SHAUN OF THE DEAD is one of those movies that hard not to talk about. Despite having been part of the collective horror consciousness for over a decade now (if that doesn’t make me feel old, I don’t know what will) it tends to remain a constant. Few people that have been privy to the wonderful world that is Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright’s zombie infested London are able to get it out of their head. It remains a highly quotable, beloved film (alongside the sister films within The Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy) regardless of how much time passes.
I first saw SHAUN OF THE DEAD in 8th grade. I was 13 and begged my mother for weeks to pretty please put her concerns aside and allow her thirteen-year-old son to see an R rated film not yet approved by her. My parents were far from sheltering; horror films had been a part of my life since the ripe old age of 5 but the films I was watching were classic favorites of my folks. This was uncharted territory. And my mother was terrified at what possibly lay within the recently released “Zom-Com.” Within 45 minutes of SHAUN OF THE DEAD, all worry was gone and replaced with sheer delight. The frenetic pacing and genuine wit behind nearly every gag, joke, and kill proved infectious. To date, SHAUN… remains one of my 60-year-old mother’s favorite films.
What I’m trying to say is that SHAUN OF THE DEAD is one of those special films that appeals to young and old alike. It bridges the gap for horror nerds and comedy nerds and is just self and cross referential enough to satisfy pop culture fanatics of all loyalties; one could say that it’s downright unifying.
SHAUN OF THE DEAD might just be what we need to finally achieve world peace. Congratulations Edgar Wright and Co.
Made on a (comparatively) meager budget of 6 million dollars, SHAUN OF THE DEAD became an indie darling right out of the gate. Adored by critics and fans alike, it managed to make back its budget within the first three weeks after its London premiere and quickly turned a profit. By the time it opened in the United States, it was a powerhouse – turning a profit of 3.3 million dollars in its opening weekend, despite its extremely limited release. By the time SHAUN OF THE DEAD closed its theatrical run, it had grossed approximately 30 million dollars, making it a bona fide smash.
SHAUN OF THE DEAD was also, as mentioned above, a critical success. Currently, review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes rates SHAUN OF THE DEAD at 92% fresh based on 201 reviews, and carries an average rating of 7.1 out of 10; not bad for an indie zombie-fueled romantic horror comedy.
Horror legend Stephen King ranked the film a “10 on the fun meter” and said SHAUN OF THE DEAD was “destined to become a cult classic.”
And boy has it.
SHAUN OF THE DEAD was ranked the 49th best British Film Ever Made in 2004 by “Total Film” magazine and one of the 25 best horror films ever made by “Time.”
I did myself a favor and tossed in my copy of SHAUN OF THE DEAD as I sat down to write this very article. More often than not, I found myself not writing but fully immersing myself in Shaun’s world. There is something special about this film and it never ceases to entertain.
So today, on SHAUN OF THE DEAD’s 12th anniversary, we raise our pints, our peanuts, our hog lumps, and our pig snacks and salute one of the finest horror comedies every made.
Without a doubt SHAUN OF THE DEAD will only continue to impress and charm as the years go by. The humor will continue to age like a fine wine and one can only hope we see Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright dive back into the horror universe in the years to come.
Until then, we have plenty of memories to fondly look back on.
With that, it appears there’s only one thing left to do: “Go ‘round Mums, kill Phillip, grab Liz, go to The Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for all this to blow over.”
How’s that for a slice of fried gold?
You can follow and insult Ian Donegan on Twitter @ianjdonegan and listen to him ramble via The Horrorfied Podcast every Thursday for more horror-themed ridiculousness and off color humor.