Shaun of the Dead
|Shaun of the Dead|
UK release poster
|Directed by||Edgar Wright|
|Produced by||Nira Park|
|Written by||Edgar Wright
|Music by||Pete Woodhead
|Cinematography||David M. Dunlap|
|Editing by||Chris Dickens|
Working Title Films
Big Talk Productions
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures (UK)
Rogue Pictures (US)
|Running time||99 minutes|
Shaun of the Dead is a 2004 British zombie comedy directed and co-written by Edgar Wright, and co-written and starring Simon Pegg alongside Nick Frost. Pegg plays Shaun, a man attempting to get some kind of focus in his life as he deals with his girlfriend, his mother and stepfather. At the same time, he has to cope with an apocalyptic uprising of zombies.
The film was a critical and commercial success in the UK, and the US. It received a 91% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 76 out of 100 at Metacritic. Shaun of the Dead was a BAFTA nominee. Pegg and Wright considered a sequel that would replace zombies with another monster, but decided against it as they were pleased with the first film as a stand-alone product, and thought too many characters died to continue the story.
Shaun (Pegg) is a salesman whose life has no direction. His younger colleagues show him no respect, he has a rocky relationship with his stepfather, Phillip (Nighy), a tense relationship with his housemate, Pete (Serafinowicz), because of Ed (Frost), Shaun's crude best friend who lives on their settee and deals marijuana, and his girlfriend, Liz (Ashfield), is dissatisfied with their social life, as it consists primarily of spending every evening at the Winchester, Shaun and Ed's favourite pub. They never do anything alone together – Shaun always brings Ed, and Liz brings her flatmates, David (Moran) and Dianne (Davis).
After a miserable day at work, Shaun meets an old friend, Yvonne (Stevenson), who asks him what he and Liz are doing for their anniversary, which makes him realise he forgot to book a table at a restaurant, as he had promised to do. Faced with this, Liz breaks up with him. Shaun drowns his sorrows with Ed at the Winchester. The two return home late and spin electro records, only to have Pete confront them, who is suffering a headache after being mugged and bitten by "some crackheads". Pete berates Shaun and tells him to sort his life out. Shaun resolves to do so.
The next morning, an uprising of zombies has overwhelmed the town, but Shaun is too busy dealing with his problems and too hungover to notice. He and Ed become aware of what is happening after watching reports on TV, as zombies attack their house. After fighting back with weapons from the shed, they decide they need to go somewhere safe. Shaun and Ed decide that the safest place they know is the Winchester, and they plan to collect Shaun's mother, Barbara (Wilton), kill Phillip, who Barbara reveals has been bitten, then collect Liz, and her flatmates. Shaun discovers that a naked Pete is still in the house and is now a zombie, and he and Ed escape in Pete's car. After collecting Barbara and Phillip, they switch cars and drive in Phillip's Jaguar and head to Liz, Dianne and David's flat, and collect them. Before they make it to the Winchester, Phillip dies of his bite, after he manages to make peace with Shaun. Abandoning the car as Phillip turns into a zombie, they set off on foot, bumping into Yvonne and her own band of survivors. Discovering that the path is infested with zombies, they devise a plan to sneak by, but Ed and Shaun get into an argument and the zombies are alerted. David smashes the window while Shaun distracts the zombies. Everyone takes refuge inside the pub, and Shaun joins them after giving the zombies the slip.
After several hours, the zombies return. Ed gives away their position and the zombies converge on the pub. Shaun discovers that the Winchester rifle above the bar is functional and they use it to fend off the zombies. Barbara reveals a bite wound she picked up along the way and dies, becomes a zombie, and is reluctantly shot by a heartbroken Shaun. David is dismembered and disembowelled by the zombies, as a frantic Dianne unbolts the door to rescue him, exposing Shaun, Liz and Ed to the zombies. Ed prepares a Molotov cocktail to fend them off, but Pete arrives and bites him. He manages to get over the bar and Shaun uses the cocktail to set fire to the bar. They escape into the cellar. Trapped, they contemplate suicide, then discover a service hatch. Shaun and Liz escape through the hatch as a mortally wounded Ed stays behind with the rifle. Back on the street, as Shaun and Liz prepare to fight the zombies once more, the British Army arrives and they are rescued. Yvonne, who has also survived, shows up and tells Shaun and Liz to follow her. They approach the safety of the trucks, reconciled.
