The shopping dead: Which Milwaukee mall is best for surviving the zombie apocalypse?
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Zombies are the great American monsters. They take all the traits Americans are known for—relentlessness, working together, insatiable hunger—and use them against some poor fools stuck in a building. The venue of choice for the classic Dawn Of The Dead was a brand-new-for-its-time shopping mall. Director George Romero wanted to use his zombies to say something about conspicuous consumption, but there was still a definite appeal of waiting out the end of the world in a building where you could drink straight from the Orange Julius tap. With that in mind, The A.V. Club visited our local shopping malls, and made arbitrary judgments on which one of them would be the best to hole up in during the apocalypse.
Bayshore Town Center
Pros: This mall has all the elements needed for the first few weeks of the end of the world. Jewelry stores, high-end clothing, and electronics will while away the hours before rescue (or jumping off the roof when the radio stops working). The staff members of Board Game Barrister may also suddenly become highly sought-after experts, thanks to their knowledge of board games like Last Night On Earth or Zombies!!!
Cons: The mixture of open-air shops leaves far too many entrances for a truly secure feeling. It’s also probably one of the top targets for looters, since everyone will want to hit up the Apple Store when the cops abandon the city.
Arbitrary apocalyptic suitability judgment: F. Bayshore is the mall to loot on the way to a more defensible position.
Pros: This mall has several restaurants, which means there will be a lot of food available as long as the freezers keep working. Nearby shops in the parking lots also make excellent destinations for scrounging runs or forward defense posts. If zombies strike during the weekend, the lot offers cars ranging from SUVs to sensible sedans.
Cons: The mall’s single level means that once the zombies get in, there’s no higher ground to retreat to.
Arbitrary apocalyptic suitability judgment: B. Expect a warlord to hole up in this mall early on. All hail the King Of Aeropostale!
The Shops Of Grand Avenue
Pros: This downtown location keeps entrances at a minimum. The skywalk connections, if kept free of zombies, could prove to be an easy method of travel. The food court on the third level is also an excellent place to rain down lead, and/or practice head shots.
Cons: Despite efforts to the contrary, this mall already looks like the zombie apocalypse has hit. Plus, everyone knows the cities are the first places to fall, and who wants to die defending a lone Applebee’s?
Arbitrary apocalyptic suitability judgment: D. If you’re caught in the city when the containment is broken, the Grand Ave. is a good place to hole up until you can make a run for the ’burbs.
Pros: Mayfair has a mix of fashionable and practical stores. (Even if it’s Restoration Hardware, it still counts.) And the AMC Theater, with its twisting halls and multiple screens, makes an excellent fallback fortification.
Cons: Getting inside may be a problem, since the management would have you believe that any teens in the mall after 5 p.m. would turn it in into a gang-ravaged wasteland. The Hot Topic might also be the source of the black magic that started the zombie uprising in the first place.
Arbitrary apocalyptic suitability judgment: A. Mayfair is ritzy enough for Williams-Sonoma, but still able to show The Help until the dead beat down the doors.
Pros: Southridge is secluded enough to not be targeted by bikers/raiders from the highway, but still accessible to main drags for an easy getaway. Plus, assuming the funding comes through for its renovation, there will be a ton of construction equipment lying around to fortify the building or to be used as makeshift weaponry.
Cons: Southridge is the one mall that hasn’t changed all that much since it opened as part of the first wave of malls that inspired Dawn Of The Dead. Anyone who has seen that movie knows all the secrets of this mall as well.
Arbitrary apocalyptic suitability judgment: C. Southridge is the solid, sensible, and boring choice to use as a zombie fighting base.