Escalators: bane of the dead

So, you’re in the midst of a zombie outbreak. Do you head for the hills, or take refuge in a mall? A new physics paper says that hunkering down in a sprawling shopping center will increase your odds of survival. That’s right, smarty smart people are now talking about zombies.

A paper from Davide Cassi at the Università di Parma, published this month in Physical Review E, explores how targets might be annihilated by “random walkers.” These walkers might be any moving organism that can eliminate a target, but keep in mind that zombies are the perfect analogy for these “walkers.”

The paper examines the likelihood of the targets surviving if they remain immobile within various types of structures. One of the findings is that the more complex the hideout, the less likely a random walker is to encounter a target. What does this mean? Hiding out in a building filled with twisting corridors, such as a mall or a school, offers a better chance of survival than hiding out in the open or in more open structures.

Of course, all bets are off if your particular breed of zombie, excuse me, “walker”, is driven to repeat some of the actions that it committed in life.

You’ve gotta shoot them in the head

Now, I’ll readily admit to being a big film geek. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t write a movie review column. I try to keep my pretentiousness in check most of the time, but frankly, I can’t help it escaping. Now is one of those times. Ladies and gentlemen, you’re clearly doing a horrible job of watching classic cinema.

Everyone knows that the only way to make the living dead sans living is to eradicate the brain mass of a zombie. By doing so, you end the walking dead’s existence. Of course, me assuming that everyone knew what to do clearly shows just how wrong I was, because it would seem that people in Houston are completely and totally ignorant of this vitally critical piece of information. Now, why would I say this?

A man was brought back to life not once, not twice, not thrice, but 5 times (5 times, 5 times, 5 times, 5 times) recently. Now, one would assume that to be a good thing, except for this fact-the man died 5 times. This means that his craving for human braaaaaaains was made that much stronger with each subsequent “revival.” Houston area emergency doctors, do the right thing-put a bullet in this man’s cerebral cortex before he starts spreading a plague that you’re most probably ill-equiped to handle. In these tough economic times, do you really suspect that you’ll be able to actually live out a zombie outbreak in a mall of today? Don’t just do it for yourself-do it for America.

MasterChugs Theater: ‘Diary of the Dead’

Forty years after the revolution in low-budget nightmare splatter that was Night of the Living Dead, it’s worth remembering that that film’s garish power, apart from the sheer, outrageous, who will be the next to get chomped? insanity of its violence, arose out of the scary elusiveness of what it said about America. There was no exact correlation between the attack of flesh-hungry zombies—and the attack on them (”Kill the brain and you kill the ghoul!”)—and the horrors of Vietnam or the general late-60s breakdown. The metaphor was there, but it was ominously free-floating.

Contrast that with Diary of the Dead, in which Romero has the dead rising up for the umpteenth time, this time chowing down on a new generation of human meat. The opening sequence, in which a local news report gets turned into an eyewitness slaughterhouse on the street, is vintage Romero: explosive, funny, bristling with dementia. But the half-dozen college kids who scurry, by van, from one location to the next (abandoned hospital, Amish farm, rich kid’s mansion), fleeing the zombies at every turn, aren’t too much different from the Abercrombie & Fitch ciphers of Cloverfield. Here, as well, we track the characters through one kid’s shaky camcorder, a trendy device that has never worked as effortlessly as it did in The Blair Witch Project. There’s a great deal of babble about how images of the zombies are being taped, all over the world, on personal cameras and shown on the Internet. The film keeps telling us that we’ve become a society of passive voyeurs, hiding behind our technology. (We’re the real zombies, get it?) But the message is far from fresh, and you didn’t have to pretend Cloverfield was making a statement. Continue reading MasterChugs Theater: ‘Diary of the Dead’