Six months after the outbreak, the uninfected have returned to daily life, while the remaining zombies, retaining their instincts, are used as cheap labour and entertainment. Liz and Shaun have moved in together in Shaun's house, and Shaun is keeping Ed, who is now a zombie, tethered in the shed and playing video games such as Timesplitters 2.
- Simon Pegg as Shaun
- Nick Frost as Ed
- Kate Ashfield as Liz
- Lucy Davis as Dianne
- Dylan Moran as David
- Penelope Wilton as Barbara
- Bill Nighy as Phillip
- Jessica Stevenson as Yvonne
- Peter Serafinowicz as Pete
- Rafe Spall as Noel
- Martin Freeman as Declan
- Reece Shearsmith as Mark
- Tamsin Greig as Maggie
- Julia Deakin as Yvonne's mum
- Matt Lucas as Cousin Tom
- Mark Donovan as Hulking Zombie
The film is notable for Wright's kinetic directing style, and its references to other movies, television shows, and video games. In this way, it is similar to the British sitcom Spaced, which both Pegg and Wright worked on in similar roles.
The film was inspired by the Spaced episode "Art", written by Pegg (along with his writing partner and co-star Jessica Stevenson) and directed by Wright, in which the character of Tim (Pegg), under the influence of amphetamine and the PlayStation video game Resident Evil 2, hallucinates that he's fighting off a zombie invasion. Having discovered a mutual appreciation for Romero's Dead trilogy, they decided to write their own zombie movie. Spaced was to be a big influence on the making of Shaun, as it was directed by Wright in a similar style, and featured many of the same cast and crew in minor and major roles. Nick Frost who played Mike in Spaced has a starring role in Shaun as Ed. Peter Serafinowicz and Julia Deakin – who played Duane Benzie and Marsha in Spaced – appear in Shaun as Pete and Yvonne's mum.
The film's cast features a number of British comedians, comic actors and sitcom stars, most prominently from Spaced, Black Books and The Office. Shaun also co-stars Dylan Moran, who played Bernard Black in Black Books, and Lucy Davis, who played Dawn Tinsley in The Office. In addition to this, cameo appearances are made by Martin Freeman (Tim Canterbury in The Office), Tamsin Greig (Fran in Black Books, Caroline in Green Wing), Julia Deakin (Marsha in Spaced), Reece Shearsmith (Dexter in Spaced and a member of The League of Gentlemen) and Matt Lucas (writer/co-star of Little Britain). In addition, the voices of Mark Gatiss (The League of Gentlemen) and Julia Davis (Nighty Night) can be heard as radio news presenters, as can David Walliams (Little Britain) who provides the voice of an unseen TV reporter. Trisha Goddard also makes a cameo appearance, hosting a fictionalised episode of her real-life talk show Trisha. Many other comics and comic actors appear in cameos as zombies, including Rob Brydon, Paul Putner, Pamela Kempthorne (Morticia de'Ath in The Vampires of Bloody Island), Joe Cornish, Antonia Campbell-Hughes (from the Jack Dee sit com Lead Balloon), Mark Donovan (Black Books) and Michael Smiley (Tyres in Spaced). Coldplay members Chris Martin (who contributed to the soundtrack by guest singing the cover of Buzzcocks' "Everybody's Happy Nowadays" by Ash) and Jonny Buckland also cameo as zombies in the movie.
Pegg and Wright have jokingly referred to Shaun of the Dead as the first film in the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, with Hot Fuzz (2007) as the second and The World's End (2013) as the third; each of them featuring a different flavour of Cornetto ice cream.
The production was filmed entirely in London, on location and at Ealing Studios, and involved production companies Working Title Films and StudioCanal. Many exterior shots were filmed in and around the North London areas of Crouch End, Muswell Hill and Finsbury Park. Zombie extras were mainly local residents or fans of Spaced who responded to a casting call organised through a fan website.
