On This Day: ‘Shaun of the Dead’ Zombie Horror Movie Premieres in 2004

Shaun of the Dead, one of horror‘s most well-received zombie movies, premiered on Sept. 24, 2004, in the United States. Moviegoers in the U.K. were lucky—They saw the bloody hilarious flick in April.

Through the strength of Shaun of the Dead‘s cast and screenplay, the flick ridicules humanity—particularly, the monotonous daily routine. Audiences recognize the relatable backdrop, inviting new viewers to watch the timeless movie.

What is ‘Shaun of the Dead’ about?

Shaun lives in Crouch End, London, working as an electronics salesperson. He is down on his luck—colleagues disrespect him, he and his stepfather don’t see eye-to-eye, and his girlfriend Liz dumps him. To make matters worse, a zombie apocalypse consumes the world.

Shaun of the Dead doesn’t emulate other zombie movies. The comedy lies in Shaun’s mundane, unlucky lifestyle but also in his aloofness. Many fans relish in his nonchalant frolic through the zombie-ridden town after waking up with a hangover.

Ultimately, horror enthusiasts enjoy Shaun of the Dead‘s timely focus on modern society. It lightly mocks past zombie movies, but it also unearths a human concern: the stale daily grind. Additionally, Shaun of the Dead satirizes humanity in the end; Once civilization is under control, humans use the zombies for cheap labor.

The film stars Simon Pegg, known for his Mission Impossible role.

‘Shaun of the Dead’ resurrected zombie movies

The comical flick wasn’t the first of its kind. However, Shaun of the Dead created a renaissance for funny, gory horror movies.

Before Shaun of the Dead hit theaters, the Dawn of the Dead remake premiered in 2004. This film follows a group that takes refuge in a shopping mall during a zombie apocalypse. Although both films differ, Shaun of the Dead is a playful poke at the movie. Pegg was inspired by 1978’s original Dawn of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead.

Fido debuted in 2006, using a similar fate as Shaun of the Dead for zombies: humanity’s workforce. However, Fido uses a 1950s backdrop. In this society, zombies are beneath humans. Nevertheless, Timmy befriends his zombie companion. The movie emphasizes innocence blended with a horrific environment. But the horror doesn’t lie with the undead; It resides in the human and zombie societal classification.

And who could forget about 2009’s Zombieland? The comedy employs the familiar apocalyptic world with its all-star cast (Abigail Breslin, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Emma Stone). It’s famous for its age-diversified characters and their survival strategies.

Out of many other 2000s zombie movies, Shaun of the Dead received the highest ratings. According to Rotten Tomatoes, it holds a 92% critics’ score.

Where to watch ‘Shaun of the Dead’

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Pegg and director Edgar Wright emphasized Shaun of the Dead isn’t a zombie parody. Instead, it parodies the rom-com genre.

“[Zombie movies] kind of went quiet after Thriller. Everyone had seen zombies [dancing], and it took the wind out of their scary sails,” Pegg recalled. “We didn’t find out about 28 Days Later until we were way into the writing process.”

Shaun of the Dead outgrossed 28 Days Later, according to Wright.

The Shaun of the Dead cast and director also revealed they approached two high-profile actors: Helen Mirren and Kate Winslet. Wright offered Mirren the part of Barbara, and Winslet was offered Liz. They politely declined.

Streaming options differ between the U.K. and the U.S. Fans could watch Shaun of the Dead on HBO Max until May 2021. After that, there wasn’t a free streaming option in the U.S. However, there are plenty of rental and purchase options.

Horror fans can watch Shaun of the Dead on Google Play, Amazon Prime, Vudu, YouTube, and AppleTV.

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