Hollywood lies ... a lot. So we're putting some of its more memorable moments to the test with a new weekly feature called "Reel to Real." This week we tackle "Shaun of the Dead."
The Reel Story:
In this recent British zombie laugh-fest, our hero Shaun and his couch-potato best friend Ed discover a pair of hungry zombies stumbling around in their garden. Initially, Shaun and Ed think the zombies are just drunks, but they quickly realize that the undead visitors are hungry and Shaun and Ed are on the menu. Not wanting to be the snack du jour, they start hurling household items at their undead assailants, with little success.
After a breather and a quick check of their local television news, they learn that the best way to stop a zombie is through blunt head trauma or decapitation. (Who said local news is irrelevant?) The duo start throwing the worst of Shaun's record collection at the team of flesh eaters — including Sade's Diamond Life — landing several solid hits and embedding shards of vinyl in one zombie's head, slowing their attackers up a great deal ... which of course begs the question: Exactly how much damage can one inflict on a couple of undead carnivores with a box of records?
The Real Story:
The answer is, not very much — even when armed with the lethal power of Sade. While it's impossible to determine what effect a record would have on the head of a zombie (surprisingly, little medical research exists on the topic), we can use non-undead humans as a yardstick. "The damage from throwing an old LP is probably greater than a CD or a DVD," observed Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at New York University and a columnist for the New York Daily News. "You could not wedge it into someone's head, as the skull is hard and would protect you. However, you could do serious injury. You could cause a concussion. You could cause cuts and scrapes." He added, "It's not a thing to be done lightly."
So then how does one face down a hungry zombie? If we've learned anything from the long and rich history of undead cinema, it's that a big bat or a gun will get you a long way. Golf clubs, two-by-fours and fire will also suffice. Also, when fending off zombies, it seems best to pick your battles. If you're being attacked by a horde, staying and fighting is not advised, as their sheer numbers and mindless focus on eating you could easily overwhelm your defenses. Of course, this advice comes from the same people who tried to get us to use a Sade LP, so take it all with a grain of salt.
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