#1 Edited by Morrow (1870 posts) -

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

I always wondered that. If we had a zombie apocalypse, and there would be the kind of slow walkers (not the fast runners from Dawn of the Dead), would they really be as threatening as they appear in games like The Walking Dead? Sure, they still got the strength of a full grown human, but as they are slow and dumb, a sharp tool should take care of them... two machetes would be perfect though.

Even if it would be you vs. hundreds of them, as long as you don't get cornered you should be able to chop them down, one at a time. Or am I missing something? I just want to be well prepared :D

#2 Posted by alwaysbebombing (1838 posts) -

Well. If you listen to Tom Clancy, the flu virus would cause the world to break down in like, 4 days. So... maybe?

#3 Posted by Rainbowkisses (519 posts) -
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#4 Posted by ZeForgotten (10368 posts) -

No.
But those crazy running infected guys those would scare the living hell out of me.

#5 Posted by Pezen (1768 posts) -

The issue with zombies is two fold. One being comparable to the spread of a virus and the other being the emotional stability of humans. We have a hard time quarantining viruses that spread across the globe. Sure, they are a bit more invisible than a zombie, but a zombie that hasn't decayed for several weeks is hard to judge as a threat until you're a bit too close. And secondly, a lot of people probably would have a hard time killing close ones if they had been infected. So the threat of loved ones infecting one another and so on would be pretty big. Once you reach a critical mass, defending yourself against them would literally take an army.

I mean, tell 5 of your friends to walk against you constantly but slowly and try to push them all away at the same time.

That being said, I do think we probably could deal with it before it reached critical mass.

Granted, the issue I always have with the zombie apocalypse idea is that I instantly begin pondering how the hell I am supposed to secure the life of my family being spread between several cities and hours of driving a car. And some, like my little brother, doesn't even have the ability to get to me without public transportation unless I get to him. Which is all sorts of crazy to think about.

#6 Posted by Morrow (1870 posts) -

Well. If you listen to Tom Clancy, the flu virus would cause the world to break down in like, 4 days. So... maybe?

No idea how that relates to fighting zombies. Sure, with people all over the globe turning to zombies, our industry could collapse, nuclear power plants could overheat and all, but I was just wondering about a 1 on 1 fight (or 1 on many...). Because in zombie movies or games the people are mostly killed directly by the zombies, not by the consequences of the world collapsing...

#7 Posted by Video_Game_King (36566 posts) -

Zombies are actually a thing up here on the Moon, and they are not a threat at all. In fact, if we're talking about the "Walking Dead rotting corpse" variant, then that person will likely die all over again due to massive organ failure. Less a threat and more a great tragedy.

#8 Posted by Morrow (1870 posts) -

@pezen:

Good points. How an infection can be widely spread has been dauntingly demonstrated by Stephen King in his book "The Stand".

Well, if those five friends would slowly walk into my katana or machete, they wouldn't pose much a threat... but let's not try this.

Also, even when standing against large numbers of zombies, when you move swiftly enough and don't let yourself get surrounded (sometimes easier said than done, I know), you should manage.

Totally agree about the emotional impact though.

#9 Edited by TheVeteran13 (1266 posts) -

Statistics that I just made up show that in zombie fiction 80% of fatalities during the zombie apocalypse are caused by humans rather than zombies.

#10 Posted by Morrow (1870 posts) -

No.

But those crazy running infected guys those would scare the living hell out of me.

Yup. Let's hope we only get the slow and dumb kind when it happens.

#11 Edited by ShaggE (7148 posts) -

I can't imagine many real-world scenarios where a zombie outbreak wouldn't be stopped long before it grew into "zombie movie" proportions. Plus, real zombies (assuming we're talking parasites or viruses) would probably be even less mobile than they are in movies.

I just can't see a full-blown apocalypse ever coming about from that sort of thing. Even the movies rely on the characters not knowing what a zombie is or how to not enter biting distance of one.

Edit: I'm assuming this is a "patient zero" type deal, as opposed to a bunch of people getting infected all over the place, all at once.

