Shaun of the Dead


Shaun of the Dead

Infobox Film
name = Shaun of the Dead


caption = UK film poster
director = Edgar Wright
producer = Nira Park
writer = Simon Pegg
Edgar Wright
starring = Simon Pegg
Kate Ashfield
Nick Frost
Lucy Davis
Dylan Moran
distributor = United International Pictures
Rogue Pictures
released = flagicon|UK 9 April 2004
flagicon|USA 24 September 2004
runtime = 95 min.
language = English
imdb_id = 0365748
amg_id = 1:301090
budget = £4 million [cite web |url= http://www.dvdverdict.com/interviews/shaundead |title=Night Of The Laughing Dead |accessdate=2007-04-16 |work=DVDVerdict ] [cite web |url= http://www.easternecho.com/cgi-bin/story.cgi?7034 |title=Interview with film's stars |accessdate=2007-04-16 |work=EchoOnline ]
gross = Worldwide:
$30,039,392
country = United Kingdom
followed_by =

"Shaun of the Dead" is a 2004 British zombie-themed comedy (or "rom zom com" as it dubs itself) film. It was written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, directed by Edgar Wright, and stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

Pegg and Wright have referred to "Shaun of the Dead" as being the first film in their "Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy" with "Hot Fuzz" as the second and "The World Ends" as the third [cite web |url= http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7642129.stm|title=Interview with Simon Pegg |accessdate=2008-10-01 |work=BBC Website ] . Both films feature substantial amounts of blood, and the main character eating Cornetto ice cream (red for "Shaun of the Dead", blue for "Hot Fuzz" and green for "The World Ends").

The plot focuses on Shaun, a young man who is attempting to get some kind of focus in his life as he reconciles with his ex-girlfriend and settles his various issues with his mother and stepfather. At the same time he has to cope with an apocalyptic uprising of zombies that is destroying society - but to whose beginnings he is totally oblivious during the first third of the movie.

Plot

Shaun (Simon Pegg) is an appliance salesman whose life is going nowhere; he follows a mundane routine, and his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) is dissatisfied with their relationship, primarily because it revolves around going to "The Winchester", Shaun's favourite pub, every night. He also has issues with his hated stepfather Phillip (Bill Nighy), his increasingly unhappy flatmate Pete (Peter Serafinowicz), and a dissatisfying job where his younger co-workers show him no respect. Following a broken promise to do something special for their anniversary, Liz dumps Shaun. He decides to drown his sorrows at the pub with his other flatmate Ed (Frost), his best friend. After a night of drinking, he has an epiphany and resolves to sort his life out.

Unfortunately, this revelation comes at the same time as an uprising of the undead, who begin to attack and devour the living. Shaun realises the gravity of the situation only after two zombies attack him in his backyard. His "zombified" flatmate Pete attacks Shaun and Ed as they plan to leave the house. Shaun and Ed proceed to rescue Liz, along with Shaun's mother Barbara (Penelope Wilton) and stepfather Phillip to the Winchester. Liz's friends, David (Dylan Moran) and Dianne (Lucy Davis), also come along.

During their journey, Phillip is mortally wounded but manages to make his peace with Shaun before turning into a zombie, forcing the group to abandon him and their car and go the rest of the way on foot. The remaining group find the Winchester surrounded by zombies, and they approach the pub by impersonating zombie behavior, but they are discovered after the zombies hear them talking and arguing. Shaun draws the undead away while the others barricade themselves inside. Shaun returns to the pub thinking that he gave the zombies the slip, but the zombies followed him, and soon break in. Shaun is forced to shoot his mother, who was infected during the chaos; David is pulled through a smashed window, torn apart and eaten; Dianne charges outside in a vain attempt to save David, exposing the others to the zombies. Ed attempts to prepare a Molotov Cocktail, but is bitten by the zombified Pete, who is shot in the head by Shaun. Escaping into the cellar, Ed decides to stay behind while Shaun and Liz escape through the barrel lift. Shaun and Liz, who have reconciled over the course of the day, prepare for one last great battle against the zombie horde, but are saved by the British Army.

Six months after the zombie outbreak, society has returned to normal, and the remaining zombies have now become a part of everyday life, being used as cheap labour and game show participants. Shaun and Liz move in together, along with undead Ed, who is kept in the garden shed, leashed and playing "TimeSplitters 2".

Cast

Background

The movie 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 television sitcom "Spaced", which both Pegg and Wright worked on (Pegg as co-creator, writer and star, Wright as director). In particular, the movie contains many homages to previous zombie and horror movies, most notably the "Dead" trilogy of George A. Romero. The name of the film is a play on Romero's "Dawn of the Dead".

The film was initially inspired by the episode "Art" of the television programme "Spaced", written by Pegg (along with his writing partner and co-star Jessica Stevenson, who also appears in "Shaun" as Yvonne) 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, 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 (as well as Pegg, Wright and Stevenson, Nick Frost — who played Mike in "Spaced" — has a starring role in "Shaun" as Ed, and Peter Serafinowicz who played Duane Benzie in "Spaced" — appeared in "Shaun" as Pete).

