Monday, October 03, 2005

31 Days of Des' Horror Favourites: #29 Shaun of the Dead

Why I like it: Because it works. Simple as that. The vast majority of horror/comedies fail. This works on many levels: it's a satire, it's an homage and it's an original idea. As an example of previous cinematic comedy/horror abortions one of the seminal works in the genre-Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein-there are parts where you can see Bela Lugosi (reprising his role as Dracula) wish for death. Seriously!

Shaun of the Dead satirizes the modern zombie genre and the last British zombie film 28 Days Later with quick cuts. Only this time it is Shaun brushing his teeth and flushing the toilet that gets the quick cut instead of loading a gun and putting on a flak jacket.

It, in its own right, is a damn good zombie movie that pays all the right respects to George Romero (who will be talked about at length at later dates). It even has a few genuine scares.

As an original idea it is billed as the very first zom-rom-com (Zombie Romantic Comedy). If there are any others please let me know.

Simon Pegg (who also wrote the film) stars as Shaun. He only wants to patch things up with his long-time girlfriend Liz (portrayed wonderfully by Kate Ashfield) who is staying with her friends (played by The Office's Lucy Davis and Dylan Moran) who happen to be the most annoying couple on the planet.

Nick Frost plays Ed, Shaun's lazy best friend, who is enlisted to help get Liz back. But, they have to get by the pesky zombies first.

Major funnies are had when, to bypass the wrath of the zombies, Shaun and crew walk and moan like classic movie zombies and in the fact that it takes everybody so long to realize that there are actually zombies around. Why nobody thought of this before is beyond me. But the best has to be when a drunken Shaun and Ed stumble home singing "White Lines" by Grandmaster Flash while a zombie supplies background vocals.

Check these out:
-Evil Dead series-Horror/comedy harmless low-budget fun.
-Undead-The Aussies try out the zombie comedy thing and make a movie that would be better if it didn't try to be so funny. Still, zombie fish.
-An American Werewolf in London-Another rare example where the horror/comedy thing works. I'll talk about it later.
-The Return of the Living Dead franchise-More of a serious zombie collection of films but there are some amusing moments and lots of zombie mayhem.
-Dead and Breakfast-I have yet to see it but it's worth the viewing on title alone.

3 Bitching, Moaning and Praise

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shaun of the Dead may be the first English-launguage zombie romantic comedy, but the first romance/zombie/comedy is Wild Zero!

I can't recommend this movie highly enough. It's the film debut of Japenese punk rockers Guitar Wolf and is, quite possibly, the greatest rock n' roll movie ever made.

6:40 pm  
Blogger Des said...

I am soooo checking that out...

6:53 pm  
Blogger The Retropolitan said...

I was just gonna mention Wild Zero, because I just posted a review of it on my blog. It is truly awesome.

I'd also argue that the Return of the Living Dead series is far from serious -- the first one is pretty clearly a screwball comedy (the director even talks about it in the commentary), and the second one was directly a comedy. I guess the third one was more serious, but it only had a couple of zombies in it, so I'm not even sure it actually qualifies as a zombie film outright. It almost bored me to death, other than the ending. I guess we'll know what direction parts four and five take when they hit the Sci-Fi channel later this month!

6:26 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home