Night of the Living Dead screenshot -- a young zombie (Kyra Schon) and her victim (Karl Hardman). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
practically realistic to completely "campy".
Most fears today are not directly related to the supernatural. Monsters jumping out of the shadows are not generally recognized as rational possibilities in a world that seemingly never sleeps. However, the dark and element of the unknown is still very much a terrifying thing.
Zombie culture is very popular and has been an explored theme through many different artistic mediums such as literature, film and television. All of these practiced mediums of story telling share the common theme of fabricating and conveying a different universe and far-out reality. This is to say that the possibility of such occurrences taking place is slim. However, this rational is not shared by all audiences - Toronto native Eden Clements is of the Zombie-believing community.
At 5'11, Clements is a very outgoing and carefree 20 year old. She has an incredibly long and beautiful mane that is matched by her goofiness and massive sense of humor. Her fun and captivating first impression is severely juxtaposed by her stern seriousness surrounding the discussion of Zombies.
"My fascination (and fear) of Zombies started when I was 12 and saw the "Night of the Living Dead" (1990) for the first time. The movie seriously traumatized me and I was not able to sleep for like, 10 days. Finally my parents even had to take me to the doctor because I was so scared and sleep-deprived."
Night of The Living Dead
Night of The Living Dead (Photo credit: Flооd)
Diagnosed with shock, Clement's parents comforted her and tried to explain that zombies were not real and that everything would be just fine. However, their comforting did very little to reassure their daughter, because even though she was terrified of the subject, she was completely hooked on Zombie culture.
"Instead of dealing with this fear by ignoring and forgetting about it, I decided that I needed to learn everything about Zombies. I mean, it might sound crazy, but it is actually incredibly rational - if I am afraid of Zombies, I should know everything that I can do to protect myself from them, in case they actually materialize."
Though her means of managing her fear are somewhat unorthodox, it is rational. In simple terms, a Zombie is a human that has been infected with a disease that kills that soul and inhabits the body. In this soul-less state, a Zombie roams in search of other human life to feed off of, and decapitation is the only means in which they may be stopped. Throughout history, the human race has been faced with many powerful diseases that spread very quickly and devastate the masses until a cure has been found (the black plague, tuberculosis, SARS, swine flu, HIV/AIDS, Cancer, etc). A contagious disease that cause animals and human to feed upon one another may seem a bit mythical, but Clements does present an interesting point of possibility.
"Historically, sicknesses like cold or a cough could sometimes result in death, simply because medicine was not as advanced as it is now. Because they were new, they would be devastating until a solution was discovered. SARS in Toronto a couple years ago is a perfect example of this: a new sickness presented itself in a couple of people and it practically affected the entire city until it was under control. There is not much indication to me the a Zombie-like disease is completely unfathomable."
With this notion of possibility in mind, does the human race stand a chance against this sort of virus?! Fortunately, Clements has constructed a basic survival guide to be familiar with, should one's path ever cross with a human-hungry zombie.
"This list has developed since I was 12 and faced with my initial Zombie-trauma. I would be at the store with my mom and think, "Oh yeah, that would be a good spot to hide", and from there have always made small mental notes of my surroundings of escape routes and self-defense strategies."
Photo: Zombie expert Eden Clements
Eden's Zombie Survival Suggestions:
1. Max Brooks' The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead is a great place to start. The book talks about Zombie encounters throughout history, and then also discusses how to treat wounds, survive against a mob of zombies and best of all, proper combat techniques when trying to fend them off in self-defense.
2. Always be sure to have canned food in your house. In case of a Zombie epidemic, it's good to have some extra food saved in case you need to stay locked in your house. My personal favourites include alphaghettis, but it's easy to get sick of those pretty fast. Canned vegetables and proteins are a great idea.
3. Don't ever walk in the Zombie march. Toronto has one in the fall, and I know that a couple other cities partake in this sort of event. I am very much against this, because I feel like it's jinxing the human race or something. Kind of like tempting fate. Going on that walk is just asking for Zombies to become a reality.
4. Know your exits, wherever you are. I suppose this is just good to know, even in everyday life, for fires and other emergencies. Regardless, knowing how to get out is always a good thing. Furthermore, being familiar with bodies of water, roads and train tracks are extremely useful in escaping Zombies. They function in water, but it slows them down a lot. Roads will just allow you to get to other places and cars are useful means of transportation, but my favourite is the train. The train moves pretty fast and can get you to a lot of places all over North America. Plus, I'd like to think train tracks are not generally so populated and therefore less Zombie interactions would occur.
5. Be prepared to run. Always. Going to the gym is not fun and I am not particularly healthy, but I always make sure that I am in shape enough to do a short sprint. If there were to be a Zombie epidemic, I am ready to go at any minute. I also discourage high-heels for that reason, but girls still seem to like wearing them.
6. Even if your loved one becomes infected, it is super important to remember to kill them as quickly as possible. This will be pretty hard, but once they are a Zombie they will definitely try to eat you so get rid of them quick!