7 Things Every 'Shaun of the Dead' Fan Should Know About
In honor of the movie's 10th anniversary.
Ten years ago Shaun of the Dead was released in the UK, launching the movie careers of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright. Released two years after 28 Days Later, and less than a month after the Dawn of the Dead remake, it was a different kind of zombie movie that hit theaters riding the crest of a wave of zombie movies. One could argue that its success was the tipping point. It marked the moment zombies finally, really, went mainstream — leading to a world where it was possible for Brad Pitt to star in World War Z, and for AMC to turn a niche zombie comic book into one of the highest-rated shows on television.
It was also the first movie most people had ever seen that could rightfully be described as a zom-rom-com, that is, a zombie romantic comedy. And it was the first time they'd seen one of film's greatest bromance couples in Pegg and Frost.
In the time since its release, fans have paid tribute to Shaun of the Dead in many ways, and its creators have talked the movie to death in thousands of fawning interviews, convention appearances, and multiple DVD commentary tracks. It's become the kind of movie that turns acquaintances into friends. "Oh you're a Shaun of the Dead fan? Excellent! Let's hang out."
So what do those newfound friends talk about? Well, here are a few conversation starters — pieces of Shaun of the Dead trivia and ephemera every fan should know about.
1. The Spaced episode that was like a Shaun of the Dead test run.
Before they did SotD, Pegg, Frost, and Wright collaborated on the BBC sit-com Spaced, which in the States has turned into a cult hit on the level of The Young Ones. Spaced was in many ways a product of their shared influences, which included zombie movies, leading to the show's third episode, "Art." The episode's zombie homage only lasted about a minute, but producing it solidified their desire to do a zombie movie. The best part? It's all a hallucination in Pegg's mind brought on by staying up all night after taking too much speed.
2. The movie origin of the whole Cornetto thing.
Pegg, Frost and Wright have collaborated on three films: Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World's End. Together they're known as the Cornetto Trilogy, after a popular British ice cream brand. But that was all kind of an accident. It started with Shaun of the Dead's famous tracking shot, where Simon Pegg leaves his house, picks up a can of Diet Coke and a Cornetto ice cream cone from a ransacked corner store, and heads back home all in one long take — oblivious to the zombie apocalypse happening around him.
3. The zombie that made Simon Pegg love zombies.
Simon Pegg's favorite zombie is Bub, played by Howard Sherman, in Day of the Dead. He was a kind of humanized zombie who's become a sort of hero in his own right. "Bub was the victim. And he had died, and it was really sad," Pegg told The AV Club in 2011. "And Sherman played him like a child. He was just discovering how to use his hands, and heard music for the first time. Meanwhile, the human characters are a--holes."
4. The time Simon Pegg got to BE his favorite zombie.
Zombie film trailblazer George Romero was so taken with Shaun of the Dead he invited Pegg and Wright to appear as zombies in one of his movies, Land of the Dead. Pegg's zombie look was directly influenced by Bub, and some of the molds used to create his facial appliances were actually modeled from Bub's original molds. Here he is in his makeup.
5. The Shaun of the Dead tourist following.
Shaun of the Dead has some very dedicated fans. Some of them are so dedicated that they'll travel to London, birthplace of the Magna Carta, cultural hub of the western world, and the home of Westminster Abbey, to take pictures of themselves at Shaun of the Dead's shooting locations. They also like to take videos like this one that retread Shaun's path to the corner store.
6. The Cornetto Team's Extended Family
Pegg and co. made some good friends while working on Spaced, and they've continued to use many of the same actors through the years. These are a few of the usual suspects.
7. The Future
For the time being, Wright, Pegg, and Frost have no future plans to do another movie together. Nick Frost appears in Cuban Fury, which opens Friday, and sharp-eared fans will recognize his voice in the upcoming Boxtrolls movie along with Simon Pegg.
Pegg will soon be seen in the hitman comedy Kill Me Three Times, and of course he'll be along for the Star Trek ride as long as it lasts.
For his part, Edgar Wright is joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He's currently working on the first ever big screen adaptation of Marvel B-list superhero Ant-Man, which will star Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas. It'll be part of Marvel's Phase 3 strategy, and is currently slated to open sometime in 2015.
This doesn't mean the three will never reunite, but during the press tour for The World's End, all three agreed it was unlikely they would ever revisit their Cornetto universe.