Tag Archives: movies

Last Minute Shaun of the Dead Halloween Costumes!

My fiancee and I have a tradition of choosing nerdy couples costumes to wear on Halloween. So far, we’ve gone as Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovette, and Comedy Central/Fox TV execs under the control of brain slugs.

This year, we were finally going to try and figure out one of our dream combos…Carmen Sandiego and Where’s Waldo. I had a grand plan to find the perfect red trench, a matching wide brimmed red hat, and the perfect red and white striped shirt; the three required elements of our couples costume. Unfortunately, the fates were aligned against us. I found a long red wool coat, but it wasn’t quite right. I couldn’t find a red fedora to save my life, and even the relatively simple red and white striped shirt eluded us. I decided that I would do something semi-handmade. I could alter the coat, sew red felt stripes onto a white shirt, and  cover a random wide brimmed summer hat with red felt. But, in the midst of all these plans, I was also working full time AND studying to take the GRE. Needless to say, my plan was an epic failure, and we found ourselves up the night before our Halloween party trying to figure out what we were going to do.

Eventually, we came up with the idea to go as Shaun and Yvonne, from the 2004 classic Shaun of the Dead. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it! It’s one of my top 10 favorite movies…it might even be in my top 5.

So yesterday, Saturday, I worked until Noon…and then the hunt began. First, I went to Plato’s Closet, an awesome resale store in Greenfield, WI. There, I found the (almost) perfect green military style jacket. In the film, Yvonne’s jacket is actually a muted camo print, but this came pretty close in terms of style. I also found a perfect gray shirt to wear under it. These are both items I would wear again, and because the jacket’s zipper was slightly broken, I got an additional 20% discount. Jacket : $10  Gray Shirt: $6 I then headed to the Goodwill on 27th St in Franklin, which was a COMPLETE bust. Every single parking space was full, and people were parking haphazardly in the random open areas of the parking lot.

Next stop was Walmart. I found the perfect gold hoop earrings in a random set of 6 different size hoop earrings, which cost a little more than I was hoping to spend. I’m not really a hoop earring person, but I figured they were still cheaper than what I would have paid for a single pair at Target or Kohl’s. I then scoured the men’s clothing section and found the one and ONLY short sleeved white button down shirt they had in the entire store, which just so happened to be the perfect size. Earrings: $6 White Shirt: $12

I still needed a red tie, a golf club, and some sort of “weapon” for Shaun. I wanted to find an actual cricket bat, but a few phone calls to sporting goods stores around Milwaukee convinced me that I had a better chance of finding a unicorn than a cricket bat. I headed to the Salvation Army thrift store on 27th St., where I found the perfect red clip-on tie. I also had my pick of random golf clubs. Club: $2 Tie: $1

I found everything I was looking for, minus the cricket bat, and decided to head home and brainstorm with my fiancee once he got home from work. We already owned the other pieces of our costumes; skinny jeans, boots, black dress pants, and black shoes.

Lou decided we could make our own bat, and it actually turned out pretty well! We used a wood stake, cardboard, brown mailing paper, and electrical tape. It was actually fairly sturdy too, so we didn’t have to worry about it falling apart. I found the name tag graphic online, and stuck it onto an old work name tag I had laying around. Lou used a red washable marker to apply the “red” to his pocket. All I had to do was style my hair into a ridiculous Pompadour, and we were set!

Our costume grand total came to…$37, or $18.50 each!! Not bad at all! Our film nerd friends definitely approved of our costumes, but they went completely over the heads of our non-nerdy cohorts. But that’s what happens with pop culture costumes, and we are totally okay with that. We felt bad-ass and ready for zombie action, so it was definitely worth it!


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The Cabin in the Woods


Today I saw The Cabin in the Woods, after waiting for SOOO long. This film was shot in 2009, and the studio and Joss Whedon danced around for 3 years fighting against and for converting it into 3D. Honestly, there were 2 shots in this entire movie worthy of 3D, so I’m very, very glad they steered away from it and released it as it was intended to be seen.

Anyway, I checked EW this morning to see what it got, and Lisa Schwarzbaum gave it a B-. Okay, whatever, I probably would have given it a B+, so that’s pretty fair. But after reading her review, I realized that she missed the entire point of the movie. I wrote a lengthy comment, which I decided to repost here. Please read her review at http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20483133_20567682,00.html  And see my response as follows.


I think you completely missed the point of the film. The characters AREN’T archetypes, they are molded into stereotypical caricatures by the “puppeteer” organization that’s pulling all the strings. I don’t think this film is a critique of horror films, I think it’s a critique of horror filmMAKERS and moviegoers. The characters start out as normal young people, with their own unique personalities. The blonde “whore” isn’t really a whore, until she gets drugged by the organization. The “fool” is the smartest character in the movie. The “virgin” isn’t really even a virgin, as evidenced by her relationship with the professor, and her remarks to the “scholar,” who, yes, is intelligent, but is also a great football player. These kids don’t represent the stereotypes until the organization forces them to. Much as horror filmmakers present us with totally unrealistic, frankly insulting representations of young 20-somethings.

An entire room of male scientists ogles the “nearly” naked girl, who is only naked because they drugged her repeatedly. How is this any different from a room full of male writers/directors/editors/moviegoers ogling a naked actress in a stereotypical horror film? The characters make smart choices, such as wanting to stick together when the “crap” hits the fan, and jumping in their van to make an escape as soon as possible, but again, they’re thwarted by the people pulling the strings, who continually bend reality to get their desired outcome. How is this different than a writer piecing together a completely contrived script in order to up the gore factor?

The characters even “choose” their own monsters, much as society swings from one horror fascination to the next (mummies, vampires, zombies, and around it goes), which horror filmmakers then take advantage of. And audiences eat these movies up, no matter how stupid, unrealistic, or insulting they are. Well in this movie, the “virgin” and the “fool” fight back, and society pays the price for their vapid obsession with sex and gore.

This movie wasn’t perfect, but, among other things, it’s trying to point out that a horror film can’t be scary if we can see the people behind the scenes pulling all the strings. Real horror is rooted in reality, which is something that modern horror films have completely missed. Jaws is scary, because sharks are real, and they do kill, and they are scary. Psycho is scary, because there are crazy people in the world, and the things that happen in Psycho do happen in real life. The Paranormal Activity/Saw/Final Destination/Scream franchises provide gore porn and quick “BOO” scares, but they don’t elicit the same feeling of wrongness and true fear that the classics do.

The Cabin in the Woods was original, surprising, and enjoyable. There were definitely some loose ends left hanging at the end, but it was more entertaining and effective than 98% of the films currently playing. Ignore Lisa, go see it, and draw your own conclusions.

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