If you’ve ever enjoyed seeing a comedic pairing between Brit actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, chances are, this is the film where it all started. A coming of age tale set in the most popular of all the apocalypses (Take that, Mayans!), Shaun of the dead is a slick tale of survival, friendship and grabbing a quick pint when all hell has broken loose.
But to me, that’s not what made the film so special. It’s the insane amount of detail that was put into it, that made it so great.
Here are just a few examples of why the film is so beloved by zombie fan films, on account of the fact that it’s a massive love letter homage to the entire genre:
- One of the first zombies encountered, Mary, happens to work at a place called Landis. Possibly a reference to Max “An American Werewolf in Paris” Landis
- The restaurant that Shaun tries to book a table at is called Fulci’s, a reference to Italian horror movie legend Lucio Fulci
- Instead of looping some sound effects to create the audio for zombies pawing away at the Winchester pub, director Edgar Wright actually had his extras do it for real for several days in order to make it more realistic
- The Rage virus from 28 Days Later is mentioned on the news reports
- The opening soundtrack samples the music from the granddaddy of all zombie films, George Romero’s Night of the living dead
And there’s just stacks more here. You’ve got references to Simon Pegg and his time as a DJ, the fact that the characters mention the entire plot of the film in a coded conversation and the fact that the film features a few cameos from Spaced, the TV series that Pegg, Frost and Wright had all worked on before.
It’s little, minute details that make a film like this so special. But then again, having a solid cast, slick directing and some genuine laughs don’t hurt either. it’s also got one of the best commentary tracks around, with Edgar Wright letting loose a few verbal gems and info on some inside jokes. And added to that, is another commentary track featuring the main cast. It’s real value for money if you happen to own this special edition DVD.
It’s a violent, funny, romantic and horror-reference filled zombie flick, and if you haven’t seen it yet, you’re missing out on the very first chapter of Wright, Pegg and Frost’s Blood and Ice Cream trilogy.