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.
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.
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?"
"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.
I think we can all agree that The Walking Dead, especially after its Season 3 ultra killings, deserves a place on this list. Indeed, the hardest part was picking just one person from the show to crown as king zombie killer. Perhaps it's Merle, who lost a hand and carried on kicking ass. Maybe it's his brother, Daryl, who is a sure shot with a crossbow and an expert hunter and tracker. But at the end of the day, I think we have to agree it's Michonne, who samurai swords her way to justice. Any character who domesticates zombies has to reign supreme. The woman has pet zombies, made safe by her removal of their arms and jaws. She also has the balls to stand in a sea of zombies waiting for admittance to the Season 3 prison. I'm not being figurative. She was covered in so much zombie guts in that scene, I'm assuming balls got in there somewhere. Also (in case you're the type of close reader who likes to detect themes in silly list-based articles), with the exception of #1 on our list, she's one of the few zombie hunters I personally describe as "sexually exciting."
Please own me, Michonne, but let me keep the hands and jaw. I'm going to need them.
Post-Apocalyptic Career: Benihana Chef
This one's a gimme. That girl is fine with a blade, and other than selling Ginsu knives on TV, Benihana chef is the obvious choice. True, I don't see her making many funny Benihana-type jokes (rolling the egg on the table and saying "egg roll"), but that's a small loss when your chef is a master bladesman and smoking hot. Actually, forget the bladesman stuff. Michonne is so hot that I'd gladly watch her work a butter knife on some toast.
Well, now that I've lost all credibility through perversity, let's turn to #1. I can hear you already: "Oh, sure, he's sticking Alice at #1 just because Milla Jovovich is hot." First of all, as I just mentioned, I can hear you. That's right: Not only do I write subjective zombie lists, but I am a full-blown mentalist, so watch those thoughts! But more importantly, I was just being facetious before. Yes, Alice and Michonne are lovely ladies, but make no mistake -- their zombie-killing badassery is why they're at the top of the list.
Still, I had to find a reason to distinguish #1. What would make Alice the biggest badass zombie killer of all? Oddly enough, what sets Alice apart is that she manages to do battle with zombies and something far worse at the same time: capitalists. Yes, in addition to the zombies who seek to eat her, Alice must bring down the Umbrella Corporation -- an entity that makes Enron look like a bunch of Peace Corps volunteers. So sure, Michonne can cut the arms and jaws off zombies, but call me when she can domesticate a foul beast like Donald Trump. Advantage Alice.
Laura Cavanaugh / Getty
Although who's to say that Trump isn't filled with consumed human flesh, in the same way that he's full of so many other things.
Post-Apocalyptic Career: Gladstone's Personal Assistant
Yeah, I know, you were all ready to see "venture capitalist" or "CEO" or even "class-action lawyer" bringing strike suits against capitalist injustice. But here's the thing. This is a very, very, very silly list. And I am the author of this very, very, very silly list, so why would I feel the need to adhere to logic when I could just, y'know, spend a few minutes daydreaming about the sexiest, badassiest zombie killer bringing me a Starbucks? Now you're wondering, if I've already abandoned all rules and logic, why I've made Alice my personal assistant instead of my post-apocalyptic sex slave. Maybe it's because I respect women, you misogynistic pig!
Also, if you're reading this on an iPhone, you can click this link and follow the stupid 4 second movies Gladstone makes on Vine.
Sometimes it's just a matter of making the US Department of Defense look, like, REALLY cool.
Actual impending doom like global climate change or mass extinction just makes people bored.
In some cases, the Marvel source material just did better.