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Shaun of the Dead

From Academic Kids

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Shaun of the Dead is a zombie themed romantic comedy, or "romzomcom" as it dubs itself, released in 2004 (April 9 in the United Kingdom, September 24 in America). It was written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, directed by Edgar Wright, and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Despite the title—a pun on George Romero's Dawn of the Dead and the name of the lead character—it is not a horror-spoof in the style of the Scary Movie films. Rather, it is an affectionate tribute to the genre of zombie horror, with many background references to classic zombie films.

It featured a cameo appearance by leadman Chris Martin and guitarist Jon Buckland of Coldplay.

The production was filmed entirely in London, primarily at Ealing Studios, and involved production companies Working Title Films and StudioCanal.

In its opening weekend in the US, Shaun earned US$3.3M, taking 8th place at the box office despite a limited release to only 607 theatres (compared to the usual 2000-3000 for other top 10 entries). In the UK it took in £1.6M at 307 cinemas on its opening weekend and netted £6.4M by mid-May.

In 2004 the magazine Total Film named Shaun of the Dead the 49th greatest British film of all time.

Cast

Trivia

  • The cast and crew of 16 Days were mostly recruited from the set of the film.
  • The film was originally inspired by a short sequence in the sitcom Spaced (also directed by Edgar Wright), in which Tim (Simon Pegg) blasted several zombies with a shotgun in a Resident Evil fantasy induced by speed and Twiglets.
  • In keeping with Pegg and Wrights adoration of the genre and films in general there are many in-jokes and references to other films including character names, scenes and snippets of dialogue.
  • The film received a 15 certificate in the UK despite the gore, violence, the use of the word fuck some 77 times in 99 minutes and one instance of the word cunt.
  • It is never explained what causes the zombie plague, but hints throughout the film suggest various causes, including a satellite burning up in the atmosphere, a chemical spill and GM crops (most are explanations used in other zombie films). As in the original Dawn of the Dead, the zombies' true origins are never revealed, though a news broadcast at the end of the film is heard debunking the theory of a virus transmitted by monkeys (a dig at 28 Days Later).
  • The game that Shaun and Ed are always playing is called TimeSplitters 2. The "Player x has entered/left the game" messages are voiced by Peter Serafinowicz; they're not actually in the game and were added for comedic effect.
  • Many details (the landlord's names, the quiz, the "Breville out back") of the Winchester are based on the Shepherds, a real pub once frequented by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (and mentioned briefly in the film). The pair were regular attendees of the Shepherds' quiz night, and their next project is a television series about a pub quiz team, titled La Triviata. The Winchester takes its name from the rifle, which was used in Night of the Living Dead.
  • Matt Lucas and David Walliams, best known from Little Britain, have cameos in it. Lucas plays Yvonne's cousin (who looks similar to Nick Frost's character, Ed) whereas Walliams does the voice of the news reporter when Simon Pegg's character, Shaun, is at work, flipping the channels of the television in order to show his customers the different channels that the television can receive.
  • Many actors from Black Books make cameo appear in Shaun of the Dead, including Tamsin Greig.

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