Margaret Hair: If zombies attacked

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Margaret Hair

Margaret Hair's column appears Fridays in the 4 Points arts and entertainment section in the Steamboat Today. Contact her at 871-4204 or e-mail mhair@steamboatpilot.com.

In coaching a group of local actors about how to stage a zombie attack, Pirate Theatre director Brian Harvey says to imagine the steamroller chase scene from "A Fish Called Wanda."

If you're playing a zombie, be the steamroller. If you're playing a victim, move 2 feet to the left to avoid imminent death. A zombie invasion doesn't move quickly, but it does move crushingly.

Putting the reanimated into a local context - as in Pirate Theatre's upcoming show, "Scary Moving: Night of the Living Dead Realtor" - raises a (hypothetical) question: Were there to be an outbreak of flesh-eating zombies in Steamboat Springs, where would you hide?

There are a couple of things to consider before choosing your spot; namely, you need to know how to stop a zombie mob re-dead in its tracks. In most movies, from the 1968 edition of "Night of the Living Dead" on up, the living dead can be felled with a swift blow to the head - preferably one that detaches the cranium from the rest of the body. So, you will need a cadre of heavy, blunt objects. Bludgeoning implements with sharp edges also are acceptable.

Next, you'll need to consider what kind of structure is capable of staving off a slow-moving mass of mysteriously infected bodies with an insatiable taste for brains. Windows are bad for holding off a mob, as are easily opened doors or secret entrances that somehow escaped your attention. Heavy doors, thick walls and environmental hazards are prime.

A zombie attack would be one of few cases in which Steamboat's abundant natural beauty would do it harm - most buildings have large glass windows for visitors and locals to better absorb all that scenery. A large enough collection of zombie-virus-infected opponents could easily break through all that plate glass. For that reason, the renovated Bud Werner Memorial Library, the Strings Music Pavilion, the Steamboat Pilot & Today office building and most Lincoln Avenue storefronts would make sub-par hideouts.

Should you find yourself in Old Town when the outbreak gets going in earnest, it might be best to stay there. The street layout and array of double-unit homes could be sufficiently confusing to a zombie - it's confusing to me, and there's still blood flowing to my brain. That might give ample time to form an uprising of the still-living.

If you get stuck on Lincoln Avenue, it probably would be best to head to the west end of downtown. Standing alone, the local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter and the Steamboat Smokehouse have desirable anti-zombie attributes. Combined, they would make an ideal fortress.

Smokehouse - with its heavy front door, weighty fishbowl beer glasses and floor covered in peanut shells - provides difficult entry, ready weapons and a slippery surface not easily navigated by a force that already drags at least one of its feet parallel to the floor. Unfortunately, the restaurant's front-wall windows pose the same risks as those in "Shaun of the Dead" (in that movie, the zombies get in and kill most of the main characters).

The VFW - with its raised entryway, small front windows and collection of pool cues - also offers weapons and is more secure on the front end. If you could put the front of the VFW on the Smokehouse and secure the back doors for both, you'd be set - and would have lots of peanuts to subsist on.

Outside of downtown, Colorado Mountain College has the advantage of high ground and metal stairs, both difficult for your speechless, bloodless opponents to negotiate. The Ski Haus basement is full of newly tuned edges to fight off your enemies. And the gym at The Lowell Whiteman School, where Pirate Theatre rehearsed earlier this week, has all of the advantages of the "Night of the Living Dead" farmhouse, plus a weight room full of heavy things to toss.

You also could try luring the zombies to the Steamboat Ski Area, hoping to break their will with steep slopes and cooler temperatures. But zombies on skis? That just wouldn't be realistic.

- To reach Margaret Hair, call 871-4204

or e-mail mhair@steamboatpilot.com.

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