Ahhh, Shaun of the Dead, the ultimate rom-zom-com. I could watch this over and over and never get bored. If you haven't seen it, and you a) like zombie movies and b) have a dark sense of humor, you must immediately go rent it. For those of you that have, enjoy the trivia!
• Lots of the actors and crew originally worked on Spaced, a British comedy starring Simon Pegg (Shaun). The carryover includes director Edgar Wright, Pete Serafinowicz (Pete), Nick Frost (Ed) and Jessica Hynes (Yvonne). There are cameos by a lot of other Spaced regulars as well.
• The idea for the movie actually came from Spaced. In one episode, Simon Pegg's character plays Resident Evil for 24 hours straight, then starts hallucinating that zombies have taken over the world. • Look closely at all of the extras in the opening credits scene and the scene that shows Shaun walking to work. Nearly all of them will show up later in zombie-form.
• When Shaun is at the convenience store, pay attention to the guy wearing a suit that stands in line behind him. He'll show up a little bit later as a zombie missing an arm. In real life, the actor is an amputee and had to wear a prosthetic arm for the convenience store scene.
• The smart-aleck kid that mouths off to Shaun at the appliance store is Rafe Spall, Timothy Spall's son. You know Timothy from his roles as Peter Pettigrew in Harry Potter and the Beadle in Sweeney Todd (among other things). Rafe also shows up in Hot Fuzz, another Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg collaboration.
• Simon Pegg likes to sneak his family members into his movies, and Shaun is no exception. You'll find his mom in the background of the appliance store and his sister outside of the Winchester pub. She's in the window when Shaun goes down to check the fuse box and realizes that he was followed by the zombies.
• Obviously George Romero movies were a huge influence, but Edgar Wright cites Invasion of the Body Snatchers as another inspiration.
• Throughout the movie are clever references to horror movie veterans. When Shaun is trying to make a last-minute dinner reservation at Fulci's, that's reference to Italian director Lucio Fulci. At the appliance store, Shaun says that the manager and Ash have called in, referencing Ash from The Evil Dead. And the appliance store itself, Foree Appliances, is a reference to Ken Foree, the lead actor in the original Dawn of the Dead. Mary, the supermarket checkout girl zombie, works at Landis Supermarket - a reference to John Landis, director of Thriller and An American Werewolf in London.
• I remember being delighted when I heard Ed tell Shaun's mom, "We're coming to get you Barbara!" It's an homage to Night of the Living Dead. Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg talked to George Romero after the premiere and he loved the movie, so they excitedly asked if he liked the Night reference. Turned out he hadn't gotten it, but was delighted when they told him about it. He later repaid the favor by letting Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg be zombie extras in the remake of Land of the Dead.
• The character of David is played by Dylan Moran; you might also know him as Gordon from Run Fatboy Run. Shaun was the first thing I had ever seen him in, so to see him as the scraggly, strange, seemingly-on-something Gordon was completely bizarre to me. Turns out, it's really the other way around. Moran is known for playing characters like Gordon; David was completely out of the norm for him.
• The Winchester scenes were shot at the Duke of Albany pub in New Cross. The pub is now being demolished to make room for flats.
• When Shaun and Ed come home trashed from the Winchester and wake up a very angry Pete, the record they're listening to is Street Sounds Electro. According to Edgar Wright, this is an essential record for anyone who knows their electro - and Shaun would. Check out the posters in the background of that scene: there's a poster that refers to Shaun "Smiley" Riley, which tells us Shaun's last name and also his background: he used to be a DJ, which explains his obsession with techno. This was all explained in a scene that got cut from the movie.
• The guy who plays Pete, Pete Serafinowicz, is the voice of Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace. • Edgar Wright has used a few personal elements from his own life in the film. His mom calls him Pickle, which is why Shaun's mom calls him Pickle. And Shaun eats Cornetto as a hangover cure, because that's what Edgar Wright eats after imbibing a few too many the night before.
In fact, Shaun is considered part one of what fans call "The Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy." In Shaun, red Cornettos are consumed for blood. In the second part, Hot Fuzz, blue Cornettos are consumed to represent the boys in blue.
The third is called The World's End and is so far scheduled to be out in 2010. Wright and Pegg has confirmed that the third one is green (mint), but as to what that means... who knows.
There's a ton of trivia for this movie - you can listen to film commentary from pretty much all of the main characters, but they didn't all record it at the same time, so you have to watch the movie a million times to catch them all. And I'm totally fine with that; I just haven't quite gotten around to it yet. So if you know some trivia I don't, feel free to share it in the comments. And let me know what movie you'd like to read about! I did Alex's favorite for the first post and my favorite for the second, I think next time it's time to move on to your picks.