The scenes filmed in and around "The Winchester Pub" were shot at The Duke of Albany in Monson Road New Cross, a three-storey Victorian pub popular with supporters of Millwall F.C. which was converted into luxury flats in 2007.
In the UK, Shaun took £1.6 million at 366 cinemas on its opening weekend and netted £6.4 million by mid-May. In its opening weekend in the US, Shaun earned $3.3 million, taking eighth place at the box office despite a limited release to only 607 theatres. The film has earned $30,039,392 worldwide in box office receipts since its release.
Shaun of the Dead received positive critical reviews, with the film receiving a score of 91% at the comparative review website Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 76 out of 100 at Metacritic which indicates "generally favorable reviews". Nev Pierce, reviewing the film for the BBC, called it a "side-splitting, head-smashing, gloriously gory horror comedy" that will "amuse casual viewers and delight genre fans." Peter Bradshaw gave it four stars out of five, saying it "boasts a script crammed with real gags" and is "pacily directed [and] nicely acted."
Awards and recognition
In 2004, Total Film magazine named Shaun of the Dead the 49th greatest British film of all time. In 2005, it was rated as the third greatest comedy film of all time in a Channel 4 poll. Horror novelist Stephen King described the movie as "...a '10' on the fun meter and destined to be a cult classic." In 2007, Stylus Magazine named it the ninth-greatest zombie film ever made. In 2007, Time named it one of the 25 best horror films, calling the film "spooky, silly and smart-smart-smart" and complimenting its director: "Wright, who'd be a director to watch in any genre, plays world-class games with the camera and the viewer's expectations of what's supposed to happen in a scare film." Bloody Disgusting ranked the film second in their list of the 'Top 20 Horror Films of the Decade', with the article saying "Shaun of the Dead isn't just the best horror-comedy of the decade – it's quite possibly the best horror-comedy ever made." In December 2009, Now Magazine deemed Shaun of the Dead the best film of the decade.
George A. Romero was so impressed with Pegg and Wright's work that he asked them to appear in cameo roles in the 2005 film Land of the Dead. Pegg and Wright insisted on being zombies rather than the slightly more noticeable roles that were originally offered.
The film was released on DVD shortly after its theatrical run in the US, with a DVD release around December 2004 in the US. Features included several audio commentaries, EPK featurettes about the film's production, pre-production video diaries and concept videos, photo galleries, bloopers, and more. The film also saw release on the HD DVD format in July 2007, with a Blu-ray Disc release following in September 2009.
In 2006, the National Entertainment Collectibles Association announced that it would be producing action figures based on the film as part of its "Cult Classics" line that features fan favourite characters from various genre films. The releases so far are:
- 12" Shaun with sound
- 7" Shaun, which was released in Cult Classics series 4. The sculpt was based on the 12" figure.
- "Winchester" two-pack, featuring 7" versions of Ed and a bloodied-up Shaun with the Winchester rifle.
- Zombie Ed, which is a re-deco of the "Winchester" Ed, to be released in Cult Classics: Hall of Fame.
Prominent are many references to George A. Romero's earlier Dead films (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead, with Dawn in particular being referenced). The title Shaun of the Dead is also both an obvious parody of and homage to the title Dawn of the Dead. Numerous lines, scenes and background details also directly refer to the Romero films, including the music playing over the Universal logo, a piece of synthesiser library music used during the hangar scene in Dawn of the Dead.
|Shaun of the Dead: Music from the Motion Picture|
|Soundtrack album by various artists|
|Released||12 April 2004|
|Edgar Wright film soundtrack chronology|
The film's score by Pete Woodhead and Daniel Mudford is a pastiche of Italian zombie film soundtracks by artists like Goblin and Fabio Frizzi. It also uses many musical cues from the original Dawn of the Dead that were originally culled by George A. Romero from the De Wolfe production music library.
On the soundtrack album, dialogue from the film is embedded within the music tracks.
