Friday, September 21, 2012

SHAUN OF THE DEAD: Zombie Movie References You May Have Missed

Notes from the zombie apocalypse by gotta/enk's own Bryan Enk. Share an inside laugh or two

I didn't know Shaun of the Dead from a hole in the wall until my pal Becky Comtois insisted I come over to her apartment and watch it on her giant television a couple of years ago. It ended up being a night of Becky and the other guests watching the movie and watching me watching the movie. I ended up loving Shaun almost as much as almost everyone else does ... which is quite a lot, either way.

Anyway, enjoy the following nods to the nods in Shaun of the Dead. I'm sure there are even more references that I (and the IMDB) have missed. Let me know!

Shaun of the Dead (2004) was a zombie movie lover's dream come true - a smart, funny and clever take on the genre that managed to be both a hilarious comedy and a rather harrowing horror film in and of itself. Fans loved the endless homages and references to some of the best zombie films of yesteryear, but there are a few such nods and winks that you may not have caught, some a little more subtle (and quicker) than others ... 

1) Shaun yells at Ed for calling the zombies "zombies" (the "Zeta-word," as it were). This is something of a double-joke, referring to the fact that the word "zombie" was never uttered in Night of the Living Dead (1968) and perhaps also to the fact that director Danny Boyle had to insist - over and over - that the "Infected" in 28 Days Later (2002) were most definitely not "zombies."

2) While going through the Yellow Pages, Shaun finds the number for the Italian restaurant known as Fulci's, a reference to Lucio Fulci, director of such tasty Italian treats as Zombie (1979) and The Beyond (1981). The latter contains a scene where someone is eaten by tarantulas. Truly.

3) Ed's line, "We're coming to get you, Barbara," is a reference to Night of the Living Dead (1968). George Romero himself didn't get this until director Edgar Wright told him. You probably did, though.

4) Shaun's place of work is "Foree Electric," a reference to the star of Dawn of the Dead (1978) (he also had a cameo in the 2004 remake). "Wake up, sucka!"

5) Speaking of Shaun's place of work, in the scene where he heads into "Foree Electric" for the first time, there's a worker on the street listening to a radio announcement that mentions a space probe that re-entered the Earth's atmosphere and broke up over England. If you remember in Night of the Living Dead (1968), someone mentions radiation from a satellite returning from Venus as a possible cause of the undead outbreak.

6) George Romero gave his zombie extras one dollar per day on his early Dead films. The zombie extras in Shaun of the Dead were given one pound per day.

7) Mary (the zombie in Shaun's backyard) works at Landis Supermarket, a nod to John Landis, director of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video.

8) The video game Ed is playing throughout the film is TimeSplitters 2. That's not a reference to anything zombie-ish; I just think it's a cool game and thought I'd mention it.

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