November 03, 2003 12:00 PM

>In time for Halloween, Max Brooks (son of Mel, above right, and Anne Bancroft) offers The Zombie Survival Guide. Why? Says the former Saturday Night Live writer, 31: “What does it hurt to be prepared?”

On His inspiration “People have asked me, ‘Did you write this as a metaphor for the paranoia that’s sweeping the nation?’ No. I’m not that smart. I’m just really scared of zombies.”

On why zombies scare him “It’s a corpse animated by a mutated brain—there’s a total lack of emotion. Freddy Krueger—if he has time to make wisecracks, that’s not scary.”

On how to kill a zombie “A machete will never let you down. A guy asked me, ‘What if you greased yourself in Vaseline so they couldn’t grab you?’ Creative, but not smart. (A) You’ll clog your pores. (B) If you’re greased up, how will you grab a machete?”

On parental support “They’re very proud that I’ve decided to give back to the community. But they are not a good gauge. I made a turkey sandwich the other day. They had just as much pride.”

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