Now, after a slew of gory news reports detailing what some have characterized as "zombie-like" behavior, internet searches and postings—often laced with humor and sarcasm—are blooming across the Internet, advising Americans on how to stay safe in case of a zombie apocalypse.
That includes "doomsday shelters," says Matt Mogk, head of the Zombie Research Society, structures built to withstand various natural—and supernatural—disasters.
"These things are totally selling like hotcakes," he says. "Zombies are synonymous with the end of the world. That's why they're so popular right now, because we're all worried about them. We're seeing them in the news every day."
One Kansas-based luxury doomsday condo complex has completely sold out its units, the cheapest of which go for $1,000,000, according to several sources. Equipped with walls as much as 9 feet thick, military grade security, as well as an indoor pool and spa and a movie theater, these so-called "long-term survival facilities" promise protection from any number of disasters including hurricanes, the effects of global warming, and volcanoes.
A zombie apocalypse isn't specifically listed on the company's website, but "civil unrest" is—close enough, right?
If a multimillion-dollar price tag is a turn off, don't worry. You can buy a bare-bones shelter at a steal of deal for around $38,000, according to MSN, installation not included. But it's hard to tell how big the broader bunker market is, the article reports. Industry groups remain secretive and don't often divulge details about the business.
Nevertheless, one bunker business owner isn't shy speaking about his success. Radius Engineering International has built 1,400 shelters around the world in its 32-year existence, owner Walton McCarthy told a local news source and he has plans to expand his workforce according to MSN.
Still, not all doomsday researchers are keen on zombie-proof bunkers.
"It's overkill and just not practical for the common person," Mogk says, noting that in the event of a zombie apocalypse, the last place one would want to be is in the company of 100 other potential zombies.
"That's basically the worst idea ever," he adds. "In an extreme disaster situation why would you want to be with a bunch of strangers?"
The most important thing is to be prepared, he says.
"Rather than thinking, 'Oh I'm just going to grab a shotgun and blow off a bunch of zombie heads and it's going to be just like a video game,' people should be truly prepared meaning stocking water and worrying about the security of their shelter," Mogk says.
The plus side of investing in your very own zombie-proof shelter? Even if a mysterious virus doesn't transform most of the world's population into soul-less zombies, you still have a pretty sweet escape from any number of other disasters, possibly even the (potentially more-likely) explosion of the sun.
Meg Handley is a business reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter.