Halloween Horror Overload! Day Seven – Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Kiddies, I am waaaaaaay behind in these. Real life is kicking my ass, what with the family holiday gatherings, planning weekend trips for the end of the month, and phone interviews for full-time job opportunities (FINGERS CROSSED!!) But I refuse to let this get the better of me. So, I shall forge ahead! But I think that last one was the last of my epically detailed recaps. These next few will just be my personal rants and ravings on the films, I suspect. So let’s get the ball rolling on Day Seven – Shaun of the Dead!

I actually don’t remember the first time I saw Shaun of the Dead. I was in University, that much I’m sure, and I think I saw it when a friend burned me a copy. I am pretty sure I watched it alone? See, here’s the thing: I loved the movie so much, I watched it  like, a dozen times after my initial viewing. So I can’t remember if we rented it, and then my friend burnt me a copy because I loved it so much, or if I pestered him to burn me a copy because I wanted to see it so bad, and then I just watched that disc ad nauseum. I don’t really remember. Ido remember laughing my ass off. I do remember thinking, “who are these delightful British stumblebums and how can I become their best friend?!” I do remember thinking that if Dawn of the Dead had relaunched the zombie craze earlier that year and sent my zombie obsession into overdrive, then this was the film that was going to make zombies culturally significant once more. Nothing makes you more significant to pop culture than good ol’ fashioned satire.

If you haven’t seen the film, shame on you; it is fantastic. It’s basically the same as every zombie flick in existence – group of survivors hole up somewhere and fight off the mass of undead. Except it’s nothing like any other zombie flick in existence, since Shaun of the Dead makes a point of showing the humour inherent in the concept of a zombie outbreak – it portrays characters that have realistic, and yet utterly ridiculous reactions to the crisis; it makes you laugh when normally you should probably scream; it is a nerdy, perfect love letter to every zombie film ever.

Quick summary:

Meet Shaun.

He’s kind of a loser.

This is his best friend Ed.

Also, a loser.

Shaun’s girlfriend Liz has recently dumped him (see: loser) – seems he just can’t seem to get his shit together enough to take her out on proper dates that aren’t just them and their friends hanging out at the local pub. He hates his job, he hates his step-dad and his roommate hates Ed. Shaun’s life isn’t really going anywhere.

The day after Liz dumps him, Shaun and Ed wake up to find a girl in the garden. They think she’s drunk.

She’s not.

And so begins the zombie apocalypse for our two halfwit heroes. And it is HILARIOUS.

Somehow, our ragtag heroes not only manage to survive, they gather Shaun’s mom and ex and her friends at the local watering hole and manageto fight off the undead with little more than cricket bats and pool cues. It gets intense and even a little heartbreaking, but mostly it’s just balls-to-the-walls hilarious.

There are so many great little in-jokes for zombie fans – the brief radio broadcast that Shaun overhears about a space probe returning to Earth unexpectedly, Ed shouting “We’re coming to get you, Barbara!” at Shaun’s mom, the news reporter who states “Claims that the virus was caused by rage-infected monkeys have now been dismissed as bull…” All brilliant. I also love how clueless Shaun is as he walks to the corner shop in the morning, completely oblivious to the carnage around him. The audience sees all the signs that it’s coming – the people collapsing in the streets the day before, the “drunks” trying to get into the bar, the bite Shaun’s roommate gets on his way home from work, this:

But to Shaun and Ed, the kings of oblivion, this doesn’t even register.

Favourite part:

It’s hard to pick – “zombie acting class” is pretty fantastic, and the first time I saw the trailer I laughed until I cried at this bit:

But, I think as far as scenes go, Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” zombie beat down has gotta be the winner.

Scariest part:

I don’t know if it’s scary so much as just disgusting and awful, but David’s death is probably the most “horror movie” moment of the flick.

Grosssssssss.

Why his girlfriend went out after him, I have no idea. the man is clearly a goner. And also a twat.

Why I love it:

BECAUSE IT IS AMAZING. Honestly, even if you don’t like horror, I bet you’d like this. It’s not really scary, but it’s not cheesy or hokey either. It’s clever, it’s funny, it’s Simon Pegg at his Simon Pegg-iest… I will never be tired of this film.

So, there you have it. My incredibly half-assed ending to Zombie Week, approximately a week late. Now to make up for all of this week’s flicks – from Monday to Sunday – this weekend. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. Here comes “Aliens and Monsters Week” all in a two day period! HUZZAH!

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