The film is notable for the number of British comedians, comic actors and sitcom stars present in its cast, most prominently from "Spaced", "Black Books" and "The Office". As well as the cast members previously mentioned as having appeared in "Spaced", "Shaun" also stars Dylan Moran, well-known as Bernard Black in "Black Books", and Lucy Davis, who played Dawn in "The Office". In addition to this, cameo appearances are made by Martin Freeman (Tim in "The Office"), Tamsin Greig (Fran in "Black Books", Caroline in "Green Wing"), Julia Deakin (Marsha in "Spaced"), Reece Shearsmith (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 extremely brief appearances as zombies, including Rob Brydon, Paul Putner, Pamela Kempthorne (Morticia de'Ath in "The Vampires of Bloody Island"), Joe Cornish, Peter Kay ("Phoenix Nights"), Antonia Campbell-Hughes (from the Jack Dee sit com "Lead Balloon") and Michael Smiley (Tyres in "Spaced").

The production was filmed entirely in London, primarily at Ealing Studios, and involved production companies Working Title Films and StudioCanal. An early working title was "Tea Time of the Dead", as was "Dwight of the Living Dead". Zombie extras were mainly fans of "Spaced" (who responded to a casting call organised through a fan website) or local residents who, curious at what was happening, asked if they could take part.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. [ [http://www.southlondonpress.co.uk/tn/news.cfm?id=5408&searchword=Millwall : South London Press Today : ] ]

Reception

"Shaun of the Dead" was released on 9 April 2004 in the United Kingdom and 24 September 2004 in the United States.

The film proved both a commercial and critical success. In its opening weekend in the U.S., "Shaun" earned $3.3 million, 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 £1.6 million at 307 cinemas on its opening weekend and netted £6.4M by mid-May. The film has earned $30 million worldwide in box office receipts since its release.

Critical reaction was largely positive, with the movie receiving a score of 91 percent at the comparative review website Rotten Tomatoes (with a Cream Of The Crop score of 94 percent) and a score of 76 out of 100 at Metacritic. [cite web |url=http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/shaun_of_the_dead/ |title=Shaun of the Dead (2004)
accessdate=2007-04-16 |work=Rotten Tomatoes
] [cite web |url=http://www.metacritic.com/video/titles/shaunofthedead?q=shaun%20of%20the%20dead |title=Shaun of the Dead
accessdate=2007-04-16 |work=Metacritic.com
] In 2004 the magazine "Total Film" named "Shaun of the Dead" the 49th greatest British film of all time. In 2005, it was rated as the 3rd greatest comedy film of all time in a Channel 4 poll. [cite web |url=http://www.channel4.com/film/newsfeatures/microsites/G/greatest-comedyfilms/results/5-1.html |title=50 Greatest Comedy Films |accessdate=2007-04-16 |work=Channel 4 ] Horror novelist Stephen King described the movie as "...a '10' on the fun meter and destined to be a cult classic." [cite web |url=http://movies.about.com/od/shaunofthedead/a/shaundead122004.htm | title="Shaun of the Dead" DVD News| accessdate=2007-07-14 |work=Rebecca Murray] In 2007, "Stylus Magazine" named it the 9th greatest Zombie movie ever made. [ [http://www.stylusmagazine.com/articles/movie_review/stylus-magazines-top-10-zombie-films-of-all-time.htm Stylus Magazine’s Top 10 Zombie Films of All Time - Movie Review - Stylus Magazine ] ] With positive reviews, the film has acquired a certain cult following among audiences, especially those who were fans of Pegg and Wright's work before the film was released. [cite web |url=http://www.moviehamlet.com/review/320/shaun-of-the-dead | title=Shaun of the Dead, A Romantic Comedy. With Zombies.| accessdate=2007-06-06 |work=The MovieHamlet]

Pegg and Wright also scripted a one-off tie-in comic strip for the British comic magazine "2000AD" entitled "There's Something About Mary". Set the day before the zombie outbreak as depicted in the film, the strip follows and expands on the character of Mary, who appears briefly in the intro 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".

George A. Romero was so impressed with Pegg and Wright's work that he asked them to appear in cameo roles in "Land of the Dead", the fourth part of his "Dead" series. Pegg and Wright insisted on being zombies rather than the slightly more noticeable roles that were originally offered (as revealed in a DVD interview).

In 2006, the National Entertainment Collectibles Association announced that they would be producing action figures based on the film as part of their Cult Classics line that features fan favorite 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.

Upper Deck Entertainment released a card for the popular World of Warcraft Card Game in 2007, an ally named "Shawn of the Dead", [cite web |url=http://entertainment.upperdeck.com/wow/en/news/article.aspx?aid=2731 |title=Shawn of the Dead Card Preview
accessdate=2007-07-15 |work=UpperDeck.com
] with the power of bringing back allies from the enemy graveyard.

In the computer game "Hellgate London", cricket bats are a class of usable weapons. Rarer cricket bats have names such as "Shaun's Sidekick" and feature quotes from the movie in their description text. Flagship CEO Bill Roper said, "How could we make a game that features beating up zombies in London and NOT include a cricket bat as a premiere weapon of choice?"

