Dumpster Diving for Zombified Treasures: ‘Dead and Breakfast’
by Mike Snoonian of All Things Horror Online
When Marc first asked me to take part of Zombie Jesus week, I immediately mentally penned an impassioned defense of the zombie comedy Dead and Breakfast. I was all set to present a grand case stating that the only reason why Shaun of the Dead receives universal acclaim across multitudes of “best of” lists while Breakfast lingers at the bottom of Frye’s bargain bins was the former’s inclusion of British accents.
I was wrong. Shaun is head and shoulders above this film. My bad.
That’s not to say I don’t love Dead and Breakfast. It may be a tier below Shaun or Return of The Living Dead but goddamn there’s some fun to be had with this film. There’s a bazillion moments to love in this film, not the least of which is the exploding head of a zombie gussied up in his best church going suit, toting a bible and sandwich board proclaiming the “End Is Here”. Plus I love just about everything about Zachariah and the Lobos Riders music throughout the film, especially their countrified rap tune “Comin’ to Kill Ya” which sets off an undead dance-a-thon reminiscent of the Thriller video.
The plot isn’t much to write home about. A group of friends en route to a wedding get lost; spend a night in a dead end B&B and wind up mixed up in a murder investigation. We ultimately learn that the nerdy awkward member of the group broke a cursed artifact in the home, transforming him into a demon and townsfolk in to the living dead. Also Dietrich Bader (Office Space, The Drew Carey Show) ends up having his innards lay a fresh coat of paint in the dining nook’s walls.
Add in the voodoo wrinkle and you have something unlike the hordes of generic zombie films that litter the DTV and Netflix Instant Watch landscape. See, unlike most zombie films, getting bit in Dead and Breakfast simply means you’re zombie chow. In order to get turned, a part on one’s body-hair, skin, and blood- simply needed to be placed in a cursed wooden box.
Plus Dead and Breakfast contains my all time favorite scenes of comedic mayhem ever in a horror film-a hoe down smack dab in the middle of Podunk country that devolves in to a Donnie brook feeding frenzy for the living dead. We start with the typical “fish out of water” shenanigans when our intrepid cast of jaded hipsters attempt to mingle with our local group of potentially inbred; deerskin and camouflaged vest wearing; Milwaukee’s Best drinking folks. Before our would be heroes find out who will take first place in the Ned Beatty impersonation contest, zombie mayhem breaks out. The next few minutes are so over the top, you can’t help but bust a gut laughing at the grotesque carnage unfolding on screen. My personal favorite moment occurs when one character fends off on becoming a meal by jamming a drumstick through his assailant’s eye socket. The scene ends as every scene in every movie should when Jeremy Sisto gets decapitated with an axe, and his noggin winds up finding a new use as a hand puppet for the duration of the film.