The Purge: The Complete Survival Guide

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The Purge: Election Year is coming to theatres in July. Given the popularity of supercharged action and ultraviolent entertainment, it is very likely that Purge-like fantasies have occurred to a decent number of people. It's is no longer news that people routinely talk about what they would do in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Naturally, such ideas are the product of idle nerds and their idle minds. All good-hearted people know that a little fictional violence is nothing but a healthy and cathartic expression of real world frustrations (it’s the news media, which sensationalizes real world violence, that ought to exercise more responsibility). That being said, the successful Blumhouse Films horror franchise posits the idea that US citizens be granted the freedom to exorcise their real world frustrations for one day a year with no legal repercussions. The Purge films seem just a little closer to reality than a zombie apocalypse, and so we thought to take it upon ourselves to figure out just how to survive it, should it ever come to pass.

Here is Screen Rant's Complete Purge Survival Guide.

15 Establish a Reputation as Mr. Psycho

American Psycho

This first technique we came up with is preventative. In this case, we suggest not all of life's problems can be solved by arming oneself to the teeth with guns and knives - no, we suggest arming yourself with a terrifying personality! While this technique does involve serious intimidation tactics, it can be executed relatively peacefully. It’s all about reputation: people judge others on the basis of false perceptions all the time; that's a part of life, but if there’s a purge to be concerned about, why not give them some serious false notions to nudge ‘em in a way that is beneficial to you? In other words, nudge them away from you and towards anybody else. In this case, make them think you’re a serial killer or capable of mass murder, with a hair trigger and the reflexes of a jungle cat. Read The Anarchist’s Cookbook on your lunch break; wallpaper your office cubicle with images of guns, crime scenes, ads from Soldier of Fortune magazine; occasionally order "long pig" at the cafeteria. Tell horrifying, unfunny, sadistic jokes on a regular basis - and be sure to laugh maniacally afterwards. Be creative, and ta-da: you're not dead!

14 Establish a Reputation as Mr. Nice Guy

Fred Rogers

If you're not up for that, why not take the opposite approach? Again, no materials are required for this DIY personality project. Furthermore, it doesn’t even require any form of confrontation whatsoever! What it does involve is appealing to the inherently good nature of people (which is questionable in The Purge's universe). This might seem crazy, but it’s an incredibly sound approach: be the guy that everyone likes! Take that extra work shift when no one wants it; bring donuts for your co-workers; offer an ear and a shoulder if you see someone having a bad day. Be the Fred Rogers, the Bob Ross of your little world. By appealing to people’s better nature, you will not only decrease the likelihood that someone you know will want to purge you come Purge day, but you may also gain the favor of folks who will want to take you under their wing and offer you a space in their heavily secured bunker. Hooray! You're not dead!

13 Combat Training

Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid

If you don’t think that altering people’s attitudes about you will work, why not spend a few bucks and invest in combat training. Whether studying under a YMCA karate instructor, a military trainer, or a professional Muay Thai kickboxer, you should learn some helpful tips that could help if things get down to hand-to-hand combat or melee weapon attacks. Obviously guns will pose a problem, but it is a good idea to be prepared for as many eventualities as possible. While it’s nice to imagine that you will never have an encounter in which you are truly unarmed and have to protect yourself from a machete or chainsaw attack, don’t fool yourself. This is a valuable skill to possess, and it can do more than just help you survive - turn your training around, and have some fun of your own on Purge night. Wham! Pow! Bam! You're not dead.

12 Take a Vacation

Take a Vacation

Still want to avoid confrontation? Well, it’s hardly a sporting option and demonstrates no Purge spirit, but what the heck; it’s your life, and you have the freedom to try to preserve it in any manner you choose. That being the case, what better time is there than Purge day to take that vacation to Canada that you’ve been thinking about? Even in a non-Purge universe, Canada is statistically a much safer place than the United States. Conversely, a visit to America’s southern neighbor, Mexico, is always an option for a low-cost vacation; the only caveat being that guerillas working for a drug cartel might capture you and sell you to rich Purgers with whom they have established a business relationship. The important thing is to do your research! Stay ahead of the game, find an affordable hotel with a continental breakfast, what do you know - you're not dead!

