Episode 415: Deus Ex Oldsmobile

Zombie Cliche Lookout: Off Screen Vehicular Zombicide

In horror movies, there has always been a balance between showing too little and showing too much. When it comes to films with extremely low budgets, it’s usually best to err on the side of showing too little rather than exposing too much of your bad looking monster. However, when the budget situation isn’t so dire, well, that’s a point of discussion. A lot of people will say that, “If you’ve got a cool looking monster, show it off.” I can see the desire there, but that just never works for me, and here’s why: the less you see of the monster, the more your mind fills in the blanks. And I don’t care how cool the monster is, people’s minds will always conjure something far more scary.

Let’s look at a non-zombie example here. The Descent was a solid scary movie where a bunch of women get stuck underground on a caving adventure. There is very little light, the environment is extremely claustrophobic, and we quickly discover that there’s something else down there. Our exposure to the monsters starts off very slowly. Unfortunately, we start seeing more and more of the monsters, and they become a lot less scary every time.

The cool thing about this trope is that it’s true not just with monsters, but anything that’s particularly shocking. For example, the ending of Blood Meridian (spoilers ahead) was left a mystery. We don’t know what happens to the kid, but we do know that it horrifies everyone who sees it. That not knowing makes the kid’s fate far worse than what the author might write.

About this Episode:

After this episode, I think we’re finally ready to say goodbye to this dark little store that’s a pain in the ass to photograph.

Discussion Question: Bad Prepping Worse Than No Prepping?

So once again I’m picking through the comments for discussion questions, and I think this one is great. With shows like Doomsday Preppers making a joke out of people legitimately prepping for disaster, there are a lot of really, really dumb ideas about prepping out there. So what’s the worst thing you’ve heard, and is it worse than just not being prepared at all?



Actually, I think there should be one final shot of where Lou was piling up the bodies, then you’re done with it! 😀


I doubt it’d impact the storyline much if they were all zombies he’d hit in the head, so you must mean he was killing off innocents! 😀 I kinda wish this comment box had spoiler tags! 😀


Typo alert: Zombie cliche lookout, second sentence, after the comma: air–>err 😀


The worst I’ve heard is taking my school as refuge during the entire apocalypse. I can kinda see where they’re coming from but that place will be swarming with the undead once SHTF, and if it isn’t you’ll have to draw a lot of attention just to get there in the first place. I guess it’s better to have that plan because there’s always the small chance that it won’t be swarming with zombies, but like I said, small chance.


It’s the same thing with large shopping centres and theme parks. Any food in there needs to be refrigerated or heated, and when the power goes down, none of that is happening. Security systems (fences and the like) are not very useful and backup generators only last a couple of days.

I once heard (and I quote) some kids talking (AND I QUOTE) about how they would go to the police station and just ‘take’ the guns they have. They would also go to Costco and lock all the doors, and wait until it all goes away.

I began to ask questions about this plan
-what if the police aren’t so happy about handing over their firearms?
-not counting on anyone else heading to Costco then?
-what if it doesn’t go away?

They responded with ‘well, it’s probably better than anything you’ve planned’. So I proceeded to talk about my goal to build a small bunker in the backyard with food, water and air filters, septic tanks and a few small solar cells stashed away so I can get power later on. Hoping to get some raised beds and grow potatoes and carrots, maybe some chickens, as I think if there isn’t a ZA there’ll definitely be a oil problem in future, meaning if farm machinery can’t run, neither will farms, so I will rely on my own agricultural skills I will learn at college next year.

Now I when I completely won this small disagreement, these two chumps said ‘well you’re probably just going to die anyway’ and now their plan is to go to my place when the ZA hits, and take all of my equipment(riot helmet, rucksack, bulletproof vest) when I have gone and died.


Sounds like you’re going to be stuck with those two if the zombie apocalypse hits and they make it that far! 😀 You should teach them a few survival skills in the meantime! 😉


It always cracks me up when people think the cops/army is just going to be handing out guns.


How is the school built? My high school had floor to ceiling windows on all the exterior walls. Probably not a great place to go. My elementary school looked like a prison. That’d probably be pretty defensible, although supplies would be tough.


My school is like a prison as well, but like you said, supplies will be hard to come by. Maybe use some of the soccer field as a crop area? Who knows, kinda growing into the idea, but a lot of places to fix to make it secure.


Oh man, I can’t imagine trying to secure a college campus. My school had dozens of buildings over several square miles. It’s a small city.

Sir Marius

Did…Did Inez just run over all the zeds?

Welp, new favorite character. XD

The worst prepping idea I have ever heard was from my buddy who lives a couple towns over. He said he was going to this military base (several hours away by car) and take their biggest guns, no joke.

I told him he would just end up shot or worse, but he swore up and down he’d thought of all the alternatives and thought it was the best plan ever.


Kind of sounds that way, Marius.

What’s your buddy going to do with howitzers?

Sir Marius

*To take their biggest guns.

Whatever he wanted to do, it wouldn’t have ended well.


The modern car has got to be one of the best zombie deterrents ever. Hell, even a Yugo, Pinto, or Renault, just throw it in low, let out the clutch, and roll. If the windows are up, the zombies are not going to get you.

The worst ever plan: Folks that used to tell me, “In a disaster, I’ll just come over to your house.” No joke, I used to hear that, when I first got into prepping. I was so zealous that I would tell folks about the plan that I’d read, or about the threat. I’d read something, for example, about earthquakes in the Intermountain West, and how I’d strapped my food shelves to the wall to keep them safe in a shakeout. I felt eager to share what I’d learned. All I really learned is that sharing specific information is not good; and that once the genie is out of the bottle it’s mighty difficult to get him back in. I still go to preparedness fairs. I still occasionally train with the state; but when I talk about preparedness, it’s in a vague, nonspecific way, with no personal examples.

It’s scary to hear someone say, “I know where I am going when it hits the fan!” and know they’re talking about your house. Most of us prepare for specific contingencies, with a little extra just in case; and a lifeboat built for five will certainly capsize with twelve, or a hundred and twelve. That’s why I write about Survival Club, as a homage to Chuck Palahniuk. The sentiment remains. You can’t control information once it’s out. At the same time you can’t really keep your preps secret. The gal at the grocery store, checking out your cases of green beans? She knows something. The trick is to keep your information secure. Don’t let everyone know everything. Hell, I don’t even think my wife knows the full extant of our preparations.

Most of these folks are benign. They’re kidding- kind of. If things get desperate, and their brains kick into overdrive, they will remember what you told them about picking up a water filter, or how to cook with a solar oven, or whatever other tidbit of survival information you found interesting. Then they’ll tell someone they’re going to your house. That person will tell another. That third person will bring his in-laws, because he’s sure “that guy won’t mind”. Before you know it, you have a mob at your house. That’s before the armed mob on the video in the forum shows up, if you’re lucky.

The other folks that need to stop and think are the adolescent “lone wolves” that watch too much Walking Dead. Hiking around a post-apocalyptic Earth, like Kevin Costner, is no way to live. There’s nothing romantic about it. I think that before these that think they can survive by picking over burnt-out stores for old cans of beanie weenies get amped up over their plans, they should spend a summer (not even a winter- a summer) on the Appalachian Trail or the Great Western Trail. Then they can decide if living the rest of their lives out of a daypack is right for them.

RElated to that are the kids that learned about firearms from television or video games. They think that they’re going to fight off the undead hordes with the guns they picked up from dead soldiers or policemen. Reading the news, you’ll learn that police aren’t the crack shots and tactical wizards some folks think they are; but the odds are that they’re a million times better than these XBox commandos. They didn’t get their firearms training playing Call of Duty. What makes them think that they’ll be any better than those dead cops and soldiers on the streets?

There are all kinds of wannabes in this world. It’s a sliding scale. We’re all on in somewhere; but you can choose how far down the gradient you are. One firearms trainer categorized folks as the unknowingly incompetent, the knowingly incompetent, the knowingly skilled, and the unknowingly skilled (I might have not used his exact terminology). The point, though, was that one progresses from not knowing what he doesn’t know, to knowing that he doesn’t know, to knowing that he knows, to not thinking about what he knows. That is, the expert doesn’t often have to stop and think about it. He just does. The unknowingly incompetent are the ones to whom I have been referring.


