John and Bernie run the Winchester. These are the real names of the landlord and landlady who used to run Simon Pegg's local pub, the Shepherds in Highgate. John used to make toasted sandwiches for regulars, hence the reference to "the Breville out back." Pegg and Nick Frost were regular attendees of the Shepherd's Thursday night quiz, hence the line "we do the quiz" when Shaun is knocking on the Winchester's door. Chris Martin of Coldplay, who plays a zombie in the film, also used to attend quiz night.
When Shaun is heading to the shop for the first time, a worker on the street is listening to the radio. The newscast mentions a space probe that unexpectedly re-entered the Earth's atmosphere and broke up over England. This is likely a reference to Night of the Living Dead (1968) in which radiation from a satellite returning from Venus was given a possible cause for the dead returning to life.
Many of the Zombie extras are fans of the TV series Spaced (1999), which also starred Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and was also directed by Edgar Wright. They were recruited through the Spaced Out fan web site to be in the film.
Just when Shaun is exiting the Indian-run deli, which is tuned to a radio station playing songs from Indian movies, the song stops and a newscaster begins speaking in Hindi. The content of the news, when translated in English, is, "People are waking up from their graves."
The zombie that Shaun (Simon Pegg) and Ed (Nick Frost) find in their garden is Mary, the checkout girl from the film's credit montage. A short story detailing her transformation into one of the undead was featured in issue 1384 of the classic British sci-fi comic 2000AD. The issue went on sale 7 April 2004. The strip was called "There's Something About Mary" and was written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright (the film's co-writers) with art by Frazer Irving.
Near the beginning of the film, when Ed is playing on the Playstation 2, Shaun directs him ('top left, reload, good shot etc.). When the gang are in the Winchester pub and Shaun is firing at the zombies, Ed repeats exactly what Shaun instructed him to do during Time Splitters 2.
When Shaun and the group are running out of Liz's flat they are all carrying weapons of some kind, but only Shaun actually hits any zombies. This was because only the cricket bat that Shaun was carrying was a padded fake, all the other items were real and would have hurt the extras playing zombies if they had been hit with them.
Shaun berates Ed for calling the creatures zombies ("the zed word," which they are, of course). This alludes to the curious fact that many of the most iconic zombie movies (including Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Resident Evil (2002)) never feature the word "zombie" at all. It can also be a reference to Danny Boyle, director of 28 Days Later... (2002), and his insistence that it isn't a zombie movie.
When Shaun's girlfriend objects to going out to the Winchester he suggest a few other pubs, one of which is the Shepherds, which actually used to be Simon Pegg's local pub in Highgate until it was closed and reopened as a themed bar.
Among the voices in the news reports you hear on television and radio you hear David Walliams on a TV news broadcast, Mark Gatiss on the radio, Keith Chegwin hosting the "Fun Dead" programme, and Rob Brydon voicing the "Zombies From Hell" show at the end. Also, the voice heard at the end dismissing the infected monkeys being the cause is Edgar Wright.
Mary, the zombie in Shaun's backyard, works at Landis Supermarket. This is a nod to John Landis, who directed An American Werewolf in London (1981), and to the British chain of convenience stores named Londis.
The phrase "fried gold" originated behind the scenes of Simon Pegg, Jessica Hynes and Edgar Wright's sitcom Spaced (1999) and was mentioned several times on the DVD commentaries for that series. It makes several fan-pleasing appearances in the film.
Northern Irish rock band Ash donated 3 songs used in the film: "Meltdown", "Orpheus" and "Everybody's Happy Nowadays" featuring Chris Martin. These songs were donated for free as Edgar Wright's girlfriend, Charlotte Hatherley, played guitar and sang backing vocals for Ash at the time.
When Shaun is at work, he is showing a couple the TVs. As he is flipping through channels, the program Tricia with a woman guest, and a game show. At the end of the movie, these same woman and game show will be seen on TV. The woman who is dating a zombie, and zombies attached to bungee cords.
At the end of the movie there is fake movie trailer about a boy named Ramirez who, using a shotgun, fought off his entire zombie family. This is a spoof of the Menendez brothers who murdered their parents with a shotgun in August 1989.
When Noel (Rafe Spall) rings Ed (Nick Frost), Ed calls him Noodle, which is the name of one of the teenagers in an episode of Spaced (1999). Noel also says, "E-Ball says you're holding," which is a reference to director Edgar Wright, whose nickname is E-Ball.
When Shaun and his friends are trying to get inside the pub, horror writer and Frightfest organizer Alan Jones can be seen as a zombie walking past the phone box. He's the bald one in a checkered shirt.
On the DVD (at least the region-two and region-one versions), there is a feature that plays an edited version of the scene where Pete yells at Shaun and Ed for playing the music too loud ("I've got to go to fucking work in four fucking hours!") that has been dubbed over for television airings, thus replacing all obscenities. "Fuck" is replaced with "funk," "prick" becomes "prink." The feature has the fitting title "Funky Pete" and is found in the alternate bits section.
A poster in Shaun's flat is an image from the Edgar Wright-directed video for Psychosis Safari by 'The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster'. Members of the band feature as zombie extras and a song of theirs, "Mr. Mental", is featured on the soundtrack album.
In the beginning of the film, when Shaun is riding the bus, the young man in front of him is listening to music. The song that can be heard is the dance club classic "Kernkraft 400" by Zombie Nation, whose melody is borrowed from the song "It Happened Then/Babylon Run" (by Dave Eager and Pete Baker), which is the theme for the "Star Dust" sub-game of the C64 game, Lazy Jones.
When Joe Cornish is on screen, we see Lucy Akhurst (Sophie in season two of (Spaced (1999)) as a zombie getting shot in the back. She's the blond girl in the center of the screen, with Cornish to her right.
The Battle Royale (2000) poster in Shaun's living room is designed by Fred Deakin of Airside, as is the green poster with the flowers and girl in Liz's flat. Deakin is also a member of the band 'Lemon Jellÿ', which provides music for the soundtrack.
during the Remembering Z-Day montage, there is a long shot of the zombies walking through a park; Edgar is the one in black who falls over himself. He also makes a voice cameo as the host of Fulci's Italian restaurant.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
According to writer-director Edgar Wright in the DVD commentary, when Ed attempts to cheer Shaun up at the Winchester with plans of binge drinking, he is actually summarizing the events of the next day (Z-day) entirely in drinking references. "Bloody Mary" - Checkout Girl, "Bite at the king's head" - Phillip, "Couple" - David and Di, "Little Princess" - Liz, "Stagger back" - impersonate zombies, "Bar For Shots" - firing rifle.
Even though according to the zomb-o-meter feature stating that Di dies, the DVD's animated special feature Plot Holes: What Happened to Dianne When She Left the Winchester? (2004) explains that Di makes it through the crowd of zombies, climbs a tree, passes out, awakens to utter silence and out of fear stays in the tree surviving on Dave's severed leg, and eventually going to live with an aunt.
When Shaun and Ed are listening to Electro, Pete tells Ed if he "wants to live like an animal, he can live in a shed". Later, Shaun keeps Ed in the shed at the end of the film after he becomes a zombie.
Chris Martin of Coldplay, who appears as himself on a news report near the end of the film promoting ZombAid, also plays a zombie. After Shaun and Liz escape from the basement of the Winchester, he can be seen playing the zombie walking past the phone booth from right to left.
When the group are in the Winchester and Shaun has returned from distracting the zombies, David questions his motives as to why they are in a pub, he refers to Ed as Shaun's "boyfriend". Ed hands Shaun a beer who replies with "Thanks Babe". This is a common conversation between the two actors in "Spaced" (1999) which is also directed by Edgar Wright.
When the zombies are making their way into the Winchester, Shaun shouts to Ed "Get behind me, get behind me" the same way as Han Solo shouts to Chewbacca as Stormtroooers are entering on the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope - One of Simon Peggs favourite films.
During cast commentary at the end of the movie just before the credits, Simon Pegg makes a possibly joke reference to a sequal that is coming soon entitled Shaun of the Dead 2: From Dusk Till Shaun. This of course never happened but it may have been the plan before the "Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy" ideas were founded.
After Shaun (Simon Pegg) joins Ed (Nick Frost) at the Winchester after breaking up with his girlfriend, Ed uses his "Clyde impression" (Clyde, the orangutan from Every Which Way But Loose (1978)) in an attempt to make Shaun feel better. Later in the movie, when Ed is being bitten by two zombies, his cries of pain ring similar to orangutan sounds.
Chris Martin', the lead singer of Brit Pop group 'Coldplay'is featured in the movie as a zombie in the ending scene just before the soldiers arrive (on right hand side) and as one of the 'Zombaid' workers featured on one of the tv shows (right hand side also).
The conjoined photo frames shown behind Shaun (Simon Pegg) and Liz (Kate Ashfield) sitting on the sofa at the end of the film are that of the deceased Barbara (Penelope Wilton) Philip (Bill Nighy) and Dianne (Lucy Davis) however David's (Dylan Moran) photo is not shown on screen.