Top Five Zombie Locations by Kirsty McKay

(Or where not to go on holiday if you want to avoid becoming UNDEAD)

Seems you can’t go anywhere these days without being attacked by zombies. Whether it’s a flashmob, a mass stumble, or a movie being made – or perhaps you’re simply enjoying a quiet browse in your local bookstore – the flesh-guzzlers are everywhere.
When I started to write my book Undead, I decided to set it in Scotland. This was because I wanted a UK location, but somewhere remote where things could get a little crazy without anyone else finding out about it. (I should say, I also wanted somewhere that has snow, and castles. Scotland does both very well.)
All this got me thinking: where in the world has also been afflicted with zoms? If you believe Max Brooks, then
pretty much everywhere since the dawn of time. But ‘totally-making-stuff-up’ aside, what’s the truth of the matter?
1          Haiti
Poor bloody Haiti. If it wasn’t enough dealing with extreme poverty, earthquakes, and Wyclef Jean, the place is positively overflowing with zombies.
But these zombies aren’t yer flesh-eating, brain-chomping crew. They’re not dead. They’re barely UNDEAD. They’re basically slaves. Some witch doctor-type slips them a Mickey Finn of ground up pufferfish and they do a Juliet and go all fake-ly dead for a bit. Then the doc digs them up and gives them MORE drugs so that they zombie-out and do their master’s bidding forevah. It’s scary, and kind of depressing. So have a gander at this:
On the bright side, apparently, you can un-zombie someone by giving them some salt. Yep. If you meet an UNDEAD, try that and tell me how it works out for you.
2          Ireland
Ireland has so much to recommend it: the beautiful countryside, the numerous pubs, the friendly people. In fact, I wanted to go on honeymoon there! (And then I won a trip to the Maldives, so it was like, hmm…Guinness or Paradise? Guess which I smugly chose? Lucky, lucky, lucky.)
Anyway, it might drizzle a lot in Ireland, but the people are lovely, with their easy humour and lilting accents and propensity to turn into the walking dead. Oh yes, they’ve been hiding it well, but some things can’t stay hidden forever:
There might well be something other than a pot of gold waiting at the end of the rainbow. You have been warned.
3          Pennsylvania, USA
Why? George. A. Romero, that’s why.
You know, Night of the Living Dead, etc. Practically all of those movies are set in Pennsylvania! How come? Does George know something that we don’t? Is it because of – oh, say that it is – the ‘vania’ in its name? Transylvania is for the vamps, so Pennsylvania must be for the zombies! You know it makes sense, in a kind of nine-year-old’s-logic type of way, which is what I favour. Look, I live in the US and I know for sure I’m not going down there. The Amish and The Office I can hack, but not the UNDEAD. At the very least, I’d check out this website before going:

Nice to know the people of Pennsylvania are in safe hands. But you want more evidence? Zombie ants!

OK, they’re not technically in Pennsylvania, but did you see where ‘evolutionary biologist David Hughes’ hangs his hat? Penn-syl-frickin’-vania, that’s where! What’s his interest? Is he researching zombification in order to solve problems closer to home? You bet he is!
Come to think of it, if Pennsylvania is infected, the whole of America is probably doomed. So don’t go there. Or if you have to, or if you live there already, check this out from the Center of Disease Control:
4          Uh-oh, actually Scotland
I swear when I wrote UNDEAD I had no idea they had a zombie problem already. Well, apart from visits from Brad Pitt and his seventy-six children.
Mind you, it’s good to know that if you do absolutely have to go to Scotland, you can freely defend yourself against the ghouls:
Claim insanity, get off Scot-free! Can(ada) you believe it? See what I did there? Thangyouverrmush.
5          Norway
My book UNDEAD went through a few title changes before we nailed it by choosing something completely bloody obvious. (But brilliantly so, dear Chicken House.) During this time of uncertainty, my local hipster indie cinema was showing a film called DEAD SNOW. Dang, I thought. That would have been a great title for my book – there are dead people, and snow!
Turns out, the folks in the film are not only zombies, they’re Nazi zombies. What, Norwegians? You felt like you needed to up the stakes?

Ein, zwei, die, indeed.
More interestingly, zombies show up in the old Norse legends. A draugr is a kind of reanimated fallen warrior that rises from the grave. They do all the usual zombie stuff, but they have added extras like being able to drive humans insane, change the weather and enter people’s dreams! So the DEAD SNOW people really didn’t need the whole Nazi thing, they could have totally gone for the daugrs and had zombies with a little Freddy thrown in!
Yeah, well. Somebody made the movie already:
I don’t speak any Scandinavian languages, and my German is sehr, sehr sketchy, but I can understand enough not to want to go there anytime soon. Fjords or no fjords. And don’t get me started on trolls.
So all in all, better just to stay at home with a great book. And I know of just the one! Or, if you live in one of the infected places, take a long trip (er, not a school trip – they don’t always end up so well) to somewhere zombie-free. Like the moon.
Thank you for reading, and thank you Raimy for hosting me, it’s been a blast. Now hurry off to your local bookstore and snap up a copy of UNDEAD for more tips on how to survive, should you happen to find yourself in one of the places above. Once you’ve done that, check out my Facebookpage, Twitter and website for more about zombies, UNDEAD and me – and come and see me present FRIGHT NIGHT with authors such as Charlie Higson, Darren Shan and William Hussey at Bath Kid’s Literary Festival on Friday September 30th. I think Bath’s pretty safe, but I can’t make any promises.


%d bloggers like this: