George A. Romero was so impressed with Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's Shaun of the Dead (2004) that he asked them to appear in this, the fourth part of his "Dead" series, and they appear as the photo-booth zombies in the carnival/bar-room sequence. They also feature prominently in the artwork for the unrated directors' cut.
At the beginning of the movie, if you listen carefully to the tuba and tambourine zombies in the town bandstand they are playing notes from 'The Gonk', the mall music from Romero's Dawn of the Dead (1978).
The view of the zombies rising from out of the river is an homage to the classic scene from Herk Harvey's Carnival of Souls (1962) where the dead rise out of the Great Salt Lake before the dance sequence.
"Land of the Dead"'s Pittsburgh premiere was at the Byham Theatre, which used to be called the Fulton Theatre. This theatre, when it was still the Fulton, was the same theatre where Night of the Living Dead (1968) premiered in 1968.
This is the fourth film in George Romero's zombie series, which Romero says takes place after Night of the Living Dead (1968) with no specific time frame. The last zombie film he wrote and directed was Day of the Dead (1985), which was released nineteen years before "Land."
"Fiddler's Green" is a song about the place where cavalrymen go when they die located "Halfway down the trail to hell" and, in the end, advocates suicide by pistol when death is certain and the hostiles are closing in. "Fiddler's Green" possibly originated in England at least to the 19th century and is still sung today. The song speaks of a place where fisherman go if they don't go to hell. It found its way to the U.S.A with the help of Cornish settlers. The fictional place of Fiddler's Green is also the final resting place for pirates.
In the scene where the zombies get into the city, the soldier playing cards who has his head pulled off, his camouflage uniform says "Rickles" in the name area. Rickles was the name of one of the soldiers from "Day of the Dead", one of George A. Romero's earlier zombie films.
George A. Romero intended to make this film in his home town Pittsburgh - the story is set there and it's where he made his other zombie films; however, the producers insisted on filming Toronto in order to take advantage of Canadian tax incentives, creating a setting that retains Pittsburgh's geography with physical locations of Toronto that have been altered.
The opening credits includes a montage detailing the zombie outbreak leading up to the events of the film with black and white footage and radio broadcasts depicting the infection's spread over the Earth. Some of the images come from Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968) portraying the beginning of the outbreak. Romero wanted to use more footage from the other two films of the series up to that point, Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985) but was unable to due to complications with the rights of those films. This is because each of his zombie films have been produced by different studios. This can also be seen in the credits for Tom Savini's cameo in the film. He is the undead version of the character he portrayed in Dawn of the Dead, named "Blades", but he could only be credited in this film as "Machete Zombie".
Susan Wloszczyna, a reporter for USA Today, appeared as one of the zombies. She was there interviewing her fellow zombies as well as the director. She spent nearly an hour and 45 minutes in the make-up chair.
Asia Argento (Slack) is the daughter of noted Italian horror filmmaker Dario Argento, who was the co-producer and co-composer of one of the previous entries in George Romero's zombie series, Dawn of the Dead (1978).
Alan Van Sprang and Shawn Roberts are the only two actors to carry over to another 'of the Dead' movie by playing different characters. Alan Van Sprang was in Land of the Dead (2005) as a soldier named Brubaker who died and became a zombie and he was Sarge in Diary of the Dead (2007) and Survival of the Dead (2009). Whereas Shawn Roberts played a rookie called Mike in Land of the Dead (2005) and one of the students called Tony Ravello in Diary of the Dead (2007)
Dennis Hopper and Robert Joy previously co-starred together in Waterworld (1995). At one point in that movie, Hopper's character licks his thumb and then touches his rifle's sight before taking a shot. This is the signature quirk of Joy's character in 'Land of the Dead'.
The first trailer for this film used clips not just from Night of the Living Dead (1968), but also from Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985), Although Night is in the public domain, both Dawn and Day are owned by separate companies, neither of which had given permission for the use of footage in the trailer. To avoid legal troubles, this trailer was quickly pulled from distribution and hasn't been officially shown since.
Movie theaters showing this film in the USA were given a replacement track for the typical music and commercials usually heard playing over still images of advertisements before a movie starts. This track consisted of sound bites of music and lines from Night of the Living Dead, the original version, and Day of the Dead. Along with an advert for then upcoming airings of Day of the Dead on a pay per view network.