#12 Posted by TruthTellah (9634 posts) -

Zombies are a decent threat. Though, they are a threat in the same way disease is a threat. Or death itself is a threat. Zombies simply represent an ever-encroaching death, and they serve to draw focus on the things which the threat of death bring out in the living.

#13 Posted by theguy (815 posts) -

I always found the idea of a country's army being overwhelmed by zombies to be a bit silly. All you need is one machine gun to spray at head height. Even without guns like one guy in full riot gear could take out a crowd with a bat.

#14 Posted by Zella (964 posts) -

Not at all, with the state of modern technology it would be eradicated before anything close to zombie movie levels happen. Because of smart phones and the internet knowledge of the outbreak would spread rapidly and would reach the government incredibly quickly. The area of the outbreak could quickly be quarantined and depending on how the virus worked it should be fairly easy to scan the population. Dealing with the actual zombies would a cake walk, typically they are shown to have very little brain function so it's likely they would have to shamble otherwise they would just trip over themselves. If worst comes to worst and no cure can be found then the government sends in a few jets to carpet bomb the area then go through the process of making the land habitable again. It's a terrible loss of life but fairly small when compared to a global apocalypse. The main way it could actually happen is possibly through a Walking Dead style virus where the entire living population is already infected.

#15 Edited by Clonedzero (4206 posts) -

It entirely depends on how easily it is to get infected. If getting any of their blood into your body, yeah hacking them up or crushing tons of skulls with a bat isn't a good way to fight them, you'll just get yourself infected.

#16 Edited by Brodehouse (10506 posts) -

No, and thank you for bringing it up. I hate how everyone believes a zombie menace to be enough to turn civilization back beyond even Roman times.

Here are things Rome had

  • Production of goods and services
  • Running water and sanitation
  • Mining, forestry, farming
  • Free bread for Roman citizens
  • A working legal system
  • Construction projects that wouldn't be eclipsed for 1200 years
  • An organized and regimented military that wouldn't be eclipsed for 1500 years

They managed to build an empire that stretched over continents. Here are things we have that the Romans didn't have

  • Modern medicine, including vaccines, germ theory, antiseptics, and nutrition
  • Wind, solar and hydro electricity and nuclear fission
  • The microprocessor, including things as advanced as low level artificial intelligence and the ability to store every extant copy of every book or piece of text ever written in human history.
  • The modern firearm, capable of striking targets at ranges past one mile
  • Plastics, concrete, carbon nanotube materials for construction and production of goods
  • The rise of rationalism as opposed to superstition

Yet according to zombie fiction all it will take is some slavering mongooses pounding on the front door and all of society will devolve to tribalism. Well I disagree.

And not to plug my own shit, but I made a blog a few days back about how the Last of Us reveals a society that is more like the one you might see post-apocalypse.

#17 Posted by Nictel (2659 posts) -

Airborne zombie virus == FUCKED

#19 Posted by TheRealMoot (520 posts) -

Running zombies / L4D zombies would F*** up the world in just a few days.

As for good old shambling Romero zombies? We'd be fine in a one on one situation with a big enough stick , stiff piece of metal or any decent yard tool could do them in and a few of there friends given enough room to maneuver.

Also, everyone owns a gun. Everyone.

Only one guy needs to yell "Zombie Apocalypse" (On TV, with proof) and the world will take up arms and solve the problem in a week flat... probably.

As for me? I'am prepared. Not by choice, more by coincidence. I ended up with every zombie killing implement known to man thanks to a family member who loved yard sales... I have a stack of swords and other implements of brain destruction in my closet. And my yard is well designed for a short term hold out. Deep ditches, heavy duty fence, multiple running vehicles usable for escape or blocking the gate. And I have an attic only accessible via ladder that has an exit to outside via hatch. And the same deal in my garage so I can just hang out and let them clear out when something else makes noise or help comes.

Sadly my gun loving buddy moved out of the neighborhood. There goes three large gun safes full of rifles, shotguns and enough ammo to takeover a small country. But the zombie apocalypse is never going to happen so yeah... not going to need it...

#20 Posted by Blu3V3nom07 (4201 posts) -

You mean the real type?

