Shaun vs. Dawn

by Suw on November 1, 2004

Before I start this post, I feel you need a bit of context. That context is that I am a wuss. A great big girl's blouse. Completely chicken. When I was a kid I would watch Dr Who from behind the sofa. And I'm not exaggerating. I refuse to watch any film or TV series which might be even remotely scary or have even the littlest bit of gore. I remember once being forced to watch an episode of Casualty at a friend's house and I had nightmares for weeks.
Ok, glad that's cleared up.
I ended up watching Shaun of the Dead because it was 'a romantic comedy with zombies' and the trailer had me fair near pissing my pants. Had it been billed 'a zombie movie with romantic comedy bits' I would have steered well clear.
I told Simon Pegg this last Friday as I stood there trying to think of something vaguely intelligent to say (and failing, before you ask). I also told him that SotD was my first ever zombie movie, to which he replied that I should really watch Dawn of the Dead.
So whilst I was in town today I picked up Dawn of the Dead at a bargain price and settled down for 127 minutes of zombie action.
You know, I don't know what I was expecting, but I wasn't expecting that. Firstly, the blood is luminous. I mean, it really glows. How am I supposed to be all frightened of luminous blood? Secondly, there are so many music and visual cues that have been ported over to SotD that I spent much of my time thinking 'Oh! That's that bit! And that's that music! And oh, look! He's like Ed and he's like Shaun…'. I probably overdid it a bit and saw references that aren't there, but still, I now understand SotD a lot better.
I must admit, I did rather enjoy it. It does drag a wee bit, but most surprisingly I found myself saying things like 'Oh come on! Hit 'im! Go on! Shoot 'im! Ooooh for fuck's sake get on with it!', and actually being disappointed at the slow push of a screwdriver into the brain, rather than the rather more spectacular thrust-and-squirt that one would expect these days.
I guess the crappy make-up and effects are to be expected of a 1978 vintage, and I would bet that the remake improves both quite significantly. But then, DotD isn't really a zombie film at all but a satire on modern consumerism and as such, it's as valid now as it was then. Sadly.

Anonymous November 2, 2004 at 10:25 am

Dawn Of The Dead is indeed a black comedy. So now that you have been initiated into the world of horror films, will you watch more? You could try John Carpenter's Halloweenand The Thing. And then there is the first Alien or, of course, Romero's Night Of The Living Dead and Day Of The Dead which bookend Dawn… (the first is very creepy… shot in black and white so the luminous blood element doesn't apply)… oh, and Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy and…
You should come and visit so we can have a horror video-fest!

Anonymous November 2, 2004 at 4:38 pm

Glad you've seen DotD now Suw – my own personal favourite in that trilogy. I'd avoid the above mentioned Halloween et al if I were you – but then I've always been partial to Zombies more than anything else.
The Video Dead – now THERE is a good zombie film!

Anonymous November 3, 2004 at 11:10 am

I have to admit that, despite the fact that I enjoyed DotD and didn't find the gore too horrible, I don't really have the desire to go and rent a bunch of splatterfest gore-a-thons any more than I did before, which was not at all. I'm quite happy not further exploring the zombie genre, particularly as I think it'd be hard to top SotD.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: