Shaun of the Dead Pop Culture References
Shaun of the Dead is jam-packed with tributes, nods, and references to various films, television shows, and pop culture icons. While something might have slipped through the cracks, I have tried to make this list of references as complete as possible.
During the company logos in the opening credits, "Figment" by S. Park is playing. This music was used during the airport scene in Dawn of the Dead.
Shaun staggering across the floor after waking up is a nod to the opening scene in Day of the Dead, when a zombie staggers into the frame.
Shaun’s flatmate, Pete, answers his cellphone with the line, "Hi, Dom." The actor who portrayed Pete used this same line frequently in the BBC series Spaced (which starred Simon Pegg).
As Shaun walks to the corner store, he passes a road sweeper. On the operator’s radio, you can hear a report of how a space probe named Omega 6 entered the atmosphere several days early over the southwest of England and broke apart over a heavily populated area. This ties in with Night of the Living Dead, in which a space probe breaks up in the atmosphere and causes the dead to return to life.
Throughout the film, we see references to a fictitious pizza chain called Bub’s Pizza. This is a reference to Bub, the smarter-than-average zombie from Day of the Dead.
Shaun works at Foree Electric. This is a reference to Ken Foree, one of the stars of Dawn of the Dead.
Shaun walks past a sign for Weston Park, which is a sign in Crouch End, London. This is the same locale as the BBC series Spaced, and also the current residence of Simon Pegg.
When Shaun holds an employee meeting, he mentions that the manager and Ash have both called in sick. Ash is a reference to Ashley J. Williams, the hero of the Evil Dead trilogy.
Shaun tries to make reservations at an exclusive seafood restaurant called Fulci’s. This is a nod to Lucio Fulci, famed Italian horror director.
Ed is known for his hilarious impression of Clyde, the orangutan from Clint Eastwood’s Every Which Way But Loose.
Mary, the zombie in Shaun’s backyard, worked at Landis Supermarket. This is a reference to John Landis, director of the horror film An American Werewolf in London.
As Ed and Shaun watch reports on television, they come across a reporter who speaks the same lines as the reporter in Night of the Living Dead.
When the one-armed zombie attacks Shaun and Ed, there is a moment when a poster of a bleeding cartoon schoolgirl can be seen in the background. This is a stylized recreation of a scene from the Japanese film Battle Royale.
Ed yells over the phone to Shaun’s mom, "We’re coming to get you, Barbara." This is a take on the line, "They’re coming to get you, Barbara," from Night of the Living Dead.
In the scene where Shaun and Ed work out how to rescue Liz and Barbara, we hear "Zombi" by Goblin. This music was featured in Dawn of the Dead.
When Shaun and Ed arrive at the idea to seek refuge in the Winchester, a happy Ed exclaims, "Yeah, boy." This is in reference to Public Enemy rapper Flavor Flav.
On the way to the Winchester, Shaun’s mother falls behind and gets attacked by a zombie. When she screams for help, Shaun rushes to her aid, jumping on a small trampoline and using it to propel him through the air. This same shot was used towards the end of Sam Raimi’s Army of Darkness. It was also a popular mode of transport in the video game Zombies Ate My Neighbors, in which you must bounce from backyard to backyard in order to slay suburban zombies.
On the way to the Winchester, there is a brief reunion of characters from the television series The Office, when Shaun’s group encounters Yvonne’s group. Lucy Davis (Dianne) and Martin Freeman (Declan) played Dawn and Tim on the popular BBC series, and their relationship was a central plot of the show.
When Noel calls Ed on the phone, Ed refers to him as Noodle. This was the name of one of the teenagers on Spaced.
The Mexican stand-off in the Winchester is taken straight from Reservoir Dogs, with the characters holding corkscrews and broken bottles instead of guns (except for David, who holds a rifle). Shaun exclaims, "Stop pointing that gun at my mum!" In Reservoir Dogs, Chris Penn yells, "Stop pointing that gun at my dad!"
David’s death scene is almost identical to that of Captain Rhodes in Day of the Dead.
The scene where Shaun and Liz escape from the Winchester’s cellar via an elevator platform is a direct tribute to Day of the Dead, which also prominently features an elevator platform. The manner in which Shaun drops the handbox after activating the elevator is exactly the same movement used by Bill McDermott (played by Jarlath Conroy) in Day of the Dead.
When the soldiers arrive to save Shaun and Liz, the logo on their trucks reads "Biohazard." This is the Japanese name for the popular zombie video game Resident Evil, which also happened to be prominently featured in the Simon Pegg series, Spaced.
As Liz flips through the channels, we hear a report refuting the news that the zombie attacks may have been caused by rage-infected monkeys. This is a reference to Danny Boyle’s film 28 Days Later.
After the zombie attack, when Shaun and Liz are watching television, they come across a zombie game show called Fun Dead. In the background, the shopping mall music from Dawn of the Dead can be heard.
The end credits of the film feature the song "The Gonk" by H. Chappell. This is the shopping mall music from Dawn of the Dead, remixed by Kid Koala.