#21 Posted by Morrow (1870 posts) -

@shagge: Yeah, I'm pretty sure the military would take care of it before it becomes a world-wide issue.

#22 Posted by TwoLines (3053 posts) -

They would freeze in winter.

#23 Posted by LD50 (430 posts) -

No, and thank you for bringing it up. I hate how everyone believes a zombie menace to be enough to turn civilization back beyond even Roman times.

Here are things Rome had

  • Production of goods and services
  • Running water and sanitation
  • Mining, forestry, farming
  • Free bread for Roman citizens
  • A working legal system
  • Construction projects that wouldn't be eclipsed for 1200 years
  • An organized and regimented military that wouldn't be eclipsed for 1500 years

Much of that was present in Sumer as well.

Cheers.

#24 Edited by Raven10 (2056 posts) -

Depends on a lot of factors. The key one is how does it spread? If it's a virus or fungus or some other microorganism then it won't be as easy as killing all the zombies. You would have to find a way to cure the illness, which as we know from the decades long attempt to find a cure for AIDS is not an easy thing. But it wouldn't destroy the world. People would just have to be put down as soon as they show signs of infection. That of course also depends on how it spreads and how easy it is for our body to fight it off. If it is air born and easy to get then obviously it would be a lot more difficult to manage than if it was, say, an STD or only traveled through blood like normal zombie fiction. Still, unless this is a thing that infects a ton of people really quickly, I think we could likely manage.

#25 Posted by Ares42 (3005 posts) -

Although it's not really the topic at hand, people need to remember that the problem is never a bunch of zombies making more zombies. The big catastrophe is a viral outbreak, the zombies are just the aftermath. If a large portion of our population suddenly got infected with a disabling/deadly disease it would quickly have pretty dire consequences for our society, even without any zombies.

#26 Edited by Clonedzero (4206 posts) -

@ares42 said:

Although it's not really the topic at hand, people need to remember that the problem is never a bunch of zombies making more zombies. The big catastrophe is a viral outbreak, the zombies are just the aftermath. If a large portion of our population suddenly got infected with a disabling/deadly disease it would quickly have pretty dire consequences for our society, even without any zombies.

And then the camera zooms out and its mulitplayer! WOAHHH

#27 Posted by Humanity (11563 posts) -

@morrow: I believe attrition is the deciding factor. You will tire out and need to sleep but they'll just keep pounding on the doors and whatnot without ever stopping.

#28 Edited by uniform (1836 posts) -

No. I'd kill millions single-handedly. I just need energy bars, dual-wield machetes, and I got my full circle+hard punch whirlwind move. Problem solved.

#29 Edited by Levio (1798 posts) -

The real threat would be if people started hallucinating into seeing everyone else as zombies, so they go on a killing spree putting down the "zombie menace". Humanity's true Achilles heel.

#30 Posted by ModernAlkemie (372 posts) -

The problem with so many zombie scenarios is that zombies would be a pretty terrible transmission vector for a disease. They are just way too visible and the requirement for a person to be bitten to be infected would make quarantine procedures highly effective. A Typhoid Mary is waaaaaay scarier than any zombie imho.

As far as actually fighting zombies, I don't really see the point. They could easily be outrun and all you would have to do is wait for temperatures to drop below freezing when they would all die or become immobilized.

#31 Posted by StarvingGamer (9077 posts) -

How much effort do you think it takes to destroy a person's brain because, let me tell you, it's a shitton more than video games/movies would lead you to believe. I'd be shocked if your arm wasn't jelly after dispatching a single zombie, let alone hundreds of them.

#32 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5881 posts) -
#33 Edited by Clonedzero (4206 posts) -

The problem with so many zombie scenarios is that zombies would be a pretty terrible transmission vector for a disease. They are just way too visible and the requirement for a person to be bitten to be infected would make quarantine procedures highly effective. A Typhoid Mary is waaaaaay scarier than any zombie imho.

As far as actually fighting zombies, I don't really see the point. They could easily be outrun and all you would have to do is wait for temperatures to drop below freezing when they would all die or become immobilized.

well the whole hide until winter thing doesnt work if you're in a climate that doesnt freeze in the winter....

