Last Updated: June 7, 2020
In Zombieland, Columbus has a set of rules that he put together in order to survive the zombie apocalypse. The movie, directed by Ruben Fleischer (Venom), first went into development in 2005 before the final script was written. Zombieland followed a group of four people who band together for a cross-country road trip during a zombie epidemic (a strain of mad cow disease mutated, resulting in a massive outbreak). Those affected across the United States started to attack and kill the innocent.
Zombieland starred Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin as the core leads. Harrelson and Eisenberg played Tallahassee and Columbus, two survivors that eventually run into a pair of sisters, Wichita (Stone) and Little Rock (Breslin). Rather than get attached to people, it was best to go by nicknames or in their case, the locations that they identified with.
From the start of the movie, Columbus is shown to be following a set of rules he’s created for living in a zombie-ravaged land. Presented below are all of Columbus’ (known) rules to surviving the apocalypse in Zombieland, some were revealed in the film itself, others came via posters or promo clips. Some sources erroneously list rules made up by fan sites or other non-canon sources to fill in all 33 slots, but the rules listed here are all officially sanctioned.
Rule #1: Cardio
Rule #2: Double Tap
Rule #3: Beware of Bathrooms
Rule #4: Seatbelts
Rule #6: Cast Iron Skillet (Promo Clip)
Rule #7: Travel Light
Rule #8: Get a Kickass Partner (Poster)
Rule #12: Bounty Paper Towels (Promo Clip)
Rule #15: Bowling Ball (Promo Clip)
Rule #17: (Don’t) Be a Hero
Rule #18: Limber Up
Rule #21: Avoid Strip Clubs (Poster)
Rule #22: When in Doubt, Know Your Way Out
Rule #29: The Buddy System (Promo Clip)
Rule #31: Check the Back Seat
Rule #32: Enjoy the Little Things
Rule #33: Swiss Army Knife (Promo Clip)
Additionally, the following rules were introduced by Columbus in Zombieland: Double Tap, in which he says his list has expanded to 73 rules.
23. Ziploc Bags
42. Keep Your Hands to Yourself
52. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
53. Wet Naps
Columbus put the rules together as he went along his journey with Tallahassee. Some of the rules are more self-explanatory than others. For example, the first one, cardio, was included to point out that the faster you are, the better chance you have at running away to safety. It’s also important to not be a hero, as suggested with rule #17 as showing off could backfire. Many of the rules aren’t just aimed at fighting zombies, some explain the necessities for survival supplies and how to keep up with hygiene.
Arguably the most important rule would be #2, the double tap, which also happened to influence the title of the Zombieland sequel, releasing this October. Columbus instituted the double tap rule as a way to remind himself to never assume a zombie wass dead. A second shot to the zombie’s head was always required.
Only a handful of Columbus’ rules were displayed in Zombieland, with the others shared through promotional materials. The young man certainly didn’t seem like the type who was capable of living through an invasion of flesh-eating zombies but his rules paved the way to his survival, including the new rules revealed in Zombieland: Double Tap. Hopefully those involved eventually release an official full list of all 73.
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