The British film industry can be proud of Shaun Of The Dead, "a side-splitting, head-smashing, gloriously gory horror comedy" from madcap writing team Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright. Pegg also stars, while Wright directs what is essentially an irreverent homage to zombie flicks of yore. Although it didn't break any box office records, it slayed those who saw it and will likely find an even bigger audience on DVD.
Simon And Edgar's Flipchart featurette takes you back to the drawing board in the most literal sense. It's a cheap but cheerful presentation of the film in its embryonic stages as the gruesome twosome hack out the plot and play with sample pieces of dialogue, offering a rare and ribald insight into the process of development. (You can also compare storyboard sketches with scenes from the final film via the set-up menu.)
Simon also kept his camera handy during the production stages, offering a deliriously surreal behind-the-scenes look at the zombies hanging out between takes - playing video games and reading the paper, etc. Lucy Davis also gets in on the act and reveals how some of the film's trickier car stunts were achieved. You'll also find the more traditional 'making of' documentary, with cast and crew shedding light on their characters and overall concept.
TV Bits offers a novel selection of spoof featurettes, which contain a few funny moments but most of these will leave you as glazed over as the cast of extras. If you're a Trisha fan, you may get something out of the I Married A Monster snippet, otherwise this is just plain irritating. Ditto for The Fun Dead, basically the full version of It's A Knockout Zombies from the film (Keith Chegwin provides the voiceover - 'nuff said). The Coldplay slot turns out to be the most amusing of the bunch, with frontman Chris Martin appealing on behalf of ZombAid for those who've sadly been bitten by the zombies: "Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, Sting..."
Paul McCartney gets another ribbing in the ten-minute outtakes reel (and why not?), which is also notable for Simon Pegg's constant "corpsing" - see what we did there? There's even more mimickery in the Missing Bits section where Pegg and co-star Dylan Moran act out a scene as Michael Caine and Sean Connery respectively - although it has to be said that Pegg's Caine impression sounds like he's sucked a balloon-full of helium.
Cuts Like Butter
The option of 14 extended scenes feels a little excessive, but the accompanying commentary by Wright and Pegg helps to clarify why certain sequences had to be shortened. FYI: The cuts mostly had to do with pacing but there were also too many "in-jokes" which rendered some of the scenes too self-indulgent.
Pegg and Wright also deliver the best of a great batch of feature commentaries, sharing bizarre behind-the-scenes morsels with the benefit of perfect comic timing. Pay careful attention to the politically incorrect "black baby with sombrero" that apparently had to be airbrushed out of the American cut. You'll also learn several new meanings for the word "butter" as prescribed by Wright and www.urbandictionary.com. Priceless.
While a few of the spoof features don't live up to the comic stylings of Pegg and Wright, there's more than enough here to make Shaun Of The Dead a killer on DVD.