I mean what if you're in southern cali?

#34 Posted by Jay_Ray (1209 posts) -

Depends how the virus spreads, if it is via bite or scratch or some other body on body contact then zombies are about as threatening as rabies which is not a threat. If it is airborne and just being near a zombie or decaying zombie then it would be a much bigger issue. In any case the zombie itself is not a threat since the majority would die within 2 months from starvation/decomposition. The virus is the biggest threat and could be as catastrophic as the black plague if a cure wasn't found.

#35 Edited by believer258 (12792 posts) -

If it's airborne like in Stephen King's The Stand (only it zombifies people instead of killing them), then yes it could be devastating. An easily transmitted airborne disease that kills in a few days and spreads that easily and isn't curable could devastate society.

However, if it is spread by zombies clawing or biting, then no. I don't think so. At least, not on the scale that zombie movies imagine. For one, they would decay to the point of being unable to move pretty quickly.

#36 Edited by Tennmuerti (8290 posts) -

Traditional VG zombies, not by a long shot. Considering how little of a threat they are to untrained civilian protagonists on every level from mobility to organised thinking to dexterity to climbing a fucking wall. They are the lowest rung of hostile threat. Now imagine even 1 tank. Humanity has successfully defended itself against wild animals several orders of magnitude more combat capable, with sticks and rocks. Never mind the biological reasons why zombies would fail instantly. Even barring that a simple failure due to non existent food source if the original virus had a super successful vector.

Reorganization and reconstruction would also start taking place very shortly after an annihilating event. All this scavenging for supplies shit will cease to be the primary source of civilization sustenance within a year or two at most. Sure it will keep going for a dozen or more years but as an increasing fringe occupation.

Basically even a very successful virus (while could devastate the present status quo and population) would not be as devastating or long term as most popular fiction and video games portray. And in this case the damage is not because of the zombies themselves, they are largely irrelevant to the equation, but the virus itself would have to do 99% of the work.

#37 Posted by MariachiMacabre (7097 posts) -

Night of the Living Dead Zombies would not pose any threat in this world unless patient zero was in some isolated third world country without an advanced military or a CDC equivalent. I could see zombies spreading quickly across Africa if the virus originated in, say, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Africa has so many infrastructural issues that it could easily be caught by surprise and overtaken.

If we're talking L4D or 28 Days Later Infected (the latter would be even worse because all it takes is one drop of infected genetic material and a few seconds before they're crazed. We don't know enough of the specifics about the L4D infected to make any assumptions.) the world would be FUCKED, I think. They're so fast and so resilient and it takes so little to be infected that I don't think the world would have time to respond. Especially if a country as populated as India or China goes first.

I HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT THIS MORE THAN I CARE TO ADMIT. I'M SORRY.

#38 Posted by afabs515 (1439 posts) -

Traditional zombies that hobble sluggishly and grumble "brrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiinsssssssss", I don't think so. Rage-infected zombies are another issue entirely. Let's just all agree to never let the monkeys out of the cages.

#39 Posted by Popogeejo (621 posts) -

@brodehouse: The Romans didn't have to deal with a virus that turned all the slaves and other people who maintained all that into physically resilient yet mindless flesh eaters though. I do not understand how "Well, the Romans existed" is an answer to "Are zombies hypothetically dangerous?" Just because it might not lead to civilisation shitting itself doesn't mean it couldn't be dangerous. There are plenty of real viruses out there that could devastate the world if they got out right now. Thousands, even millions, can die in an epidemic without society crumbling. That doesn't negate their dangerousness.

That said, the answer is still a "No" if it's traditional zombie virus (spread by physically biting someone) but an air/water borne virus could shake things up really badly. Just look at the hypothetical fallout of one vial of smallpox being released in a busy area like Time Square New York or Heathrow airport London.

Now, it's still not super hard to contain though it could be spread globally very easily if the virus takes a good few hours to start zombification, easily leading to a global pandemic and it'd shut down trade for days, possibly weeks, which would result in the loss of billions of dollars of trade. Trillions in the right place. Not every country would be as able to deal with the outbreak either.

