a zombie outbreak would be a really good time to become Mormon and move to the salt flats of Utah. In addition to having few people, surely some Mormon church or family that’s out of town would have years worth of provisions stored.
Failing that, some type of mansion or office building with boobytrapped staircases and a flat roof where food can be grown but remote enough that…
Well anyway, where would you go?
(A shame there are no theaters showing Gus Van Sant’s Last Days at the moment- nobody living or undead would be found there and there’d be plenty of popcorn and stuff for a while.)