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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Shaun of the Dead can be found here.
London electronics salesman Shaun (Simon Pegg) and his slacker roommate Edgar "Ed" (Nick Frost) are forced to battle zombies while attempting to rescue Shawn's mother Barbara (Penelope Wilton), Shawn's dad—oops, stepdad—Philip (Bill Nighy), Shaun's ex-girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield), and Liz's friends Dianne (Lucy Davis) and David "Davs" (Dylan Moran).
Shaun of the Dead is based on a script written by Simon Pegg and English director Edgar Wright. It was inspired by an episode of the British TV program, Spaced (1999) entitled "Art", that involves two hallucination sequences with zombies and which was also written by Pegg and his writing partner Jessica Stevenson.
No. This is a common mistake due to the film's name being a play on that of Dawn of the Dead (1978). However, Shaun of the Dead is a zombie movie in its own right, a mild parody of the zombie movies of the 1970s in general, and George A. Romero's Dead-trilogy in particular. Whilst it makes countless references to those films and others, they're all very subtle and never the focus of a scene in particular. Few references are made to Dawn of the Dead beyond the name. Due to the film being released very close to the Dawn of the Dead remake in 2004, people often presume it is a spoof of that film. Although both movies came out within weeks of each other in the UK (Shaun was actually forced to be held back to avoid confusion), there is no connection. Both films were in production before the people involved knew about the others and so the similar times is a pure coincidence. The only reference to the Dawn of the Dead remake is made on the bonus materials of the Shaun of the Dead DVD. In the "Plot holes" section, Simon Pegg explains how his character managed to stay out of the hands of the undead, "because, contrary to modern theories, the undead are very slow" (the zombies in the Dawn of the Dead remake and in another zombie film of the time, 28 Days Later... (2002), can run like crazy).
The movie purposely never reveals the reason for this, just as the reason is never revealed in Romero's "Dead" series. Countless theories are dropped throughout the film, however: (1) A news report can be heard talking about radiation from a downed satellite. This is a reference to Night of the Living Dead (1968) in which it is heavily implied that the dead have risen due to radiation from a satellite re-activating the brain. (2) A newspaper article seen briefly blames the problem on genetically-modified crops. This is a reference to Non si deve profanare il sonno dei morti (Do Not Speak Ill of the Dead aka Breakfast at the Manchester Morgue) (1974) which uses the same food-borne-related reason. (3) A radio news reader says, "Claims that the virus was spread by rage-infested monkeys has now been dismissed as bull. . . ." This is a reference to 28 Days Later... in which a rage-inducing infection is derived from freed lab monkeys. In addition, many newspaper articles and news reports suggest it's a virus. The fact that the transformation is spread through bite wounds (which happens to Pete, Philip, and Ed) also strongly suggest a infective agent. It is most likely that whatever caused the dead to rise in the Romero world is the reason in this film too, as the zombies follow Romero's rules. However, even he doesn't actually know why the dead have risen in his films, so it's safe to say the makers of Shaun of the Dead don't either.
Yes, dogs can technically look up, but only so far. Because of the way their spine and neck are built, they are physically limited in how high they can look. After a certain point/angle, it's just not possible. This angle is higher when the dog is sitting than when it is standing. A dog cannot look directly upwards (without, say, lying on its back). Dogs also have more limited motion in their eyeballs than human beings do. Most people answering this question simply think of the fact that dogs can turn their heads up to look at people and don't consider whether or not their actual eye is moving up.
The zombies succeed in breaking into the Winchester, so Shaun, Liz, and Ed hide behind the bar. Shawn sprinkles booze all over the bar and sets it on fire to hold back the zombies. They then escape into the cellar through a trap door. Realizing they are trapped in the cellar with zombies and a raging fire on top of them, they discuss the best way to use the last two bullets in the rifle. While lighting a last cigarette, they notice a barrel door with a lift that takes them outside. As zombies begin breaking down the trap door, Shaun and Liz take the lift to the street but it's crawling with zombies. As the zombies close in on them, a bright light suddenly shines on them, and the street swarms with military vehicles. Soldiers disembark and start shooting at zombies. Yvonne (Jessica Hynes) appears, hugs Shawn for surviving, says that they're evacuating survivors, and leads Shaun and Liz (hand-in-hand) into a truck. News reports six months later detail how the zombies are now being used in everyday life for menial jobs. Shaun wakes up in his usual zombie-like fashion and plops down on the couch next to Liz. They plan out their day together, then Shaun says that he's going to pop out to the garden for a bit. In the final scene, Shawn and zombie Ed, handcuffed and shackled to the wall of the shed, play videogames together.
