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Internet Commentary: Shaun of the Dead

The Reed/Ross Halloween Extravaganza

Phil Reed and Austin Ross view
Shaun of the Dead
Working Title Films, 2004

(Many thanks to Andrew Edmark for the stills.)

Austin: Go ahead and do the countdown or whatever whenever you’re ready.
Phil: Okay, I’m getting to the menu.
Phil: I think meesa ready. I have pizza and a bottle of water and I hope I wont have to pee.
Austin: Just drink all the water and use that to pee in if you have to. (The empty water bottle, that is.)
Phil: You know what? Let me force myself to pee. brb
Phil: Back. I predict that will have been a good decision.
Phil: Ready?
Austin: Aye.
Phil: 3
Phil: 2
Phil: 1
Phil: This film is rated R. Did you ask your mother to sit with you?


Austin: Lovely opening music, from the original Dawn of the Dead.
Phil: Is it? I know nothing about zombie movies really. Which proves this must actually be a good film in its own right.
Austin: I knew nothing about zombie movies before seeing this.
Phil: I knew nothing about wanting to sleep with the girl who plays Shaun’s girlfriend before this.


Austin: Good opening scene, as well. I like how they introduce the characters one at a time.
Phil: Oh, it’s so well done. Everything about it. That cunts line…every time I watch this with someone…every time…it gets a laugh. It’s not the best thing about the opening scene, but it’s nice, because it’s a genuinely funny moment and it gets the audience on the film’s side early.


Austin: I like all the little details, too. You can see just about every major zombie in this opening montage or in the background of the opening scene.
Phil: I want to sleep with the checkout girl, too. Pre-zombification, preferably.
Austin: She’s not too bad for a zombie, though
Phil: Oh as far as zombies go she’s intensely beddable.
Austin: I mean, aside from the hole in her stomach. And even then, you could probably incorporate that somehow.
Phil: Those flash closeups…honestly…that’s one of the best flourishes I’ve ever seen a director make. They are that good.
Austin: They’re unusual. I wasn’t sure I liked them first time I saw it. But now I love them.


Phil: Pete is fantastic, too. Honestly. This is such a well-acted film. It’s one thing for a comedy to be a good comedy…it’s a whole other thing for it to be legitimately well-acted.
Austin: This scene where Shaun walks to the store is just about the best thing ever.
Phil: I love his extremely feminine flinch when he’s hit with the ball. I wonder if that’s an intentional joke, or if Pegg really is a bit of a pansy…

Austin: Perhaps both.
Phil: That’s your fantasy, anyway. I should mention that this film and Spaced really made me appreciate electronic music. Which I honestly never, ever, in a thousand years thought was possible.


Phil: Oh, her, the gum chewing girl to the left. I want her, too.
Austin: I want Simon Pegg. But that goes without saying.
Phil: Honestly, this movie would translate really well into a great orgy.


Austin: Bill Nighy!
Phil: It took me at least three viewings to realize that the stuff on TV actually factors into the film later.
Phil: Bill Nighy is incredible. He really, really is. If they ever make a movie about me when I’m 60, I hope he plays me.
Austin: Pigeon-eating zombies make my day.
Phil: You always say that.
Austin: It’s kind of rare to see a zombie eating anything aside from man sushi.
Phil: Good point. Or each other, that happens, too. Honestly, there is no reason a zombie wouldn’t enjoy a hamburger, but nobody seems to think of that.


Phil: Jessica Stevenson! God. This really is my dream sex festival. Is she going to be in Hot Fuzz? I’ll actually be disappointed if she isn’t.
Austin: Dunno.
Phil: Find out.
Austin: She’s not listed. She is, however, billed to appear in one of those Harry Potter films, which is strange.
Phil: Did you actually check?
Austin: Yes.
Phil: You lackey.
Phil: Biting the phone? For some reason one of my favorite parts of the film.
Austin: Oh, I forgot to mention this earlier with exclamation points, but: Lucy Davis! More orgy material, there.
Phil: I really like Lucy Davis…but…she doesn’t do it for me.
Austin: Oh, and Dylan Moran really is superb.
Phil: He has such a strange delivery…I can’t even define it. He’s so…bizarre. So dead and bizarre.
Austin: In fact, let’s just say that everyone in the film is the best thing ever about anything, and leave it at that.
Phil: Deal.
Phil: A Ricky Gervais zombie would have been nice, though.
Austin: Maybe attempting the David Brent dance, in zombie mode.
Phil: It would make the movie much worse, but it’d increase the orgy value.


Austin: I love this music when Ed describes the bar folks.
Phil: Snake Hips…that’s your cameo, isn’t it?
Austin: My cameo was part of the first interracial hardcore loop, but it was cut in the edit.
Phil: For the record, dogs can’t look up.
Austin: I’ve never thought about it before.
Phil: Somehow I envy you.
Phil: If you ever get bitten by a mugger, Austin, you do know I will have to decapitate you as a safety measure.
Austin: I expect you to.
Phil: The sunrise?


Phil: Unbearable.
Austin: Oh yeah.
Phil: Edgar Wright. Seriously. That is one brilliant man.
Austin: Oh yes.
Phil: It’s little flourishes like that that make the difference between a really good director and a great one.
Austin: If I ever did make an orgy, I’d want him to direct it.
Phil: Once again, I’ll be very disappointed if there is no appearance by Jessica Stevenson.
Phil: So this second walk to and from the shop…it’s genuinely creepy stuff. I am seriously unsettled by this.
Austin: He slips on blood in the shop. He slips on blood.
Phil: I thought it was a banana peel!
Austin: You don’t even see it, but it’s amusing and frightening at the same time.
Phil: Oh yeah. Which is such a great thing, because it works two ways at once. This movie is not only actually scary, or truly funny, but it’s, on top of both of those things, a legitimately good film.
Austin: That guy who said “We’re dead excited…” always reminds me of Cappsy.
Phil: Zombie Mary reminds me of Cappsy.


Phil: I honestly feel bad for this zombie. Not the way she’s killed or anything, or impaled…just the fact that she is a zombie.
Austin: She looks very sad.
Phil: That pipe going through her…the blood and everything…I’ve seen how it’s done, but it still convinces me every time.
Austin: It’s extremely well done. I’ve always wondered if she could still stand, though. Because it severed her spine.
Phil: Yeah, I just wondered that myself.
Austin: But then I realize she’s a zombie.
Phil: Would being a zombie give her better balance?
Austin: No, it just means that nobody cares about logic when it comes to zombies.
Phil: What a hot snarl that zombie has. This movie should have been called Hot Snarl.
Phil: Once again, feminine panic from Shaun when the one-armed guy breaks in. Is it Shaun or Simon who is so womanly? I want to know.
Austin: “Fuck the man!” God I love that line.
Phil: So tell me, Austin…if they did decide to stay indoors, as was recommended…would things have turned out better?
Austin: Well, two zombies already knew where they were.
Phil: True…but you could hide in a closet or something…
Austin: And if the original Dawn of the Dead and that Hare Krishna zombie taught me anything (and god knows it did) it’s that if one zombie knows where you are, you’re pretty much fucked regardless.


Phil: Alright, so this record scene…this is exactly the moment at which I decided I liked this movie. Really liked this movie, and wasn’t just enjoying it.
Phil: The cricket bat didn’t hurt either, if only because it reminded me of Spinal Tap.
Austin: I feel the need to own a cricket bat now. Unfortunately, I don’t. Own one, that is.


Phil: “She’s engaged.” “That was quick.” I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen this…but I still laugh. That’s the sign of good delivery, and not just good writing.
Austin: This was the moment I decided I really liked this movie. “Mum have you been bitten?” “No. But Philip has.” “Oh, okay.”
Austin: And this montage, which uses more music from the original Dawn of the Dead.
Phil: The plans are great, too. Just…god. My god. Why can’t Edgar Wright adapt one of my stories?
Austin: I love the messages on the mugs, too. Oh, and this shot, right after Ed says “You believe everything you hear on TV?” Brilliant.
Phil: I have to admit, if this were reality, I wouldn’t leave the house. There’s no way in hell. Unless the zombies were coming from inside the house. Then I’d be terminally fucked.
Austin: That sounds painful. Death by terminal fucking.
Phil: Painfully delicious.
Phil: If I had to be a zombie, the only thing I’d ask is that I’m not naked. Because seriously now, that’s insult to injury.
Austin: I love this line. “Or someone.” And then Pegg’s feminine shriek when he bumps his head against the window.
Phil: He’s such a girl. Maybe that’s what you’re attracted to. Either that or his butt.
Phil: Is that white streak in Nick Frost’s hair natural?
Austin: White streak?
Phil: Or white patch, I should say.
Austin: I thought that was just a patch of hair he was missing, as though he cut his own hair or got gum in his hair and had to cut it out or something.


Austin: “I ran it under a cold tap.”
Phil: So now let’s say he killed Philip…would that make the events of the film turn out more successfully? It’s actually an interesting question of where exactly Shaun goes wrong in his attempt to save everyone. Because he really does try.
Austin: Well, they could stay in the car.
Phil: Right…exactly.
Austin: So probably, actually.
Phil: They’d still end up at the Winchester though…
Austin: But they could pile back in the car if it got too bad. Or David would have stolen the car.
Phil: Oh yes. No doubt. David would have stolen the car.
Phil: Do you think Hot Fuzz will be this good?
Austin: I don’t know.
Phil: I mean, I’m sure it will be good. But it’s hard to imagine anything else being this good.
Austin: This has zombies, and zombies make anything better. I mean, think about it.
Phil: I am. And you’re right.
Austin: I mean, imagine The Muppets with zombies. Better.
Phil: That just completed my boner.


Phil: I met a girl who looked like Liz once. I consider it a great failure that I never saw her naked.
Austin: I love this scene. They switch emotions so well in this scene.
Phil: It’s really funny because the panic about the situation actually leads to panic about whether or not dogs can look up. But yeah, this is one of a few really affective emotional moments. Spaced was able to do it, as well. Daisy’s birthday party is a good example of that. It’s real comedy, but it’s also just painful emotionally.
Austin: Also interesting is the fact that Ed didn’t open the door.
Phil: I just noticed that, too. It seems like a lapse in his characterization. It doesn’t fit.
Austin: Shaun insulted him in the car when he told him to “Stop telling me to chill out!” Watch Ed’s face right after Shaun says that.
Phil: Nick Frost is such a versatile actor in the right hands. Compare Ed to Mike in Spaced…it’s like a totally different actor.
Austin: And to think what the world would have missed had he and Simon Pegg not shared a flat.
Phil: Yeah, really. Makes me wish I had friends.


Phil: Fence falls down, Phil laughs every time.
Austin: After you laugh, do you say “Fence fall down!” in that monotone toddler voice?
Phil: I pause the movie so I can say it a few times, yeah.
Phil: See, at this point in the movie, you still don’t believe the characters are in any real danger. It’s still a comedy. Philip died, but now we get to see the rest of them crack jokes and kick ass. It’s brilliantly misleading.
Austin: At no point do you expect that most of these characters wind up dead.
Phil: Oh yeah. Seriously.
Austin: I mean, it’s not exactly as depressing an ending as The Fly, but it’s still a pretty black comedy.
Phil: The friendship aspect of the film has a very happy ending. That’s about it.
Phil: Of them all, Shaun is the best zombie actor. Ed is just kind of acting like that slow kid in high school nobody talked to.
Austin: His zombie impression looks an awful lot like Bub from Day of the Dead. I hadn’t noticed that before, but he is.
Phil: Fuck Fucking Off should be a t-shirt. And a Funk Funking Off version you can wear on airplanes.
Austin: Same thing with “It’s a running buffet!” Oh, and I love how Simon extends the word “eaaaaaat!” in that sentence. Like a cartoon character falling off a cliff.


Phil: This scene here, in the bar waiting for Shaun…this is the only time the film doesn’t work for me. It’s just…we shouldn’t have a scene without him. I understand what they’re doing…but we already know Shaun’s not gone for the rest of the film. It’s like a cheat that doesn’t work. Of course, if you can only find one scene in a film that you have a complaint about…that’s a pretty damn strong film.
Austin: I don’t know, I think it’s a perfectly fine scene. It’s not a standout, but it shows David’s character very well.
Phil: Saved By Nibbles would be another good title.
Austin: When Shaun’s around, David isn’t as outspoken as he is when Shaun’s gone.
Phil: Yeah, I agree…the David character is given the floor…but I think he still could have had this moment with Shaun here. Shaun sitting, contemplating what he’s done to these guys…David can still have his moment…with the added abrasiveness that comes from having Shaun there to hear it.
Austin: Dunno, David seems like the kind of person who only talks shit about people behind their back.
Phil: So honestly, do you dream about Simon Pegg saying “Thanks babe” to you?
Austin: Constantly.
Phil: I dream about making Steve Coogan go “A-ha!”
Austin: I use the line “I’m not a performing monkey!” all the time. Despite the fact that I am.
Phil: Yeah, that’s a great, great line.


Austin: If there’s one thing I really, really love in a movie…it’s the lighting. And this is some fucking incredible lighting
Phil: It really is a very creepy film. It might not be horror, but it’s every bit as unsettling as the good horror films I’ve seen…with the added bonus that this is actually a work of art and not just splatterfest.
Austin: Zombie shadows.
Phil: Yeah. I’m dead serious when I say this is scary stuff.
Austin: Probably scarier than actual zombies.


Austin: Queen! And pool cues.
Phil: Okay, I have to ask…was this song any good before this movie?
Austin: I honestly don’t know. Whenever I hear it, I think only of this film.
Phil: This five minutes or so of film is as close to perfect as any movie has ever gotten. Without question one of the best uses of music I’ve ever seen. It’s right up there with “We’ll Meet Again” over the explosions at the end of Dr. Strangelove.
Austin: I read somewhere they were considering another song. I can’t remember what it was, though.
Phil: The dart in the head: fried gold.
Austin: “He shot his sister in the leg with an air rifle.” I love how they both consider this experience with a shotgun.
Phil: 29 shells. They really do have no chance. Maybe if they all stand in a line…?
Austin: The scene with Barbara gets me every time. Every time.
Phil: Yeah. I hear you on that. It’s the culimation of good writing, good acting, and good characterization.
Phil: Listen to his feminine squeak when the rifle doesn’t fire. I think we’re gradually outing Shaun.
Austin: I’ve just realized Shaun reminds me of Christopher Walken in The Deer Hunter with that bandana around his head.
Phil: Another film I’ve never seen.


Austin: And this is a reference to Reservoir Dogs, but with corkscrews and broken glass bottles instead of guns.
Phil: See, I don’t believe for a second that Di would slice Shaun with the bottle…but I do belive she’d threaten him.
Austin: The zombie moans are getting louder. Like a chorus. And it’s extremely effective.
Phil: This whole scene is tensing me up. I can’t help but concentrate on it.
Austin: I know. Especially this next bit, where he kills his own mother. I mean, my god. Can you imagine?
Phil: I think this is where the movie sort of…it kind of leaves the comedy audience behind…And if you aren’t prepared to watch a good movie…you kind of get deserted.
Austin: Shooting your own mother in the face.
Phil: Yeah. I can’t imagine this at all. I could shoot you, though. Six or seven times. Without blinking.
Austin: And then decapitate me.
Phil: And piss down your neck.
Phil: I also believe David would have pulled the trigger there.
Austin: He did pull the trigger. It was empty
Phil: Oh I know, I’m just saying I believe it.
Austin: Ah.
Phil: Not because he’d want to really kill shaun, but because he’s not considering his own actions. It fits the character, as excessive as it seems.
Austin: I think it was a good idea they didn’t keep his apology to Shaun in the movie.
Phil: Yes. I agree…not having it robs him of his own redemption.


Austin: Oh, and this scene is reminiscent of that one dude in Day of the Dead.
Phil: This scene hurts to watch.
Phil: The effect isn’t nearly as good as the pipe impalement earlier, but it still convinces me.
Austin: Pardon me, not reminiscent. It’s a direct reference to Day of the Dead.
Phil: The first time I watched this movie…I was alone…it was night time…and I went to the bathroom afterward…and the whole time in the bathroom, all I could think was, “What if a zombie came in right now? What could I even use to defend myself?”
Austin: Ha, same here.
Phil: My best bet was a plunger. I was so fucked. Honestly, I owe my life to the fact that a zombie did not come into the bathroom that night.
Austin: Luckily, I always carry a pocket knife with me. So I could have a two-inch killing radius, if need be.
Phil: I’ve been carrying three pool cues and a copy of Queen’s Greatest Hits.
Phil: Let’s be honest: they should have went into the cellar in the first place.
Austin: Yeah, probably.
Phil: That’s what I would have done. Fuck you guys. I wouldn’t have let you down there with me either when you let them in the damn windows. You would just have to deal with it.


Austin: I’ll be honest: It’s very rare for me to cry during a film. But the first time I saw Shaun says goodbye to Ed, I actually shed a tear.
Phil: Yeah, Nick Frost does some really good “dying” acting. Used to great effect in the paintball episode of Spaced.
Austin: They made the fart gag actually sad. I never thought that would be possible.
Phil: Honestly, it’s such a strange thing…it’s a real apology…it’s a joke…and it’s a goodbye. All through his rectum.
Austin: That’s one talented rectum.
Phil: He deserves an award for that.
Phil: They’re supposed to be making a Shaun action figure…I wish I could remember when I read about that. I want it more than I want a girlfriend. They could both serve the same purpose
Austin: Whenever soldiers appear in a zombie movie I always think of 28 Days Later
Phil: I always think of Jessica Stevenson. Not when soldiers show up. I just mean “always.”
Austin: The ad for Zombies From Hell reminds me of Danger: 50,000 Volts with Frost and Pegg.


Phil: This scene just feels so…empty. Like Shaun’s life…even though nothing has really changed…it just feels so much is missing. It’s a very Sunday afternoon feeling. I don’t even know how it’s achieved, but it works.


Austin: More Queen, here. Excellent use of music, again.
Phil: It’s a moving finale. Honestly. “You’re my best friend.” I mean…come on. That’s real emotion. A friendship that bridges life and death. What more could anyone ask for?
Austin: You could ask for Jessica Stevenson.
Phil: I have been asking for Jessica Stevenson, dammit. But every Christmas is the same.
Austin: Fuck Santa Claus.
Phil: Hey, look. Music Supervisor: Nick Angel
Austin: Wow, I never noticed that.
Phil: Isn’t that the guy Pegg plays in Hot Fuzz?
Austin: Yeah, that’s pretty cool.
Phil: So is Nick Angel a made up name? Or did they name the character after this guy?
Phil: What the hell? Tasmin Grieg is in this? I just saw her name but not who she played. I really should read these credits more closely.
Austin: She plays Maggie, apparently.
Phil: I wish I had a name like Andy Mountain… You have a really good turnaround time on your research, Ross.
Austin: Don’t thank me. Thank that IMDb.
Phil: I didn’t thank you.
Austin: You bitch.
Phil: How often do you get a movie that good? Seriously now.
Austin: Not too often. And of course, they end with the iconic music from Dawn of the Dead. Which is a necessary part of any zombie movie.
Phil: I can’t imagine where this music would fit into a zombie film. The Zombie Dog Doo Dah Band?
Austin: I’d pay to see them. They really need to do a tour sometime.
Phil: Well darling, the film is over. Any last words?
Austin: It’s orgytastic!
Phil: I was going to say it’s tastorgaic. I guess that’s why we’ll never get along.
Austin: You say tastorgaic, I say orgytastic, let’s call the whole thing off.
Phil: Done and done.


