(3/31/11) Incidental Amusements

Watching zombies shuffle along suburban roads in Shaun of the Dead for any period of time tends to change your perspective on life.

After all, so much of Shaun's zombie activity, at least in the first act of the movie, occurs in the background. You have to keep a sharp eye out for unusual behavior: lolling heads, swinging arms and unsteadily stumping steps. This attention to undead detail tends to stick with you long after the credits roll.

Driving down Main Street on a Friday night right after watching Shaun of the Dead, it was hard not to think that each slumped-over freshman we passed might be developing an appetite for brains. They already had the walk and the vacant, drooling expressions. The fact that their speech was hardly intelligible was just icing on the undead cake.

Besides, only an animated corpse could realistically survive below-zero temperatures in stiletto sandals and a miniskirt.

On the night in question, we made it past Main Street, dodged a few doddering miniskirt "zeds" on Court Street and had nearly cleared Milne Library when a bus approached from the opposite direction.

The horde of staggering zombie drunks blocking the road in front of us managed to stiff-leg it to either side, but one particularly intoxicated young man still had a backbone under his hypothetical rotting flesh.

As we watched, he walked right up to the bus and patted its windshield, as if to say, "There's a good bus." The bus stopped for a moment, as if confused, then jerked forward, eliciting a series of incoherent groans from the zed and his friends who were undoubtedly tired of walking with muscles that had the consistency of the Jell-O shots they'd just finished.

The undoubtedly confused bus driver must have inched his way out of the horde somehow, but we didn't stick around long enough to find out because our sloppy classmates had taken an interest in us, too.

After all, when the going gets tough (or shows an interest in your brains), the tough get going – though I really wouldn't mind having someone with the constitution of a drunk-bus driver on my zombie-slaying team.

Perhaps it's possible that all the zombies in Shaun of the Dead weren't subjected to a mysterious flesh-eating disease but simply had one too many. It might explain why they all end up gathered around a tavern. They weren't seeking human brains; they just wanted another shot of vodka.