11 Go for a Cruise

Master and Commander

Have you got your own boat, or can you charter one? After traveling about 300 miles from the US mainland, you will have reached international waters, and the laws of the United States basically no longer apply. Now, we're not experts on maritime law, but we're pretty sure that in our world, that does not mean that international waters are a 24/7 purge party. Just make sure you clear the boundary; staying too close to shore keeps you within US waters, where scuba purgers may sneak up on you. You do not want to face the business end of a harpoon gun, my friend. Furthermore, this plan provides other benefits than simply staying alive; for example, while this plan is similar to the vacation option, it might be cheaper than paying airfare for the whole family and then taking them to stay at a resort. Plus, it provides people with a wonderful opportunity to develop their seamanship! Look, a dolphin - and you're not dead!

10 Get On A Plane

Bond on a Plane

Not everybody can handle the motion of the ocean; additionally, there’s always the outside chance that the perfect storm may come along and make you wish you were cowering from would-be purgers in the privacy of your own home. So, if you have the means, you can always charter a jet, and take the airborne version of the international waters routine. Just make sure that you can either trust that your pilot won’t kill you while you are still in US airspace or that you have a plan ready to thwart the pilot, should they try anything shifty. For example, casually mention that you possess a dead man's switch, one which will blow the plane into smithereens should your heart stop beating! Ok, so now you've made an enemy, but on the bright side, you're not dead!

9 The Buddy System

Shanghai Noon

We’ve already covered the “establish yourself as a likeable person” scenario. If you manage that, or you have genuine trustworthy friends, a group of you might pool your resources and form an alliance. If the US Army’s former recruiting slogan - "An Army Of One" - was effective in recruiting people to join up, then there’s a reasonable chance that the same mentality might work well for the 12 hours in which you and your weeknight warriors have to fend off would-be pillagers and murderers. No one will have the opportunity to sneak up behind you if your homeys have your back, and you have theirs. Make a night of it: Debra can bring her night vision goggles; Dave can make his vegetarian lasagna; Jim has Settlers of Catan. There's safety in numbers, folks. Before you know it, you're not dead, and neither is Dave.

8 Extreme Panic Room

Panic Room

Alternatively, don’t trust anybody! You don’t need to deal with the sacrifices that are necessary for maintaining relationships with family, friends, or romantic partners. What you need is an extreme panic room! Academic scholars of the original Purge film know that even the rich folks who invest in advanced security systems are not 100% safe, so design your own! Oh, you say they did that in the first movie, too? Whatever. First, think reinforced brick and steel bunker (with additional lower level ancillary chamber [reinforced with additional layers of steel and brick]). Naturally, the whole outer property will be rigged with motion sensors, cameras, and perhaps a spiked tiger pit or two just for good measure (no tigers were harmed in the making of the pits). In the event that any purgers made it inside of your house, your panic room would be well-concealed — perhaps behind a large mural or a giant print of Thomas Gainsborough’s “The Blue Boy.” Naturally, inside of the panic room, you’d have a fully stocked weapon cabinet, and tasty non-perishable snacks. You're not dead!

7 Dig a Moat

A Moat
Credit to Philippe Alès

For those willing to get their hands a little dirty, it’s time to start thinking about serious defensive measures. This oldie but a goodie has been around for hundreds of years: dig a moat! Also good for use as a pool during off-season, a moat is a nice deterrent on Purge night. As an added bonus, it can be filled with alligators, piranhas, or sharks. While it may seem like not too many people have the budget to go this route (to be honest, all you really need is a shovel), it is a classy deterrent that will let people know that you are the kind of person who will, well, dig a moat. Alternatively, it can be filled with hot oil. Lava is also an option, if Minecraft has taught us anything, but the logistics are likely to create complications, and this would likely violate a number of zoning and building laws. You don't want the municipal government to shut down your firey lava moat on purge night - then again, perhaps you'll be immune to by-laws for just long enough to get by. You're not dead

6 Water and Fire

Game of Thrones - Daenerys Targaryen in the flames

This is a double-jeopardy option. The previously discussed lava pit is not the most practical solution. Additionally, the very act of digging a moat will not only draw unwanted attention and alert everyone in the neighborhood that you are, in fact, digging a moat, but it might even entice adventurous purgers to want to conquer the moat. Unfortunately, with a small amount of planning, would-be purgers can acquire the wood necessary to make a bridge over your moat. That’s why it becomes necessary to build a small wall on the close shore of your little river. A small wall, that is, that can be coated in flames via fairly standard gas piping (with some cheap natural gas or propane rigged to it) or with a nice coat of napalm, which you can spark up as soon as the purgers lay their planks across your moat. That's thinking ahead, and look at that - you're not dead!