In the right conditions and in the right place a zombie virus spread by coughing/sneezing or second hand contact (touching/licking/eating something an infected has contaminated) could be hugely devastating but then so could any serious enough virus.

Don't forget, if a real zombie outbreak happened like described above, people's first reaction would not be to kill them but to try and find a cure which would prolong the time between the infection spreading and people using shotguns for brain surgery.

#40 Edited by Turtlebird95 (3078 posts) -

Depends on how fast the virus spreads and what exactly it does. If the virus causes a contagious incurable fever that kills within hours it would absolutely be a huge threat.

As far as walking flesh eating corpses go I really don't think that's a big threat. Human anatomy and all.

#41 Posted by DeanoXD (652 posts) -

So not knowing they entire physiology of what happens if a person were to become a zombie, but my understanding is that they are dead. But come back do to some kick start of their bodies, but the fact that they are dead, and the organic nature of our make up as humans, logic would be that their muscles, tissue and all the things that give us physical strength would begin to deteriorate rapidly. So i don't see how they would be much of a problem.

But if people were to become infected by something that didn't actually kill them then, we might have a issue, but i would hope with all the military hardware all countries have that we would be able to contain it since some of the biggest military forces we have are out at sea almost all the time and zombies can't swim.

#42 Posted by golguin (4515 posts) -

The problem with zombies isn't the threat of their physical danger. The problem is the spread of their viral disease and having other people become zombies.

#43 Posted by davidwitten22 (1712 posts) -

I find it interesting that you think killing hundreds of people with two machetes is some sort of easy task that doesn't require a lot of physical ability and time. I don't know if you've ever actually used a sword or a machete, but even with a sharp ass sword like a kitana it would take a lot of force to take a head off. Doing that to hundreds of zombies isn't as easy in real life as pressing the R2 button is in zombie video games. Destroying a few zombies all by yourself would be possible, sure. But thinking you could walk into LA with a couple swords during a zombie apocalypse and get some food is pretty laughable.

#44 Posted by Brodehouse (10506 posts) -

@popogeejo: But we have suffered pandemic before. We've suffered pandemic after pandemic after pandemic, all in a time when we believed the plague was a punishment from a creator being, and not with the knowledge that it's microscopic bacteria, and no ideas of how to combat it besides blame the Jews and maybe pray some more. We're all still here, thankfully.

The difficulty you're going to see in a modern virus or bacteria doing anything close to even those is to have a virus that is a) completely unknown, b) resistant to basic treatments, c) extremely contagious, d) extremely slow presenting and e) extremely lethal. Doubtful. While I have no doubts that losing 50% of the population would greatly affect our economic and productive capability, developed societies will not regress. America is not aching for warm bodies to perform basic tasks and fulfill production, it actively attempts to keep people out.

You know what I think might actually break down society? A nation of idiots raised on the belief that as soon as the dead are shuffling around, ERTS EVERY MERN FER HERMSELF and driving axes into their neighbors heads whereas before they would have worked together in a reciprocal fashion to achieve their common interest (survival) and been able to increase their production exponentially.

#45 Posted by Sackmanjones (5202 posts) -

@golguin: this man speaks truth. Figure if the virus is spread by saliva only that would be much easier to deal with than say being spread through blood or. If that's the case, even a small scratch would cause disease meaning ranged combat is the only kind of viable defense. Sure you can throw on long sleeves and such but there is still a moderate risk of infection. Now if This is walking dead style infection, being airborne and everyone has it, it would get out of hand quickly. Think of how many people die each day, that means the first day of infection would take the world by surprise on every continent in the world.

So like most people said, it all depends on the senario. Worst case: walking dead pathogen (spread airborne) and the dead come back as infected from say 28 days or L4D

#46 Posted by ripelivejam (6060 posts) -

the last of us scenario actually makes more sense since the bodies don't actually die/atrophy; they just get taken over, and technically should be just as viable as before they became "zombified"

also we may be overestimating our ability to control such a thing, if that ever actually happened. we may get too confident/cocky, there'll be a relatively small slip up, and then all the dominoes would fall. life finds a way etc.

#47 Edited by golguin (4515 posts) -

@popogeejo: But we have suffered pandemic before. We've suffered pandemic after pandemic after pandemic, all in a time when we believed the plague was a punishment from a creator being, and not with the knowledge that it's microscopic bacteria, and no ideas of how to combat it besides blame the Jews and maybe pray some more. We're all still here, thankfully.

The difficulty you're going to see in a modern virus or bacteria doing anything close to even those is to have a virus that is a) completely unknown, b) resistant to basic treatments, c) extremely contagious, d) extremely slow presenting and e) extremely lethal. Doubtful. While I have no doubts that losing 50% of the population would greatly affect our economic and productive capability, developed societies will not regress. America is not aching for warm bodies to perform basic tasks and fulfill production, it actively attempts to keep people out.

You know what I think might actually break down society? A nation of idiots raised on the belief that as soon as the dead are shuffling around, ERTS EVERY MERN FER HERMSELF and driving axes into their neighbors heads whereas before they would have worked together in a reciprocal fashion to achieve their common interest (survival) and been able to increase their production exponentially.

The problem with a modern virus is that people don't live in isolated population pockets that can simply die off and stop the spread of disease. People are too mobile and the world is too interconnected. If you have a deadly infection that can easily be transmitted and is slow to be present symptoms then we will have a huge problem.

What if you don't develop zombie/rage like symptoms until after a few weeks? You could have millions of potential zombies in a matter of days. A single person can infect an entire city and then the city infects the entire continent.

#48 Posted by Brodehouse (10506 posts) -

@ripelivejam: It actually makes less sense, because cordyceps kills its host. Cordyceps uses the host's tissue in order to generate the energy to produce fruiting bodies, attract birds and continue to spread. The problem with all undead is simply that; nothing is or ever has been 'undead'. Everything has to maintain natural body processes to keep going, that includes ingesting calories to burn as joules; energy. A zombie that doesn't eat is not a hungry zombie, it's a dead one.

As for overestimating, I think you don't understand how on it we are as a society. Consider Ebolavirus, one of the most infectious, contagious and lethal diseases in the world, something that makes smallpox look like hay fever. It remains out there popping up in places like the Congo and yet there's never been an incidence break over 500 in the last 35 years (and a fatality number over 240 IIRC). Even in places with the absolute worst conditions imaginable, arguably on the planet, it never manages to infect even 0.0001% of the population. That's a far sight less than the Black Death killing 25 million people, 50% of Europe's population.

#49 Posted by Sinusoidal (2249 posts) -

I feel like the only place a slow-zombie outbreak would be effectual would be in the more population dense countries. Take South Korea for example. Most everyone lives in a 14 story apartment building and doesn't know who their neighbours are. The police are mostly unarmed and completely ineffectual. Gun control is very rigid, such that you can't really own one, you're only allowed to sign them out on a daily basis if you need one for hunting/police work/military service.

There are some positive factors working in Korea's favor: like very mountainous and heavily overgrown countryside. There's mandatory 2 years 2 months military service for men, so they at least know their way around a gun should they manage to get a hold of one. There are some heavily fortified military bases due to the situation with the north as well. In the end though, that sheer population density is going to be a real killer.

#50 Posted by Capum15 (5112 posts) -
@theguy said:

I always found the idea of a country's army being overwhelmed by zombies to be a bit silly. All you need is one machine gun to spray at head height. Even without guns like one guy in full riot gear could take out a crowd with a bat.

Same. I think it was the Survival Guide that said the "Scythe Theory" wouldn't work because they all have different head heights, but...why not just add more guns? If you have enough ammo, you would tear through crowds. Even if that didn't work? Get an APC, preferably something tracked, slowly drive by and gather as many zombles as possible, slowly drive out to an open area...and then tear ass away and firebomb the fuckers.

I could see infected (read: sprinting, non-dead) being an issue, but actual dead bodies that reanimate with poor motor skills? Just fast-walk away from them and try not to get cornered. Hell, the infected can die just like everyone else, they may just not care about pain.

That said, I still love WWZ, the Survival Guide, the Morningstar Strain Saga, and most zombie games.