I love the people who think they can be snipers because they’re good at Call of Duty. Good times.

Sir Marius

I’m one of the knowingly incompetent, then. However, I think my FPS experience actually reflects my real firearms skill, which is to say 100% useless unless given something automatic, and even then I’m highly ineffective. 😀 I’m not even good at Call of Duty.


I am with you. I am terrible at all video games made after about 1995 or so.


Sincerely. If you need someone to rock out on Ms. Pacman, or Galaga, or Tetris, I am your guy. These FPS games just confuse me- too many buttons.


Good points as usual Bo.

Best way I have found to illustrate to gamers/movie goers how much their gaming/movie experience doesn’t help them is by showing them.

Even getting them to shoot a can from a short distance with an air rifle is normally enough to show them just how misguided they are if they think they will pick up a gun and be able to headshot everything in sight, firing from the hip being a rambo clone.

The most fun I had with this one was my little brother buying a bow to take out zombies with… I took him down to the archery range to get him to show me how he was going to headshot all the zombies. Most fun I had in ages watching him struggle to hit the target. He got the point though and is now actually researching and practising his techniques.


Archery is flat-out tough. It has a steep learning curve and requires some functional strength. It takes more time to learn to do well than firearms, for sure.


I’ve been wanting to do the anti-zombie archery test as a video blog. I need to get my hands on a bow.

I’ve never shot a bow, and I think seeing how incompetent an untrained person would be.

Nom Zoms

Most of the time, target practice with air soft guns don’t tend too work well. It does help in terms of getting on target and good aiming, but without the proper weight and kickback most air soft guns lack, those who practice only with air soft before real guns tend to be a decent shot, but must get used to weight and recoil first. Is there any logic in this, Bo, or am is my knowledge mistaken? Most of my friends who do air soft are horrible shots when they do shot, so I am just talking from my experiences.


I’d argue that you’re still building the fundamentals, and with the added bonus of getting people used to shooting without the fear of recoil – which is a big deal for a lot of people.

That said, it is still like learning to drive by playing in gocarts.


I’ve played a bit with airsoft, not force-on-force, but solo. I considered it a step up from dry-fire practice. The trigger wasn’t quite right; but not bad, for a toy. The problem I had was that the green gas GLOCK knockoff I bought did not fit well in most of my holsters. In fact the only one I think it really fit in was a Bianchi military holster that I use for boondocking.

I think the problem with airsoft is the same problem with paintball. Folks tend to adapt their tactics to toys, instead of the other way around. For instance, force-on-force paintball consists of guns with huge hoppers, and folks “walk the rounds in”. That is, they don’t aim. They spray the balls like a garden hose, and adjust the stream of balls until it’s on target. You can’t do that with a firearm.

I think airsoft and paintball can both be valid training aids, not replacing live fire, but as adjuncts. Unfortunately, like anything else, it requires brains and competent supervision. If you take it slow, acknowledge its limitations, and don’t slip into a Walter Mitty fantasy I think it’s viable.


Question: If a zombie hits your windscreen and shatters it, and isn’t killed by that impact or the car, do you think said zombie would pose a threat?

Realistically speaking there’s a chance a zombie doesn’t get hit in the head for whatever reason, and therefore I’d suspect there’s a follow-on chance that in the time it takes for your car to become deadly to zombies, there’s the possibility a zombie you pick up early will want to chew your brains out, if the windscreen gets shattered.


Safety glass windshields don’t usually get pushed all the way in, even if they shatter, but tend to hold in there pretty well, probably enough to shake the zombie off. Just hit the accelerator and start weaving.


Depends on how damaged it is. If it can’t move because of spinal injury or too many broken bones, it likely wouldn’t be much of a threat.


Only if your zombies are not literally the walking dead.
What need have dead people of functional spinal columns?


Heh, worse plan I have seen is a family member. Has four in the house with another on the way… he is going to rely on the food in his house and has stockpiled 20 litres of water… oh and he has purchased a pre-made “survival” kit which is pretty light for one person let alone four.

Most peoples response when they find out I am prepping is that I am wasting my time and money because nothing will happen, and if it does it won’t be that bad, and will blow over in a couple of days.

