“Shaun of the Dead”

I am not a fan of horror films. I have watched precious few films that could be considered part of the horror genre, including those that merely parody the genre.

This glaring mark against my own geek cred is apparently very shocking to some people. I believe it has to do with my propensity in reading books that are in the horror genre.1 I don’t see the correlation because I tend to view these horror books as more fantasy. Also, while I am hardly fond of it, I can stomach reading about frightening and/or gory things much more readily than having it graphically represented before me, which more often than not leads to some all-too-real-for-me nightmares. I don’t particularly like waking up in a state of mind-numbing fright. Not to mention nightmares are hardly the most restful types of dreams. There’s also the fact that I saw The Exorcist when I was eight. I blame my mother for subjecting it to me and to this day I don’t know how I sat through the whole thing other than the sheer probability that I was frozen to my spot in pure terror. This memory is indelibly burned into my subconscious and the mere possibility of ever being that scared through my own choice keeps me very far from horror films.

Basically, I’m a movie wimp.

Anyway, in the midst of a discussion that most likely had nothing to do with zombies, this whole fact was revealed to my friends Alice and Josh. They displayed an appropriate amount of shock and dismay at the perceived sheltered existence I must lead, at least in terms of movie watching, and it was thus decided that I had to see Shaun of the Dead. I was assured that (a.) they would be there to essentially hold my hand through this potentially traumatic event and (b.) that it wasn’t gory. So, Tuesday night they came over and together we stuffed ourselves with ravioli and plopped in front of the television to watch.

Movie poster

So, as to the film itself, I think I rather enjoyed it? Despite the fact that Alice clearly has a faulty memory because there was gore and it was anything but light-handed. In fact, I’m rather glad I wasn’t sitting in my ideal spot in the living room for television viewing because I couldn’t really see what was going on. Even so, one particular scene was quite unpleasant. Needless to say, all of my reasons for wanting to keep as much distance as possible from the horror genre still exist and I don’t see that about to change.

Gory bits aside, I was quite entertained and this is honestly the only thing I expect from a movie.2 This isn’t a surprise for a Simon Pegg film. I’m pretty sure he could read the telephone book to me and I’d find it entertaining and hilarious. I will say that I didn’t find the film nearly as funny as everyone kept boasting it would be. Granted, I did laugh. But mostly I was just sort of sucked into the absurdity of it all which wasn’t so much rip-snorting as it was thoroughly bizarre and entirely engrossing. British humor isn’t for everyone, but I rather enjoy it and this is a fine example thereof.

Enjoyable as it was, though, I’m not exactly itching to see it again any time soon. Though, at least I know when to close my eyes or look away so as to keep my belly from roiling the rest of the night. Alice assures me that Hot Fuzz is far funnier and less gory and so I’ve apparently been talked into watching that at some point in the near to distant future.

  1. More than half the books I’ve read in the last three years or so have been about either vampires, werewolves, or zombies. Or some combination thereof.  Also, it should be noted that Dracule remains one of my most favorite books.
  2. I find this is a simple thing to expect and so there are many films that I enjoyed, though perhaps don’t love, that others think are terrible. However, even with such simple requirements there’s no shortage of films I’ve seen that I vehemently detest.


  1. Sorry I forgot about the gore. I remember it being lighthearted, with violence and bloodiness offscreen. That scene where they bludgeon 2 zombies to death in the garden and get spattered with blood sticks in my mind a lot more than . . . that other one.

  2. I’m a horror wimp, too. I don’t like gore and I haaaate suspense. (Even action movies often get me in that regard, no matter how many times I tell myself something is about to pop out and try to kill the hero…)

    My sister and I had a conversation about horror books vs. movies when she made me watch Zombieland a few weeks ago. (Which your post reminds me of because it’s also a zombie comedy that is mostly gore-light.) I don’t really care for either one, but she always prefers horror movies to books because she’d rather see something and then be able to turn it off than have to create the imagery in her own mind and live in the world in the more active way reading requires.

    • I’m not really a fan of horror books either. Though, I’ve certainly read a good many, but not because they were part of the horror genre, as I said above. I don’t really mind action movies. Suspense can sometimes get to me. My real aversion is war movies or big battles. And that’s not even so much from the gore as a personal discomfort for those things. Well, and the gore.

      Looks like your sister has the exact opposite of my gore issue. I end up skimming past those sections and not visualizing any of the bits that would make me uncomfortable. But when it’s on screen, even if I’ve looked away there’s still at least a partial image stuck in my mind.

  3. I think the reason why people generally forget that Shaun is gory is because it’s not done for sheer shock factor like slasher movies and such use it, but it’s there because… it would be a messy situation. Only slightly exaggerated for dramatic or comedic purpose.

    You should know that Hot Fuzz actually has some gore but all of the scenes are pretty far separated from each other, and they don’t last very long. On the plus side, though, it has a lot more humor present than Shaun did.

    • Well, I think part of her forgetting was having not seen it in a long while. Josh, her husband, spoke up immediately that he recalled the one particular scene. And regardless of the reasons for the gore, I rather like to avoid it. ;-)

      I am aware that Hot Fuzz will have some gore — and I’ll have Alice and Josh here to keep me from jumping through a window in fright. Actually, it is still to be determined when we’ll be watching it and I’m fine with spacing out my horror exposure. I’m reading a book about zombies currently as it is.

  4. Um. Hot Fuzz has I think at least one head explosion if I recall correctly. It’s freakin HILARIOUS, but there is definitely gore.

    Oh and hi from someone who is delurking!

    • Hi Andrea! Thanks for delurking! :-)

      I have been told that it is much funnier than Shaun, which I thought was quite humorous in its own right. I’m definitely anticipating and all the comments (coupled with past experience) have me duly prepared for any potential gore. And if not, that’s why I’m not watching it alone.

      • My British husband introduced me to Hot Fuzz. I love me some horror movies but I can’t watch them alone either.

        Simon Pegg is also in How to Lose Friends and Alienate People which made me giggle a bunch and did not cause me to rant about misogyny or ableism at any point that I recall. I make the husband vet films for 1) sad scenes involving dogs and 2) things that will make me rant.

        • I actually grew up in England. I would move back in a heartbeat if there were an ability.

          Seem like two good things to avoid. And I will certainly keep the movie in mind. In general, horror films could go off and scare other people, but I do rather enjoy Simon Pegg.

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