Spooktober Day 13: Shaun of the Dead

For most of us cinephiles, we remember the first time we saw a movie, whether it be in the theater, or at home. If the film shakes you, positively or negatively, there’s a residue left that seeps into your memory and makes it challenging to let go. Well, I don’t want to- so I’m going to highlight some Kristy horror history for this wonderful, special, month of October.

Let’s be honest, it’s been a bit morose up in here (happily so) so why not venture into another horror-comedy? Cornetto style? Hell yes.

I can’t think of zombies, beer, or horror, without clocking Shaun of the Dead in my weird little brain. Edgar Wright’s film is absurd but it is chock full of campy humor, and it’s always a blast of living dead proportions.

source: Universal Pictures

Shaun (Simon Pegg) and Ed (Nick Frost), are 30 something- relative, by societal standards (and the films description)- “losers.” Shaun is unhappy at work, and at an impasse with girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) who wants him to show maturity and commitment in their relationship. Then, of course, when things seem to be going badly and Liz ends things then comes… zombies.

A year prior to my delve into the world as an adult, I was venturing to the theater to see this British mirth on zombie lore. I was taken right away, and even now, I wonder, would a pub be the right place to see the end of the world out? Shaun of the Dead certainly makes a case for it. So, I’m not ruling it out.

“Take car. Go to mum’s. Kill Phil, grab Liz, go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all of this to blow over.”

It’s also always good to know which records you can afford to throw in the name of survival.

Something I love about Shaun, is how a portion of the film just follows the mundanity of the central characters, going through the hum drums of life, unbeknownst to them that the apocalypse is coming. And, once they are aware, not much really changes, they’re still the slackers as originally portrayed, though by the end their arcs show them as unexpected heroes. Who wouldn’t want these two fumbling hero’s leading their way to survival? There in lies, one of, the beauties of Shaun of the Dead.

source: Universal Pictures

Its both a parody of zombie films while being a dissection of our disconnect and ignorance as a society, we so often move through oblivious, until something pushes us to awareness. Its a wake up call and a call to action, there’s one life: live it. This was back in 2004, and I feel like it’s even more relevant now as we march on, seemingly zombiefied by our own creations.

It’s also a clever satire that melds horror and comedy efficiently, never letting up on physical gags, almost sitcom-like humor, and the hilarity that arises when one tries to figure out the “correct” thing to do in an impossible circumstance. The makeup and effects are also top-notch, making the walking corpses no less frightful, even when they are being hit with pool cues to a Queen’s song in an almost- choreographed dance. The comedic timing of our leads, who would continue, and still do, to star together in several other roles, is expertly matched. While Wright’s flair for style and smart comedy, make Shaun a real joy.

A witty riff on zombie lore with plenty of gore to suffice, if you’re a fan of comedic reprieve on a horrifying sub-genre, look no further than Shaun of the Dead, you won’t be let down.