The MythBusters The MythBusters

MythBusters Episode 207: Zombie Special

Premier Date: October 17, 2013

This episode featured a guest appearance by actor Michael Rooker from The Walking Dead.

An axe is a more effective weapon against a horde of zombies than a gun.


Adam first made vacuum-formed plastic masks to protect the volunteer zombies’ faces from paintball gunshots. He also made an axe head out of foam that would leave a paint mark when used to strike. The volunteers were coached in the “zombie shuffle” form of movement that would be employed for all tests throughout the episode.

Inside a hangar, Adam and Jamie marked off a circle 30 feet (9.1 m) in diameter. When the tests began, Adam or Jamie would stand in the circle as the zombies would approach from all directions. The zombies would only be engaged when they crossed into the circle. Adam, using the foam axe, averaged 14 kills before being overtaken, while Jamie, using a pistol and then a modified shotgun, only averaged 7 kills. Despite declaring the myth confirmed, Adam and Jamie acknowledged practical limitations with the parameters of the test in the episode’s aftershow.

(This myth was revisited and confirmed again in Volunteer Special.)

It is impossible to outrun or escape from a large zombie horde.


The Build Team set up a post-apocalyptic obstacle course on a runway in which 150 zombie volunteers were dispersed over varying amounts of space to simulate cities with various population densities. The volunteers were given a set of rules for their behavior based on common tropes.

The first to run the course, Kari successfully traversed a horde similar in density to the population of Manhattan. Tory then eluded a horde with the density of Mumbai. However, Grant, faced with the highest density on earth (180,000 people per square mile), was unsuccessful in escaping the horde.

The team then tried various techniques to see if they could divert the horde’s attention and successfully traverse it given the highest population density. Kari used Tory as a sacrifice and Grant used a robotic decoy; both tactics were successful. Tory disguised himself as a zombie to hide in plain view, but was eventually recognized and overtaken. The team declared the myth busted because they were able to escape the horde with both speed and distraction.

A zombie horde can collectively force their way through any barricaded door.


The MythBusters used a nineteenth-century barn as the setting for this myth. Jamie hid in the barn while Adam joined the zombie horde, which walked up to the doors and pushed in unison. On the first run, using rickety wood doors held shut with a single cross brace, the doors gave way almost immediately. When the doors were rebuilt using stronger wood and a stronger brace, the zombies still got through with one push. However, after Jamie reinforced the second set of doors by screwing a multitude of braces directly to the door, the horde was unable to break through, thus busting the myth.