ByMark Newton, writer at
Movie Pilot Associate Editor. Email: [email protected]
Mark Newton

Ahhh, 2004. That was a good year. Back then I was a plucky 15 year old, my future was still bright and optimistic, I had finally discovered good music and was slowly working my way round the baseball diamond of male-female interaction.

But 2004 was good for another reason. It was the year which gave us Shaun of the Dead - a pivotal movie in comedy, horror and the newly invented genre of comedy-horror.

OK, so maybe Shaun of the Dead wasn't the first movie ever to try and get laughs out of ghouls and their horrific brethren, but it was one of the first to be a wide mainstream success. Edgar Wright's big screen directorial debut launched its stars from cult comedy status in the UK to international recognition. Furthermore it also kick-started two more genre-movie-comedies, Hot Fuzz and The World's End - a set of movies now affectionately known as the Blood and Ice Cream or Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy.

To celebrate its 10 year anniversary, here are my Top 10 moments from Shaun of the Dead. How's that for a slice of fried gold?

10. The Vinyl Countdown

After the television has helpfully advised Shaun and Ed on how to dispatch the zombies infesting their garden, they head into battle armed with 12" records, assorted kitchen utensils and eventually sporting and digging implements.

9. The Cornetto Tracking Shot

In an attempt to stem developing hangovers, Shaun pops down the shops to pick up a classic cure: A can of Diet Coke and a Cornetto. As well as establishing the trilogy's famous Cornetto connection, it also shows off an impressive single tracking shot of Shaun nonchalantly navigating the zombie apocalypse.

8. The Zed Word

In this fun little nod to the zombie genre, Ed kind of breaks the fourth wall by referring to the living dead as 'zombies' - a big 'no-no' in any film actually featuring zombies. He is quickly chastised by Shaun for bringing up such a 'ridiculous' notion.

7. Shaun and Yvonne's Gangs Meet

The small scene below immediately doubles the amount of British comic talent that appeared in Shaun of the Dead. Furthermore, many of the actors and actresses in Yvonne's identical group had strong comedy connections with those in Shaun's - especially when it comes to 'will-they-won't-they' relationships. Simon Pegg (Shaun) and Jessica Hynes (Yvonne) shared a flat in Spaced, Lucy Davis (Diane) and Martin Freeman (Declan) were office lovers in The Office, while Dylan Moran (David) and Tamsin Greig (Maggie) were colleagues in Black Books.

6. The Plan

After dispatching the ghouls in the garden, Shaun and Ed attempt to devise a fool-proof zombie survival plan. It takes three attempts, but they eventually get there... sort of. I particularly like this scene's kinetic Wrightian-'whip pans' and Shaun's increasingly relaxed approach to braining this step-dad.

Fun Fact: In one of the few things which shows Shaun of the Dead's age, Ed would now be unable to smoke in The Winchester, or any other pub for that matter. New government legislation was introduced in 2007 - substantially reducing the number of places Ed would be able to hold-up in.

5. The Winchester Siege

Personally, many of my favorite scenes take place when the gang finally reach The Winchester, including David's rant at Shaun's choice of 'fortress' and Ed's continual insistence they refer to bullets as 'shells'. However, everything takes a horrific turn when the zombies start their assault. It's one of the many scenes in Shaun of the Dead which is actually genuinely quite scary.

4. The Foreboding

In a lovely piece of punning, Ed unwittingly spoils the rest of the movie when he lays out his and Shaun's post-break-up pub crawl. Check out the image below to see what I mean:

3. Ed's Introduction

Ed very quickly became one of Shaun of the Dead's best loved characters. And by 'very quickly' I mean in the first minute of the movie. Check out his first piece of introductory dialogue below. Beware: This clip contains the C-Word. Not 'crap', we're allowed to say that, the other C-word.

2. Fence Hopping

In a gag which would eventually infiltrate the entire Cornetto Trilogy, Shaun attempts a shortcut only to have his thunder immediately stolen by shoddy garden-boundary-craftsmanship. Check out that scene, plus similar scenes from Hot Fuzz and The World's End below:

1. 'Don't Stop Me Now'

Was there ever any doubt? This scene, again set in the Winchester, shows Shaun and the gang very slowly bludgeoning a zombie to death to the tune of Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now'. The sudden invasion of a cheery up-beat pop song into the proceedings was, at the same time, completely inappropriate and incredibly fitting. Furthermore, the film was single-handedly responsible for reminding everyone that Bohemian Rhapsody definitely isn't Queen's best song.

So, there you have it. Ten of the best moments from the incredibly timeless Shaun of the Dead.

What do you think? How many times have you seen Shaun of the Dead? What is your favorite scene? Drop your comments and memories of this milestone comedy in the box below.


What is your favorite movie from The Cornetto Trilogy?


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