A couple of weeks ago, when I wasn't desperately trying to seduce Gillian Anderson at the Calgary Expo's X-Files panel, I had the privilege of seeing a discussion with Norman Reedus and Steven Yeun of The Walking Dead. And that got me thinking about zombies. Specifically, Canadian zombies, because I was watching a zombie discussion in Canada. Then I got to thinking about how it took me 15 minutes to get a breakfast sandwich that morning, and how zombie-ism might have been a plausible explanation for my server's delay. But so was Canadianism, so I abandoned that theory. Then I remembered that I had a Cracked column due in a few days, and if I wanted to spend them knee-deep in Molson and poutine, it had to be an easy one. That's when I thought I could rank the most badass zombie killers of all time.
But I couldn't. Because we're Cracked. And we expect more.
"Make these dick jokes funnier. Smarter. More informative!"
So I decided I'd take a simple zombie-killing article and give it a twist: ranking my favorite zombie killers of all time, and then choosing proper careers for them in a post-apocalyptic world.
#5. Ben from Night of the Living Dead
Yes, you heard me, Ben from Night of the Living Dead. Why? Does he have a machine gun leg? Is he a sharpshooter? Does he relish beheading zombies ninja-style? No. He's just some dude in George Romero's 1968 classic, Night of the Living Dead. Or if you're still confused, he's the black dude from Night of the Living Dead. Was that necessary, you racist?
"Seriously? You people disappoint me."
But Ben, portrayed by Duane Jones, makes the list because he was the first zombie hero of modern cinema. He had no frame of reference to guide him. So yeah, he finds cover, saves some people, boards some windows, good for him. How would anyone else even know what to do if not for the trail he blazed? Personally, if I were the protagonist in the first zombie flick, the only thing future generations would learn is, in case of attack, promptly wet yourself and cry.
Post-Apocalyptic Career: Late Night Radio Host
Ben was a cool, sexy man with a smoky voice. When the last zombie falls and society begins again, the people will cry out for a cocksure, silver-tongued man to lay down some smooth tunes on the overnight. And I can't think of a better man for it than Ben. Also, given the state of radio, it's probably a good thing to have a DJ who's comfortable around dead things.
#4. Tallahassee from Zombieland
Tallahassee, portrayed by Woody Harrelson, is a surly redneck who comes to town to kill zombies and eat Twinkies -- and he can't find any Twinkies. And not just because the Hostess company recently filed for bankruptcy, but because, y'know, it's a zombie apocalypse, and that can make things more difficult. He mostly just kicks zombie ass, is what I'm saying.
Much like the bikers from Dawn of the Dead, Tallahassee's killing is about more than survival: It's risen to the level of sport, as seen in the amusement park scene at the end, when he picks off zombies like it's a carnival shooting game. His nihilistic sense of play distinguishes him from so many zombie killers who have come before.
Not to mention being portrayed by an Oscar-nominated actor (with the exception of Daniel Day-Lewis' portrayal of the chainsaw in Evil Dead II. Really lost himself in that role).
Post-Apocalyptic Career: NASCAR Color Commentator
I was thinking Klansman or professional hate-crime committer, but I'm not sure they count as a careers. I'm gonna go out on limb here, but in the post-apocalypse, I see Tallahassee thriving as the color commentator at the newly established NASCAR. Sure, in the post-apocalyptic world, NASCAR might be a series of chariots or pogo sticks, but I can imagine Tallahassee adding his characteristic flair to the sporting event.
"Time to nut up or shut up ... I mean, uh, time to go fast or, um, be ... last?"
#3. Jim from 28 Days Later
"Why Jim?" you ask. First of all, I hope you asked that like in your head, because if you question Cracked columns out loud, your boss or classmates might wonder who you're talking to. Aww, who am I kidding? You're totally reading this on the toilet. Anyway, I'll tell you why Jim, a mere bicycle courier, makes the list. Because Jim had to deal with something that no one had seen before: fast zombies.
Also, do you know how hard it is to look cool in hospital scrubs?
Did he do more than stay alive? No, but let's have some perspective. Pretend it's vampires. Let's say we have a vampire hunter who is no Van Helsing, but who is dealing with vampires that can go out in the sun and guzzle holy water. Wouldn't outlasting such foes deserve extra praise? Damn straight it would, and that's why Jim's brave fight against zombies in Nikes makes the list.
Post-Apocalyptic Career: McDonald's General Manager
You might say that Jim could just go back to being a bicycle courier, but once a man stares down death, he must go on to better things. I'm pretty sure McDonald's will survive the apocalypse, or at least be the first to rebuild. And when it does, they'll need good men like Jim who are comfortable around speed and the manic consumption of things that probably shouldn't be put in your mouth.