5 The Old Electric Fence and Landmine Combo

Fences and Landmines

This one is very much catered to sports enthusiasts. Electric fences are great, but they have one small problem: they are not infinitely high. Once again, the more adventurous purgers may have the purge-urge to get out their old high school pole-vaulting pole and have a go at your fence just for the fun of it. But if you have a nice surprise waiting for them when they touch down, their buddies are not likely to make another attempt. That surprise? Landmines! Imagine the joy you will feel when you hear the triumphant cheers of the vaulting purger’s friends turn to disconcerted astonishment after a booming KERPLOW. With any luck, and/or strategic angling, the invader’s remains will be returned to their partners in crime, allowing them to have tangible evidence that your house is not as easily penetrable as, say, your neighbors'. Hey, you're not dead! Might want to check on the neighbors, though.

4 Disconnect the Lighting System

Night Vision

Over the past 20 years, humans have become unreasonably reliant upon electronic devices, but that’s nothing compared to how reliant we are on simple electrical lighting. In the event that some purgers make it past your outer defenses, its not very likely that they will be equipped with the infrared goggles necessary to navigate your domicile after you’ve cut the power. Naturally, you would have done more to facilitate this than flipping a circuit breaker switch, meaning your would-be murderers won't just be able to flip it back on. Discouraged, they’d probably move on before you’d even have a chance to ice them, to make trouble for the neighbors. Oh, and if they tried to light torches or flashlights, you could easily pick them off with a garden variety .22 rifle before their illumination got anywhere near you. Problem solved! You're not dead, but, oh boy, your neighbors really might need a hand.

3 Tear Gas Fumigation

Toxic Gas

This one also relies on the notion that most purgers do not possess a state-of-the-art cache of military equipment. All you have to do is simply buy a bunch of tear gas canisters, and as soon as your home’s perimeter has been breached, let ‘em fly! Alternatively, if you want to get fancy, you can have a large supply of gas rigged to your ventilation system for easy and efficient dispersal. Would-be purgers will choke and gag all the way off your property while you and your family remain in the comfort of your living room with your gas masks on, free to engage in political discussions, play a game of Twister, or just binge watch the Purge series. As it should be, your free time will be yours to make use of in whatever way you deem fit. You'll have a hard time seeing the TV screen, of course, but at least you're not dead!

2 Poisoned Food

Poisoned Food

Admittedly, this one is a little sinister, but as it might even stand up in a court of law in states that have adopted the stand-your-ground legislation, it is certainly fair game on Purge night (as is everything else). Set out a feast for your invaders. Unlike the milk and cookies that some people leave out for Santa Claus, don’t make it obvious that this food is meant for the purgers; make it seem as though they broke in just as you were about to gorge yourself on a delicious-looking meal. A turkey dinner with all the fixings is a pretty good standard; an American-style Chinese meal is good, too; then again, Italian could be extremely enticing to semi-focused purgers. Whichever cuisine you ultimately decide upon is not extremely important; what is important is the coating of cyanide that you will apply to all of the food. Just remember not to snack on leftovers when Purge night is over. Put down that bok choi - you're not dead!

1 Fake Your Own Death

Fake Your Death

If all of this seems like too much, then you can always take the simplest option and fake your own death. This one has some obvious advantages and disadvantages. If you are successful, you can stave off purgers who might otherwise want to kill you (in the event that they are people that you know). The best way to do it would involve putting out your own obituary, creating a listing for your home if you are a home owner, and perhaps even staging a funeral a few days in advance. This would also provide a unique opportunity to find out the manner in which your loved ones would grieve for you. Then, on Purge night, you would only have to hide in your house, which you would have already painstakingly cleared of all valuable possessions. The primary disadvantage to this is that you really can only pull it off once, maybe twice. It also increases the likelihood of being targeted the following year, that's for sure. No one is going to kill someone who's already dead - even if you're not dead!


Congratulations! You've survived a purge. If you have any tips and tricks for our readers, let us know in the comments.

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