Zombies are everywhere, finally seeping (as zombies are wont to do) out of a spectacularly violent sub-genre of horror films into mainstream popularity. As a longtime horror fan, this phenomena has been really surprising to me, but audiences everywhere have embraced the flesh-eating, reanimated dead.
One thing that zombie movies and television shows seem to bring out in most people is a game of "What would I do if this shit really happened?"
For some reason, the concept of a zombie apocalypse is appealing to many people. Perhaps watching a few episodes of "The Walking Dead" has led them to believe that they would prosper if zombies were really ambling around, munching on the brains of people too slow or stupid to walk quickly away from them. Assuming that they weren't the first to be ambushed and devoured or nipped on the hand by their former babysitter, many people play through scenarios in their heads figuring out the ways that they would stay alive while everyone else was turned into a panicking buffet for the hoards of multiplying corpses.
I've done it myself. Ever since watching the original Dawn of the Dead as a young teen, the idea of finding the perfect place to hunker down and survive a zombie apocalypse has crossed my mind a few times.
For the sake of fun, let's consider a few places in the Houston area that would be fit as locations to repel or at least hide from murderous, flesh eating zombies.
First let's be clear that the actual best place would be anywhere but Houston.
Being almost anywhere in one of the largest metropolitan areas of the United States during a zombie apocalypse would put a person at an immediate disadvantage. With more than six million people in Houston and its surrounding areas, that's a lot of potential candidates to join the zombie population, eager to catch an unfortunate human and make a meal out of him or her. Ditto on the bad news for anyone who decides to flee the city via automobile, since the highways out of town would rapidly become a parking lot when a million people all try to leave at the same time.
A person already living a few miles outside of the dense central core of Houston would probably stand a better chance at surviving the initial outbreak of hungry zombies, simply because anywhere with fewer people would lessen the numbers of the undead. Living out in the sticks would also give a person a head start to hit the road if they heard that Houston was being turned into a human smorgasbord early enough.
But since these zombie uprisings never seem to come with a warning, we'll assume that most people not already living outside of town will have the chance to run somewhere else, and will have to take their chances inside the city.
You might need to fortify the glass with tables or bookshelves, plentiful in this building, but there's not likely to be a million people in the library when the zombie contagion spreads like an evil cloud throughout Houston. In a pinch, a heavy book could double for a bludgeon if one of the undead manages to shamble in before you secure the place. There's probably a decent break room for the library staff, maybe with food.
Yeah, I could make a mean joke about it being full of zombies already, but instead of going for the cheap laugh let's look at the actual building itself. Looks pretty sturdy and comfortable to me. It probably has a nice kitchen area, living quarters, and stored food and water. I'm thinking The Summit...er..."Lakewood Church" would make a pretty good place to barricade oneself from flesh eating zombies if a person or small group could get in the place. The downside would be that it's bound to be a magnet for people seeking spiritual answers to why the dead are rising from their graves, so it might get crowded fast.
Two words. Gun show.
Yes, this one will hinge on the timing of the zombie apocalypse, but if it should occur on a weekend where the Convention Center is having one of its giganto gun shows, you are in luck. Not only will there be access to a huge collection of guns and ammo to dispatch the living dead, but you're likely to encounter a lot of people itching to take out a bunch of zombies. In a few cases, maybe a few folks that have been planning for just such a thing to happen. There's also going to be access to food, and probably more than one booth selling MRE's and other survivalist chow.
3. A Mall. Almost any will do, but The Galleria sounds good to me.
Ever since 1978's classic Dawn of the Dead, almost everyone considering how to survive a zombie problem has had to consider that a shopping mall might be the most ideal choice to live comfortably while the outside world succumbs to chaos and turns into a nightmare of flesh eating and screams. With security gates and every possible sort of store available, a group of people could hole up quite comfortably, while raiding months' worth of food and supplies without much fear that zombies will get in and eat them alive. Sure, things ended kind of badly in "Dawn of the Dead," but that was because another group of people let more zombies inside the mall. Don't let that happen and you're going to be OK.
The Galleria would be ideal, if for no other reason than it's got a skating rink, and zombies probably suck at walking on ice.
Pretty much any sturdy building that is made for protecting something valuable inside it is going to be good at keeping zombies out, and the MFAH is a prime example. I was a guard there for a brief period years ago, and I'm pretty sure the place will keep out hoards of the undead. It's a beautiful building, but built like a bunker, so they'll just shamble on down to eat people hanging out in Hermann Park or Rice University. There's a Cafe Express inside, so food and water should be no problem to come by, and of course there will be plenty to look at while your group waits for the zombie invasion to rot into the ground. 1. The Underground Shopping Tunnels.
Houston has over six miles of underground tunnels in the downtown area. It's full of shopping and restaurants, so again, lots of opportunities to gather supplies and wait out the hell that's happening above ground. The tunnels connect 95 blocks and there are multiple entry points, so care will have to be taken in securing the area. Once that's accomplished though, a person should be able to enjoy some sweet tunnel living for quite awhile, at least long enough for the hungry dead to abandon downtown Houston and head to Kingwood or something.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.