Last week, the world went "Wha-aaat?" in confusion when we learned that not only is Arnold Schwarzenegger set to star in an indie zombie-drama, [Maggie](movie:397714), it's also premiering at Toronto International Film Festival.
But initial WTF moment aside, How awesome would The Governator be as a zombie slayer? That got me thinking of the greatest zombie hunters to ever appear on film, and which ones I would choose for my ultimate Zombie Apocalypse team.
The key to surviving your Zombie Apocalypse (other than aim for the head and double tap, obvs) is in putting together a well-rounded team of badasses who complement each other. Each should bring a skill to the table that you definitely want on your side come zombie-stompin' time. And, as we have learned with zombie movies over the years, there are basically 8 main roles on your crew.
DISCLAIMER: First one of you to gets pedantic and nitpick, "But but but that wasn't a REAL zombie movie..." I leave a bag of poop on your doorstep. Savvy? Lighten up and let's have some fun!
THE LEADER - Daryl Dixon (The Walking Dead)
The leader of any team needs a blend of traits: Decisiveness, the ability to rally their troops, conflict resolution skills, the respect of their peers, and strength of character. Being the leader of a team trying to survive the Zombie Apocalypse also demands someone who is very, very good at killing zombies. And Daryl Dixon is very, very good at killing zombies.
But best sort of leader is one who has truly earned their position, and Daryl, who started out simply as a redneck with a knack for tracking and killing the undead, has grown in leaps and bounds to become the leader he always was inside. He's the guy you can count on to step up when something needs doing, even if it's incredibly hard: Daryl killed his own brother when he turned into a zombie, so you know he won't hesitate to protect any person in his group, no matter what.
THE BRAWLER - Tallahassee (Zombieland)
The harsh reality of surviving in a zombie-infested world is that the weak and indecisive don't last long. If you want to survive, you're gonna need a little crazy on your team. The kind of crazy your slightly-unhinged frat buddy has when he smashes a beer bottle on his head while laughing maniacally before screaming, "LET'S DO THIS, MOTHERFUCKERS!" and launching himself into a bar fight. A bar fight he hadn't even been a part of.
Tallahassee is that special brand of unhinged crazy. He was born to kill zombies, and nothing makes him happier. While the rest of this list is serious business 100% of the time, Tallahassee lives for the kill and does his brain-bashing with a huge smile on his face. And because killing zombies is his raison d'être, you'll never find someone who can do it more creatively. He's certainly the only person on this list who has killed a zombie with a banjo. And with great glee.
THE WEAPONS EXPERT - Alice (Resident Evil franchise)
There are many badasses on this list, but not one of them has killed as many zombies as Alice. Alice is a one-woman murder machine, a harbinger of death for any undead or human that have the misfortune to cross her path. And you don't survive for as long or get out of as many impossible situations as Alice has without having a damn-near encyclopedic knowledge of weapons. Knives, swords, pistols, machine guns, axes, pipes, whatever's at her disposal, Alice can use it, and if she doesn't know how, she'll figure it out with a quickness. Even her own body is a weapon, a spin-kicking dervish that can snap a zombie's neck with her thighs as easily as she can blow its brains out.
Plus, while virtually everyone else on the team comes by their zombie-killing skills through practice after survival becomes a necessity, Alice was already a skilled marksman and fighter as a previous security operative and trained weapons expert. Add that to the fact she's also biologically enhanced to produce telepathic waves of force, and there's not one thing in or around Alice's world she can't turn into a weapon. If your team comes through unscathed, she will be the reason why.
THE MEDIC - Ana (Dawn of the Dead)
In a perfect world (if any world overrun by zombies could be considered perfect), the only injuries your team would suffer would be at the hands of zombies. But let's be realistic. Along with the zombie bites, the reality is that with such a physically demanding life and grueling fight for survival, your team will suffer injuries. Sometimes bad ones. Illnesses, too. If you live long enough, pregnancies. And yes, it's inevitable that at some point someone on your team will get bitten by a zombie. Having a skilled, tough medic on your team is the difference between survival, and losing your brawler to a zombie bite or your leader to an unexpected allergic reaction.
As a nurse, the quick-thinking Ana is a trained medical professional who coolly and calmly deals with crisis situations. She doesn't shy away from terrible mercy, either, killing both a zombie baby and a newly-turned friend with zero hesitation. Proving herself particularly adept at survival and grittier than she appears is not to be overlooked: The longer your medic stays alive, the longer your team stays alive. And with Ana, your team has a great chance of staying alive for a very long time.
THE BRAINS - Gerry Lane (World War Z)
Brawn and ass-kicking skills are all well and good, but at some point they will fail you. That's when you need someone with brains on your team. You'll want a strategist, someone to think around corners and plan, someone to figure out ways to keep your team alive. And, in the event that fails, you'll need an historian, someone to document what happens. Someone needs to coordinate, figure out the logistics of moving your team from point A to point B, able to think quickly on their feet when shit goes awry. And shit will definitely go awry.
Team, meet Gerry. While not the greatest fighter on this list, he is resourceful and quick-thinking, with a skilled background that makes him an effective resource in almost any situation. He may not be born to kick ass like the rest of your team, but you need him and the brains he brings to the table. In a decimated world, Gerry will be the only guy on your team capable of putting the pieces together quickly enough to keep you and your team alive. Thanks to him, your team just might survive long enough for him to figure out the cure.
THE STEALTH/SPEED FIGHTER - Michonne (The Walking Dead)
A gun is obviously effective against a zombie. Know what's even more effective? A fighter capable of taking out multiple zombies as quickly as possible. And the most effective fighter is one who can do all that in stealth mode. None of those things will be accomplished with the long-range option of a pistol, shotgun, or crossbow. For that job, you need someone capable of getting up close and personal with the shambling (or running) undead, someone with speed, skill, and the ability to go stealth mode when necessary.
And who is better to do all of that than Michonne, who is so ballsy she travels with two pet zombies to mask her scent, enabling her to travel right in the midst of zombies without them detecting her. She does her killing in close with her trusty katana, single-handedly dispatching entire hordes of zombies in under two minutes flat. No need to aim, no reloading, and no danger of running out of bullets, her katana is all Michonne needs to slay herself some zombies. Make that a lot of zombies. You may think keeping pet zombies in your group is a bad, bad idea, but you'll be thanking her when they enable you and your team to slip past a large, hungry mob of zombies undetected.
THE MASCOT - Shaun (Shaun of the Dead)
There's never been a post-apocalyptic world that was pleasant or easy. Because of, you know...end of the world and all. Living in a post-apocalyptic world that requires you not only to scrounge for food, shelter, and medicine, but also fend off and destroy wave after wave of ravenous zombies who may or may not have once been your loved ones is enough to break the morale of even the most resilient of teams. A good mascot, someone who can bring laughter to the team or remind them what they're fighting for, will go a long way to diffusing tension and helping your team keep their wits about them when all seems lost.
There's no better person to do that than Shaun. Whether the lovable slacker is making the team laugh or they're laughing at him, the surprisingly heroic Shaun will always find a way to elicit a laugh when everything is going to hell. Don't make the mistake of thinking he's useless, however. Point him at the nearest pint on draught (assuming they still exist), and Shaun will fight his way through anything just to get to it. Plus, he comes in a package deal with zombified Ed, who can keep Michonne's pet walkers company.
THE GUY WHO DIES FIRST - Jim (28 Days Later)
In a situation where being in decent physical shape and able to run fast are two things that will keep you alive, the opposite of those things will almost assuredly get you killed. And fairly quickly, unless you have a team of people both willing and able to protect you until you get back on your feet rather than cutting you loose as dead weight. This is why people with grievous injuries or terminal illnesses almost always offer themselves up as bait or a distraction, because they know the harsh reality is that they're only slowing the group down and it's only a matter of time until they are killed.
Sorry, Jim. An emaciated guy coming out of a long coma after a traumatic brain injury is not going to survive long against your new zombie overlords - especially if they're fast and aggressive. Jim does have hidden depths of rage, but rage only fuels you for so long. When resources and food are scarce and becoming scarcer, a malnourished guy is, in reality, not going to make it through. Granted, the efforts of your team will keep him alive far longer than had he been on his own, but if I were a betting woman, I'd go all in on Jim being the first to die.
Agree? Disagree? Who's on your team? Let me hear it in the comments.
There's only one rule: The team you choose HAS to have been in a zombie movie or television series. No cheating - have fun!
Ready...set...GO GO GO!