Cultural references

As with "Spaced", in keeping with Pegg and Wright's adoration of the horror genre and specific films within that genre, as well as popular culture in general, there are many in-jokes and references to other films, television programs and pop-culture artifacts. Many of these references are mentioned in the 'Trivia Track' subtitling feature on the film's DVD and take the form of character names, scenes, snippets of dialogue and background materials. They are made both overtly (such as David's death scene in "Shaun", which reflects the similar death of Captain Rhodes in "Day of the Dead", and the use of the sentence "We're coming to get you, Barbara!" from "Night of the Living Dead") or in a more subtle fashion (such as Foree Electronics, Shaun's workplace, being a reference to Ken Foree, a star of "Dawn of the Dead").

Prominent are many references to George A. Romero's earlier "Dead" films ("Night", "Dawn" and "Day of the Dead", with "Dawn" in particular being referenced). In particular, the plot of "Shaun" relates directly to the plots of Romero's zombie films — all of which involve several people trapped in a building, with flesh-eating zombies attempting to break in to devour them, without a direct explanation for the cause of the zombie plague. 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, which is the synthesiser soundtrack to "Dawn of the Dead". The film also features a Kid Koala remix of "The Gonk," which was used over the closing credits of "Dawn".

Other than Romero's work, many other references to horror films are made, such as the "The Evil Dead" series, "28 Days Later" and the films of horror directors Lucio Fulci and John Carpenter. More diversely, references to "Blade", "The Deer Hunter", "Reservoir Dogs", and "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers" the films of James Cameron and the "Star Wars" trilogy can be found. Several references to video games involving zombies, including "Resident Evil", "TimeSplitters 2" and "Zombies Ate My Neighbors", are also present.

oundtrack

Infobox Album
Name = Shaun of the Dead: Music from the Motion Picture
Type = Soundtrack
Artist = various artists


Cover size = 0
Released = United Kingdom:
12 April 2004
Canada:
4 October 2005
United States:
4 October 2005
Genre = Rock
Alternative rock
Ska
Length =
Label = Universal International
Reviews = * Allmusic Rating|4|5 [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:kifrxqedldke Link]
Chronology = Edgar Wright film soundtrack
Last album =
This album = "Shaun of the Dead"
(2004)
Next album = "Hot Fuzz"
(2007)

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.

A short clip of the music video to The Smiths' single "Panic" is shown in the movie, where the line "Panic on the streets of London" is heard while Shaun is flicking through TV channels. Also the song "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen is heard in a scene at the pub where Shaun, Liz, and Ed bludgeon the zombified owner of the pub to the beat of the tune. Additionally, "Kernkraft 400" by Zombie Nation is heard during one scene while Shaun is on a bus. The US theatrical trailer also features "Pretend We're Dead" by L7 (from the Bricks Are Heavy album), although that song appears neither in the film nor on the soundtrack.

On the soundtrack album, dialogue from the film is embedded within the music tracks.

Track listing

#"Figment"
#"The Blue Wrath" by I Monster
#"Mister Mental" by Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
#"Meltdown" by Ash
#"Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen
#"White Lines (Don't Do It)" by Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel and The Furious Five
#"Hip Hop, Be Bop (Don't Stop)" by Man Parrish
#"Zombie Creeping Flesh"
#"Goblin Zombi" / "Kernkraft 400 (Osymyso Mix)" by Zombie Nation
#"Fizzy Legs"
#"Soft" by Lemon Jelly
#"Death Bivouac"
#"The Gonk (Kid Koala Remix)" by The Noveltones
#"Envy the Dead"
#"Ghost Town" by The Specials
#"Blood in Three Flavours"
#"Panic" by The Smiths
#"Everybody's Happy Nowadays" by Ash featuring Chris Martin (Originally by Buzzcocks)
#"You're My Best Friend" by Queen
#"You've Got Red on You / Shaun of the Dead Suite"
#"Normality"
#"Fundead"

ee also

*Zombie comedy
*"Hot Fuzz"
*"Spaced"
*Working Title Films

References

External links

* [http://uip.co.uk/romzom/ "Shaun of the Dead" website (UK release)]
* [http://www.shaunofthedeadmovie.com/ "Shaun of the Dead" website (US release)]
*imdb title|id=0365748|title=Shaun of the Dead
*rotten-tomatoes|id=shaun_of_the_dead|title=Shaun of the Dead
*mojo title|id=shaunofthedead|title=Shaun of the Dead
* [http://www.movielocationsguide.com/Shaun_of_the_Dead/filming_locations "Shaun of the Dead" Filming Locations]
* [http://www.action-figure.com/index.php?name=News&file=article&sid=21387 Shaun of the Dead Winchester 2 Pack figures from NECA] at Action-figure.com
* [http://maximonline.com/slideshows/index.aspx?slideId=3093&imgCollectId=161&src=maxim_ed Hilarious Movie T-shirts] , retrieved on 19 March 2007.


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