About this entry


I love you two in a very special way.

By Jonathan Capps
October 28, 2006 @ 10:01 pm

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You know that bit where they bump into Jessica Stephenson and her 'gang', who are mirror images of Sean and his 'gang'? Well, that's where Tamsin Grieg appears. Along with Matt Lucas, Martin Freeman, the woman who played the landlady in Spaced (sorry, memory has gone) and Reece Shearsmith, I think. Blink and you'll miss them.

By Sue
October 28, 2006 @ 10:12 pm

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Wow, I didn't recognize Matt Lucas either. Caught the others, though.

This is HOPEFULLY the start of a series of similar collaborations between Austin and I. I say hopefully because a) we don't have a screen grab utility and b) we are very, very lazy.

By Philip J Reed, VSc
October 28, 2006 @ 11:21 pm

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> b) we are very, very lazy.

I can attest to this. We originally planned to do three films as an actual Halloween Extravaganza. Only we didn't.

By Austin Ross
October 28, 2006 @ 11:22 pm

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This is HOPEFULLY the start of a series of similar collaborations between Austin and I.


Give it a good MSTing, I say.

By Jeffrey Lee
October 28, 2006 @ 11:23 pm

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Although as far as I know neither of you two are robots or mad scientists. Or living in the year 3000.

By Jeffrey Lee
October 28, 2006 @ 11:25 pm

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You do have a screen grabber program. His name is Andrew, you insensitive twat.

By Andrew Edmark
October 29, 2006 @ 4:05 am

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All three of you are sexy sexy.

By Tanya Jones
October 30, 2006 @ 2:03 pm

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> Austin: That guy who said “We’re dead excited…” always reminds me of Cappsy.


> Phil: Okay, I have to ask…was this song any good before this movie?

Of course it was, you twat.

By Ian Symes
October 30, 2006 @ 3:34 pm

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> Austin: That guy who said “We’re dead excited…” always reminds me of Cappsy.


> Phil: Okay, I have to ask…was this song any good before this movie?

Of course it was, you twat.

By Ian Symes
October 30, 2006 @ 3:34 pm

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>> Austin: That guy who said “We’re dead excited…” always reminds me of Cappsy.


jpgs plz. I can't remember what he looks like!

By Jonathan Capps
October 30, 2006 @ 5:20 pm

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It's Vernon Kay!

By Ian Symes
October 30, 2006 @ 5:24 pm

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Poor Cappsy...

By Tanya Jones
October 30, 2006 @ 5:36 pm

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> It's Vernon Kay!

Suddenly I'm massively offended.

By Jonathan Capps
October 30, 2006 @ 5:42 pm

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Oh dear. I don't even know who Vernon Kay is. Presumably the scum of the earth.

By Austin Ross
October 30, 2006 @ 5:45 pm

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Personally I think Vernon Kay's quite sweet. No idea bout Cappsy, though!

By Sue
October 30, 2006 @ 7:28 pm

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>No idea bout Cappsy, though!

Nah, Cappsy's a bastard. But a dead sexy one.

By Austin Ross
October 30, 2006 @ 7:59 pm

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>> Phil: Okay, I have to ask…was this song any good before this movie?

>Of course it was, you twat.

Let's hear from someone who doesn't call his left hand Freddy Mercury.

By Philip J Reed, VSc
October 30, 2006 @ 10:01 pm

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