- "Figment" – S. Park
- "The Blue Wrath" – I Monster
- "Mister Mental" – The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
- "Meltdown" – Ash
- "Don't Stop Me Now" – Queen
- "White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)" – Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and Melle Mel
- "Hip Hop, Be Bop (Don't Stop)" – Man Parrish
- "Zombie Creeping Flesh" – Pete Woodhead and Daniel Mudford
- "Kernkraft 400" – Zombie Nation
- "Fizzy Legs" – Pete Woodhead and Daniel Mudford
- "Soft" – Lemon Jelly
- "Death Bivouac" – Pete Woodhead and Daniel Mudford
- "The Gonk (Kid Koala Remix)" – The Noveltones
- "Envy the Dead" – Pete Woodhead and Daniel Mudford
- "Ghost Town" – The Specials
- "Blood in Three Flavours" – Pete Woodhead and Daniel Mudford
- "Panic" – The Smiths
- "Everybody's Happy Nowadays" – Ash featuring Chris Martin (Originally by Buzzcocks)
- "You're My Best Friend" – Queen
- "You've Got Red on You / Shaun of the Dead Suite" – Pete Woodhead and Daniel Mudford
- "Normality" – Pete Woodhead and Daniel Mudford
- "Fundead" – Pete Woodhead and Daniel Mudford
- "Orpheus" – Ash
Set the day before the zombie outbreak, the strip follows and expands on the character of Mary, who appears briefly in the introductory credits, and is the first zombie whom Shaun and Ed are aware of, and details how she became a zombie. It features expanded appearances from many of the minor or background characters who appear in the film. The strip was made available on the DVD release of Shaun, along with two other strips that wrapped up "Plot Holes" in the film, like how Diane escaped and survived the Winchester incident, and Ed's fate after taking refuge in the basement of the bar.
- Scott Pilgrim and Shaun of the Dead Director Edgar Wright
- 'Shaun of the Dead': Lively Zombie Comedy
- J.C. Maçek III (15 June 2012). "The Zombification Family Tree: Legacy of the Living Dead". PopMatters.
- Slender Fungus (13 November 2008). "Coldplay Official Site: The Oracle Knows Everything". Coldplay.com. Retrieved 2012-03-06.
- "Interview with Simon Pegg". BBC Website. 1 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-01.
- "'Zombies' pub put to the sword". South London Press. 11 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-14.[dead link]
- "SOTD UK figures at Box Office Mojo". boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
- "SOTD at Box Office Mojo". boxofficemojo.com. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
- "Shaun of the Dead (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2007-04-16.
- "Shaun of the Dead". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2007-04-16.
- Nev Pierce (7 April 2004). "Shaun of the Dead (2004)". BBC. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
- Peter Bradshaw (9 April 2004). "Shaun of the Dead". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
- "50 Greatest Comedy Films". Channel 4. Retrieved 2007-04-16.
- ""Shaun of the Dead" DVD News". Rebecca Murray. Retrieved 2007-07-14.
- "Stylus Magazine’s Top 10 Zombie Films of All Time". Stylusmagazine.com. Retrieved 2012-03-06.
- "Shaun of the Dead, 2004". Time. 29 October 2007. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
- "00's Retrospect: Bloody Disgusting's Top 20 Films of the Decade...Part 4". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved 2010-01-03.
- Norman Wilner. "Top 10 films". NOW.
- "Simon Pegg interviews George A Romero". TimeOut.
- "Tarantino Reveals His Top 20 Movies (Since Reservoir Dogs)". Screen Rant. Retrieved 2010-04-12.
- "Radio 1 Movies Blog". BBC. Retrieved 2012-03-06.
- "Shawn of the Dead Card Preview". UpperDeck.com. Archived from the original on 16 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-15.
- "Shaun of the Dead Pop Culture References". Shaunofthedead.com. Retrieved 2012-03-06.
- Shaun of the Dead at Allmusic. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
- Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg commentary, Shaun of the Dead (DVD). Universal Pictures
- Shaun of the Dead: "There's Something About Mary" (by Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright and Frazer Irving, in 2000 AD #1384, 2004
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Shaun of the Dead|
- Shaun of the Dead at the Internet Movie Database
- Shaun of the Dead at AllRovi
- Shaun of the Dead at Box Office Mojo
- Shaun of the Dead at Rotten Tomatoes
- Shaun of the Dead at the British Comedy Guide
- Shaun of the Dead filming locations from movielocationsguide.com