Let’s get this out of the way now, only two of my top five favourite zombie films are based in the UK, (Shaun of the Dead and Zombie Diaries if you’re interested), which I think is probably two more than most people’s. The reasons for this are many, but to be brutally head-smashingly obvious, American based films, with copius amounts of firearms and gusto, will always out. If you’re after a popcorn chewing film with some gore, the odd one liner and plenty of action, you’re gonna settle with something a bit more tried and trusted.
However…one of my main aims when I started writing was to shine a light on the UK, our little quirks, ism’s and habits, to show how the zombie apocalypse on these fair isles would be a little different.
For one, there is the notion that nothing should be tackled without at least one cup of tea, and possibly a biscuit or two, maybe even a slice of cake? In the first days of the outbreak, this would be 100% true. Only when our nearest and dearest are lying in dismembered heaps of bloodied appendages in the corner of the living room, with a dented cricket bat resting on your lap, telling yourself over and over again that ‘it’ll be alright, honest’, would you decide to focus on the practicalities of putting tea and nibbles lower down the daily to-do list.
In many parts of the country, getting to know your neighbours is considered heresy. In the end days though, you will be busting a gut to know how the old girl next door is doing, when you hear screaming and patting at the walls. Hoping that she’s just uncovered a secret stash of Custard Creams, whilst really, the daft woman has opened the door, thinking it’s the postman, instead it’s a hungry zombie looking for some well cured meat.
Our stiff upper lip will be in full effect though, of that I am certain. Regardless of which family member you’ve had to take care of, probably in front of everyone else, should you deign to show any hint of emotion, well…that’s just not the done thing. Best to suppress it all, and shed a solitary tear when no one else has seen you. If at all possible, many years in the future.
Lack of firearms would pose a problem though, with no benefit of keeping the shambling undead horde at a safe distance, survivors are naturally inclined to meet them in hand to hand combat. Knowing which implement to use would, for the uninitiated, be a deadly game of trial and error in the early days. Working up the courage to smash in the skull of the bloke you’ve seen come back from rugby every week, with a golf club or rubbish bin, is going to end up with you bleeding to death, whilst being eaten alive and shouting for mummy pretty quickly.
Only the stoutest will survive, those who think fast. We are blessed with an array of countryside and tricky terrain (see Wales and/or Scotland), so providing you have packed your loved ones, and ample supplies into the back of your people carrier at the first whiff of putrified flesh, you should be okay. Likewise, those who still view their home as their castle and steadfastly refuse to leave, in case Dave from across the street, breaks in and steals their toaster, should make it through the first few weeks at least. Providing they can scavenge for supplies, amply barricade the entrances/windows and close the bloody curtains.
The oft discussed weather will also help more than hinder. We don’t experience extremities such as your blood boiling within your own body, or your toes cracking off due to frostbite. The rather clement weather means that getting around the place, even when the infection is full-on brown underwear mode, you could still cycle around the place without fear of dying from dehydration, or being lost in a snow drift. The rain will help get rid of all that morale sapping blood and guts laying around the place too. There is no greater mood killer than seeing puddles of blood, or stringy intestines in the street, especially if you’ve just managed to find some lunch.
Our sense of humour will also help to lighten the mood when you’ve spent half an hour trying to get into a haberdashery shop, only to find it overrun with the zombified staff. A typically British quip, a scathing putdown, and you’ll be off down the road, onto the next place with a smile in your heart and the next barbed witticism forming in your brain.
Yes, we don’t have guns, shun most kinds of tactile contact and drink way too much tea, but life in the UK, overrun by the undead, wouldn’t be too bad a place at all. Our never say die attitude and general distrust of people we haven’t known for at least twelve years will stand the survivors in good stead. So when the last of the zombies is dealt with, and the Union Jack is hoisted up over town squares the length and breadth of the country, we can get back to what we do best. Drinking tea and wishing that everyone would keep it down a bit.
Duncan is allowed to remain, unfettered and free, within the town of Chippenham, in the south-west of the United Kingdom. Having taken a wife a few years ago, he must now divide his free time between household chores and writing about the undead. His least favourite job is removing the mould from the bread, as he is forced to do this in a darkened cupboard and using only his toothbrush.