Deadliest Warrior (2011): S03E10 – Vampires vs. Zombies


Deadliest Warrior is a 2009 documentary series in which the great warriors of history are examined for fantasy combat simulations.


Vampires, the blood-sucking nightmares of fiction, vs. Zombies, the undead corpses who feast on human flesh.

  • Vampire Team: Steve Niles (Screenwriter, 30 Days of Night), Scott Bowen (Author, The Vampire Survival Guide)
    Vampire Weapons”: Vampire Bite, Claws
  • Zombie Team: Max Brooks (Author, World War Z), Matt Mogk (Founder, Zombie Research Society)
    Zombie “Weapons”: Zombie Bite, Hands
  • This is the first episode to feature fictional entities, as well as the first episode to not use weapons (the warriors themselves are the weapons).
  • Featured are the 30 Days of Night apex predator vampires and the Night of the Living Dead slow moving zombies; clips of both films were seen multiple times throughout the episode.
  • The established rules used in this episode are that the zombie virus has the potential to spread to a vampire, sunlight will affect the vampires, the vampires can only be killed by removing/destroying its head or heart or by bleeding out, and the zombies can only be killed by destroying the brain.
  • To determine how many zombies a vampire could kill before getting overrun, Leif Becker, expert martial artist and world champion speed board breaker, tested metal claw gauntlets designed by Dave Baker to simulate a vampire’s razor-sharp claws. He was surrounded by 12 zombie dummies on pulleys, and ripped apart 9 out of the 12 zombies targets. Multiplied by 6 (to simulate the Vampire’s superior strength and speed), that would be 54 zombies killed out of 72, with an average of 63, resulting in the ratio of zombies to vampires (63 to 1).
  • For close range, in order to get a baseline pressure reading, the zombie bite was simulated by a 100 lb Rottweiler, named “Joey”, that bit down on a load cell hidden in an attack sleeve which resulted in 255 lbs of pressure. For the vampire bite, an alligator, named “Ripper”, was brought in to chomp down on a 10 lb load cell between two blocks, which resulted in 1,723 lbs of bite force. Then the forces were fed into an automated chomper designed by Geoff, changing the bite force and teeth for each creature. The zombie teeth killed a simulated vampire through bleed-out in 2:22, and the vampire teeth destroyed a zombie brain in 5 seconds.
  • For mid-range, the Vampire claw was matched against a horde of Zombie hands. For the Zombie hands, three world-class strongmen were blindfolded (to simulate the Zombies’ random attack pattern) and instructed to rip at a ballistic gel torso until they removed the heart, killing the vampire in 58 seconds. To test the Vampire claw, one of the aforementioned strongmen slammed down on a pressure mat, the force generated was multiplied by 6 (to simulate the Vampire’s super strength), generating a slash force with 8,820 lbs behind it, enough to penetrate a zombie gel head, destroying its brain and killing it in 1.07 seconds.
  • This is the third episode with no long-range weapons.
  • This is the first and only episode of season 3 where the least effective weapon was not in the same class as the most effective weapon.
  • For X-Factors, the Zombies had both the lowest and highest known scores of season 3, having a 9 in Intelligence and a perfect 100 in Endurance.
  • This is the only episode to have no edges given, and also has the fewest “weapons” tested, a total of 4 (compared to season 3’s average of 6 weapons, season 2’s average of 8 weapons, and season 1’s range of 8 to 12 weapons.)
  • This is the first simulated battle where one team has a numerical advantage (3 Vampires vs. 189 Zombies), the first to have a granular appearance (so as to create the classic horror film look), the second to have kills with unlisted techniques (the vampires throw and stomp zombies to death), the second to use slow motion, and the third to have a female play a role. It is also the longest running battle of the show, clocking at 3:36.
  • The male vampire who dies first has the highest body count of the show, killing 78 zombies by himself.
  • The vampires are the only warriors to outperform their opponents in every weapon category, but the Zombies outperformed the Vampires in X-Factors.
  • This is the only episode to end in a cliffhanger. Although the vampires won in the simulation, the head vampire was shown succumbing to the effects of the zombie virus at the end of the show (stemming from his earlier exposure to zombie fluids), ending in the words “to be continued.”
  • This is the only match-up where a warrior has been given a 100 in a known X-Factor.

Re-enactment 32

The battle begins at night inside an abandoned warehouse, where 189 zombies are searching for a food source. Somewhere inside the warehouse, 3 vampires rise from their resting coffins ready to feast. The lead vampire communicates to his comrades in hisses and growls, ordering them to split up. In a hallway, the male subordinate vampire rakes his claws on a wall. He uses his heightened senses to sniff out his prey and dashes down a corridor, jumping up a railed stairway until he comes to a wooden door. He puts his ear up next to the door listening for any commotion. A zombie suddenly smashes the door, startling the vampire. As the zombies begin to pour through the doorway, the vampire regains his wits and puts his claws to work, slashing and swiping 2 zombies who come through the door. He soon is overwhelmed and runs back to the corridor where the rest of the zombies have begun to come through the other exits, blocking all paths of escape. He goes to work again, using his claws to take down 76 zombies before being completely engulfed by the zombie horde. The zombies grab and begin to hold down the fatigued vampire as he calls for help. The female vampire and the lead vampire answer the male’s cries, but are too late to help their friend, and look on in horror as the zombies hold him down and disembowel him. The lead vampire hisses to the female to run for it and they take off down a hallway with a door. As the lead opens the door, they are greeted by another horde of zombies. He bites the first zombie in the doorway in the top of the skull and shuts the door, holding it down along with the female vampire, who locks it behind them. Both of them take off down the way they came as the horde smashes through the door and shambles on through. The vampire duo soon arrives back to where the first horde came in and both begin to massacre the zombies, taking down 58 of them. Eventually, the female vampire is attacked from behind as a zombie bites through her neck, breaking her jugular vein. She throws the offending zombie at the wall and stomps another one dead before dying of blood loss herself, leaving the leader to fight 50 zombies on his own. The lead vampire continues to fight, killing 6 zombies as fatigue begins to set in. As he slows down, he is swarmed from all sides by zombies that try to hold him down. The vampire throws them all off, killing 4 and rakes a fifth across the face before it can get any closer. Out of breath, the lead vampire attempts to leave through an exit door, but retreats back inside as he sees the dawn breaking in front of him. The vampire comes face-to-face with the remaining 39 zombies, killing them one by one. He then punches the last one in the face and throws it against a wall, killing it. The vampire looks around to make sure all the zombies are dead, then raises his hand and roars in victory.

Winner: Vampires.

Deadliest Warrior Series

You can find a full index and overview of Deadliest Warrior here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 14 September 2011.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 42 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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