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The 31 Greatest Horror Movies For Your 2005 Drunken Halloween Bash
(That Probably Cost Less To Make Than You Paid to Rent Out A Few Kegs*)
Horror Movie # 28:  Shaun of the Dead

Halloween is a weird holiday. It's the only one where we celebrate spirits, reanimated corpses, and death (if you don't count Christmas). It's the one day out of the year where freaks can look normal and normal people go out of their way to look like freaks. And, best of all, it's a great excuse to pull out your stash of horror DVDs -- ranging from laughable low-budget garbage to quality low-budget classics -- and party like those dancing corpses in the Thriller video. Since many people consider a Halloween Party with the Scream trilogy and some Old Milwaukee a "smashing success," I figured I would put my unhealthy obsession with all things horror to good use and let the world in on the cinematic secrets to giving the best damn Halloween party ever! A new movie will be added daily, right through until the morning of October 31st! You can thank me later. Now, would be fine, too. Either way.

Is it just me, or does swarms of the undead
reaching out to grab another victim just never
get old?

Shaun of the Dead
AKA: Tea-Time of the Dead
Review written by: Alex Sandell

The Story

The recently deceased are coming back to life, Shaun doesn't have a life, and -- worst of all -- his girlfriend dumped him after he failed to get reservations at a fancy restaurant.  Shaun hopes to make things right with his girl, while saving the UK, one zombie at a time, by bashing them over the head with his trusty cricket bat.   

How Many Beers Should Be Consumed Before Watching?

Shaun of the Dead is one of the only "1 beer" film on the list.  The movie is bloody hilarious (I said "bloody" to show my street cred to the Brits), without even a sip of alcohol being ingested.  At most, you should pop this one in at the "light buzz" stage.  Your partiers will appreciate it more when they're still sober enough to understand those crazy English accents and their zany British quips. 

Gore Score

Choosing between a score of "Light Bruising," "Recently Deceased," "Badly Decomposed" and "Puke-Inducing," Shaun of the Dead gets a "Badly Decomposed" rating.  The movie's nearly non-stop humor causes people to overlook its fairly high (for a horror film of the early 21st century) level of gore.  You'll laugh right through most of the raunchiest scenes, sort of like George W. Bush is prone to do when "surveying" (IE - trying to raise his abysmal approval ratings) the wreckage left after a natural disaster.  "Brownie, you're doin' a heck of a job!"

Would You Like Cheese With That?

Horror movies can be "Easy on the Cheese," "Regular Cheese," "Extra Cheesy" or "Instant Cheese Based Coronary."  Shaun of the Dead is "Easy on the Cheese."  The movie relies on clever dialogue to get its laughs, rather than using cheese as a crutch, as some films are prone to do.   

Drug Use 

With "Let Off With a Warning," "Pay a Small Fine," "Put on Probation" and "Go Directly to Jail" to choose from, Shaun of the Dead gets "Let Off With a Warning."  One of the main characters is a drug dealer, even though he seems to never have any drugs on hand. 

Sex and the Psycho

Horror flicks and sex go together like romantic comedies and crap.  A terror movie can be rated "Nun," "Curious Schoolboy," "Chick After 8 Beers" or "Paris Hilton."  Shaun of the Dead is a "Nun."  There's absolutely NO sex, but Shaun's girlfriend's tits do bounce up and down in a nice fashion when she's crying over something that happens to Shaun's mother.

When Should it Crash the Halloween Party?

Shaun of the Dead should arrive early on.  The movie will have your guests cracking up (hopefully not literally), and get them in that magical partying sort of mood.  Plus, it's gory enough that the really weak-stomached will turn away from the television, making them easy targets for ridicule the rest of the evening. 

Will You Hate Yourself in the Morning?

Waking up from a night of partying can be downright depressing.  Waking up with a cheap horror movie in your DVD player can feel like "Sex With a Hotty," "Sex With Someone in Your League," "Sex With Your Sister" or "Sex With a Sheep."  Shaun of the Dead is like having "Sex With a Hotty."  It's like gangbanging 3 of People Magazine's sexiest people alive, along with all 4 of the MILFs on Desperate Housewives.  And Halle Berry in her Catwoman outfit.  Throw Jessica Alba in there, too.  Everything's better with Jessica Alba (although not even her tight and yummy buttocks could get any sane man into the theater to watch Into the Blue).  The dialogue in the film is the sharpest you're going to find in a horror movie.  It's sort of like The Office (the good version, from England) with zombies.  Think The Office meets Annie Hall meets Night of the Living Dead.  It even has one of the stars of The Office in a supporting role (which is entirely inconsequential, but happens to be one of those little factoids I like throwing out).  It's probably the best zombie movie since George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead (unless you're counting the Evil Dead trilogy).  Romero himself liked the movie so much, he asked the two screenwriters to be featured zombies in Land of the Dead (they agreed -- obviously).  The film pays homage to all the right zombie movies, without blatantly ripping off any of them.  For fine-dining in the film, the characters look to reserve a table at "Fulci's Diner."  A nod to director Lucio Fulci, creator of schlocky zombie gore-fests like City of the Living Dead and Zombi 2.  Shaun's boss is named "Ash" (if you don't get that one, you're beyond hope).  And, best yet, the film pays tribute to the master of zombie horror himself, George A. Romero.  A character in Shaun of the Dead paraphrases the infamous line from Romero's Night of the Living Dead ("they're coming to get you, Barbara") when he yells, "we're coming to get you, Barbara!"  Also, you can't help but laugh when the screenwriters take a dig at the overrated 28 Days Later, by saying the zombie epidemic didn't come from "rage" passed to humans by monkeys ("that's bull ...").  Shaun of the Dead works on every single level.  The acting is top-notch, the directing is fantastic and the horror is ... er ... okay, so it isn't really that scary, but it isn't trying to be.  And at least the zombies don't run around like track-stars.  Always a plus in my book.  This is in the top 5 Halloween party movies (why do I have it at number 28, then?  The world may never know.) ever made.  It's also one of the best zombie flicks out there.  The only way you'll hate yourself in the morning, is if you wake up on November 1st and don't have a copy of Shaun of the Dead in your DVD collection.

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Fellow horror hound?  Have any comments on this film?  Recommendations for the list?  Email Alex!

*Not really.  But you get the idea.

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