#3 – Shaun of the Dead 2004
Big Al says ‘Dogs can’t look up.’ “
I have seen Shaun of the Dead referred to as the world’s first RomComZom (Romantic Comedy w/ Zombies). The movie follows the unambitious and directionless life of Shaun (Simon Pegg) as he tries to sort out his love-life problems and mother/stepfather issues during the outbreak of a zombie apocalypse. The movie begins with Shaun’s girlfriend, Liz, expressing her dissatisfaction at their lack of a social life. All they ever seem to do is hang out at Shaun’s favorite pub, The Winchester, with Shaun’s loser best friend, Ed (Nick Frost). The next day, Shaun forgets to make reservations at a nice restaurant for their anniversary, causing Liz to dump him. Shaun goes to the Winchester to drown his sorrows with Ed. The next day, they are too hung over to realize that the town has become overrun with zombies until one attacks them in their backyard. Shaun tells Ed they need to go get Liz and his mom then find somewhere safe to hole up until the whole thing blows over.
Shaun of the Dead is my favorite zombie movie, probably because I have a hard time taking “serious” zombie movies seriously. While it technically not a movie, The Walking Dead would be the one exception to that. Shaun of the Dead was my introduction to Simon Pegg and director Edgar Wright. While working together on the British television show Spaced (along with Nick Frost), Pegg and Wright discovered they shared a mutual appreciation of George Romero zombie movies. They decided to try their hand at making of zombie movie of their own. They used many of the cast and crew that worked on Spaced as well as many other well known British comedians and comic actors. Even many of the zombie extras were fans of Spaced that responded to a casting call posted on a fan website.
Shaun of the Dead was released to nearly unanimous positive reviews, many of which stated in one way or another that the movie would be appreciated by both casual viewers and zombie genre fans alike. The horror movie review website, Bloody Disgusting, listed Shaun of the Dead #2 on their list of best horror movies of the decade, saying “it isn’t just the best horror-comedy of the decade – it’s quite possibly the best horror-comedy ever made.” George Romero was so impressed with the movie that he offered Pegg and Wright cameo roles in his next movie, Land of the Dead. They turned down the more noticeable roles they were originally offered because they insisted on being zombies.