Besides being made by the same people (director Edgar Wright and writer/principal actor Simon Pegg), almost every cast member from Spaced has a role in Shaun of the Dead. Pegg played Tim in Spaced and plays Shaun in Shaun of the Dead. Nick Frost played Mike in Spaced and Ed in Shaun of the Dead. Jessica Hynes played Daisy in Spaced as well as co-writing it and she plays Yvonne. Julia Deakin played Marsha in Spaced and makes a cameo as Yvonne's mother. Peter Serafinowicz was a regular guest in Spaced as Duane Benzy; he stars as Pete. Bill Bailey, another regular guest on Spaced as Bilbo, has a blink-and-miss-it cameo as a zombie. Michael Smiley appeared as Tyres in two episodes of the show and makes a cameo as a zombie also named Tyres in the film. Mark Gatiss, Edgar Wright, Robert Popper, Lucy Akhurst, David Walliams, Paul Kaye, and Paul Putner all made guest appearances on Spaced, sometimes several, and have cameos in the film, too. A scene was written to star Aida, who played Colin the dog in Spaced. The scene was to involve the dog eating a corpse lying in a garden but wasn't filmed due to bad weather. Some music from episodes of Spaced are even used, and there are countless references to Spaced throughout the film: (1) A zombie of the character Tyres appears. (2) A shopping trolley is randomly abandoned in the street, a reference to the shopping trolley often seen in Spaced. (3) Pete answers the phone with "Dom, hi." His character in Spaced did this repeatedly. (4) The "He's not my boyfriend... thanks babe" joke is recycled (albeit apparently unwittingly, according to the commentary). (5) "What you doing?!" (with body expression) seen in Spaced many times and featured in the scene with Ed on the fruit machine.
All of the original score for this film (as opposed to songs on radios, etc.) was produced specifically for the film by Daniel Mudford and Pete Woodhead; however, it is heavily inspired by the music in John Carpenter's films, most noticeably The Thing (1982). The instrumental music over the Universal and Studio Canal logos is, however, a track called "Figment" by S Park which was used in the original Dawn of the Dead.
No. The zombie in the dressing gown and pajamas, looking virtually identical to Colin Mochrie, is comic actor Nick Ewans.
The "Plot Holes" Feature on the DVDs are basically comic book sequences which show three scenes: (1) Where Shaun went after he lured all the zombies away from the pub door (they actually poke fun here at the fact that the zombies are so slow, they can be outrun on any open terrain, which is the reason why the characters spend so much time indoors), (2) What Dianne did when she ran out the pub door, and (3) How Shaun got Ed from the pub cellar into his shed.
This is explained in the Plot Holes section on the DVD. After she ran out of the Winchester to avenge the death of David, she climbed up a tree where she passed out. She woke up days later to find no one. She stayed in the tree, eating David's leg to survive. She eventually got out after learning that the crisis had passed. She now lives with her aunt, but remains in Christmas card contact with Shaun and Liz.
After Shaun and Liz left the Winchester, Ed used the last two bullets to shoot two zombies. Fortunately, one of them was a fat man, so Ed used his body as a cover to crawl under the stairs. When the army came to the basement, Ed had lost too much blood to call for help and died. Days later, Shaun came to the Winchester and found Ed, who had turned into a zombie. He eventually lured Ed to the garden shed, using himself as bait, where he trained the zombie. Ed no longer has the urge to eat his friend by the end of the film, but "wouldn't mind giving Liz a nibble".
Yes and no. Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and The World's End are all parts of Edgar Wright's "Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy" (also referred to as the "Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy"). Essentially, this trilogy features three movies that involve blood and ice cream. However, in terms of plot and characters, the three films are completely unrelated.
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