So now, I don’t say anything… I provide some information when asked, and water cooler chat with you guys on here, but other than that I quietly get on with it. I reckon I’m safe chatting to you guys on here, because in an end of the world scenario I don’t see you guys making it to New Zealand in any hurry 🙂



I tell folks, I’ve already sung for the blind and danced for the deaf. I am done proselytizing for preparedness.

And like you, I don’t feel bad writing about it here, because the community is more appreciative, and because none of you are likely to show up at my house in the immediate aftermath of a WCS (and if you do, I likely won’t be there, anyway).


I don’t know about the worst, but perhaps the saddest. One of my ZA students once told me (in all seriousness) that her plan was to kill herself. Let’s just say I made sure she had a better plan by the end of class!


Kim, that’s my sister-in-law. She says that in the event of a cataclysmic event, she’s driving straight into ground zero to get it over with.

Now that she’s a mom, she might be changing her tune. Again, I no longer bring up the topic.

Silver Fox

Considering I just read this article:


I’m glad you got her on a better plan.

Worst plan…. blindly relying on the government to save you. I appreciate Bo’s comments of don’t people what you have prepped and ready, all that does is make you a target.

Need food? Map out all the Mormons who’ve made and have food storage. Thank you no.

In all, I think all the good examples have been hit on though.


Oh yeah, folks that just believe that Uncle Sugar will save them should read up a bit more about how things went down in NOLA post-Katrina, a nightmare if I’ve ever seen one.

We still live in a time of relative plenty. Inflation is killing us; but we still have enough and to spare. Start making prudent plans and gathering food that you and your family like to eat. Dig up your rose bushes and plant vegetables. Pay down your consumer debt. These are not amazing revelations, to me, but pretty common sense suggestions.


Just random babble about emergency preparedness in general:

People act like there is only one kind of disaster prepping is aimed at: Total loss of civilization. That’s not at all true as we all know. There are many degrees of emergency that can all be attended to with a little planning.

Take my recent story for example: A couple days ago tornados/storms knocked out power for three towns in the area, one of which I live in. I got up, and went to work, because I had no idea how long the power would be out and if I was needed or not. (The retail chain I work for often goes on about how they keep their stores going in disasters to help people, blah, blah, blah.)

I found out that we were indeed open, though our emergency lights were pretty much useless and our primary aim at this point was to walk customers through the store one by one to sell flashlights, candles, batteries, pop and chips. (I guess if you have no food in the house you should go buy chips and a soda. I didn’t know that.)

Now I happen to have taken to carrying a small but powerful (139 Lumens) Mag-Lite. I originally thought it might be useful for situations like this one and have also found it to be very handy for looking through our poorly lit storage bays, into the inside of the machines I use in the photo lab, etc. I also noted previously that the company policy of having a flashlight at every register was not being followed. Thusly I was the one with the brightest and most useful light while everyone else was using their cellphone app. Eventually, as it got later in the day and grew darker people had to break down and put batteries into the cheap flashlights I had located months ago hiding between the photo counter. (The emergency kit the store manager had assembled over a year ago was nowhere to be found. Not a bad idea, but obviously less than effective without an assigned spot for it to actually be in. We’ll probably find it in a month hidden behind something in the stock room.)

What was my point in all this? I was ahead of curve because I was carrying a flashlight. This isn’t end of the world level preparedness here. It’s a flashlight!

This isn’t even counting the fact that between myself, father, and soon to be step mother, we have enough food stock-piled away for months, we have a stockpile of batteries, we run a woodstove to keep warm without main heat, etc. I haven’t even mentioned my coworker who was having nervous breakdowns over the lights being off, nor the coworker who had to come in to get her lunch out of the fridge because she had literally no food at home and no means to get some with all the stores closed.

Long story short: A little bit of prepping goes a long way. I’m not in the least bit prepared for a real emergency, but it is very clear that I am still far better off than most. Doing even a little is better than leaving it all to chance.


When I find someone generally interested in preparedness, and not just filled with longing for the end of the world, I have them start with a risk matrix. I’ve even included instructions on how to build one in a power point presentation I have given to preparedness groups, like the Salt Lake Country ARES. Start here:
Prepare for the most likely threats first. Then work your way up. Just remember, it’s not about the odds, but the stakes.

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