Shaun of the Dead is an unapologetic homage to every zombie/horror movie and video game ever made. If you've seen it, you probably already know that there are hidden jokes throughout (for example, if you listen carefully to the news reports that play in the background, they mention things like the Rage virus from 28 Days Later and a crashed probe from Night of the Living Dead). But that's barely scratching the surface, so let's move past the obvious references and go straight for the "so impossibly obscure, they shouldn't have bothered" stuff.
There are 170 Easter eggs in this frame alone.
For instance, when Shaun walks into a local shop to buy an ice cream, you can faintly hear the DJ on an Indian music station announce that the dead are coming back to life ... in Hindi.
And hey, remember the restaurant Shaun tries to book a table at, the one that you can't read the name of unless you pause it like we did? It's called Fulci's, a reference to famed Italian horror director Lucio Fulci.
It's a little known fact that Fulci was a giant sentient fish.
And Mary, the zombie in the garden that gets impaled on a pipe? If you freeze-frame at exactly the right moment, you can see from her name tag that she works at a place called Landis, which is a reference to An American Werewolf in London director John Landis.
Don't feel bad, it took us like five or six times, and you can still barely read it.
Did you ever wonder why Shaun owned so many vinyl records and had such a predilection for techno music? Well wonder no more, because if you look over Shaun's shoulder during this scene, you'll see a poster that says "Shaun Smiley Riley" on it, alluding to the fact that Shaun used to be a DJ, as well as telling you his full name, something that is never mentioned in the film itself (although it is referenced in a deleted scene).
Never referenced was Nick Frost's character's former career as Nick Frost.
Throughout the scenes where the cast is holed up in the Winchester, you can hear zombies clawing steadily at the windows. Although this easily could have been done in the sound mix in postproduction, Edgar Wright had extras stand outside and actually paw at the windows for several days, because realism.
But the ultimate act of attention to detail comes in the very first scene: When Ed and Shaun are having a drunken conversation after Shaun gets dumped by his girlfriend, Ed actually reveals the entire plot of the film:
A bloody Mary [Mary the garden zombie] first thing, a bite at the King's Head [Shaun's stepfather is bitten], couple at the Little Princess [meeting David and Diana at Liz's flat], stagger back here [pretend to be zombies] and bang ... back to the bar for shots [the final scene at the Winchester, where they shoot their way out].
Ironically, Ed was unable to see this coming.
Besides being the quintessential study in rock-hard Baby Jesus abs ...
... Domenico Ghirlandaio's "Madonna With Saint Giovannino" also features an interesting little blob hovering in the sky over Mary's left shoulder. Especially when you notice the figure in the background, kind up gawking up at it.
Wait, What the Hell?
Some Renaissance paintings totally have UFOs in them.
Ghirlandaio's "Madonna" is just one of several medieval paintings with strange, kinda creepy-looking unidentified flying objects soaring around in them. And this particular one has had UFO enthusiasts salivating for years.
Never mind that experts naysay and poo-poo and claim the images are consistent with early Christian iconography intended to represent the so-called Holy Spirit. They weren't there. And anyway, since when would the Holy Spirit take the form of a squat little gold man space traveling in a flying arrow?
Unknown via examiner.com
Since never. That's when.
Or a flying bowler hat?
Unknown via thelivingmoon.com
Maybe when he's feeling dapper?
And then there are the cases of people actually illustrating stuff they claimed they saw. In one woodcut, Swiss citizens jauntily witness black spheres hovering in the sky. The dots were said to turn red before vanishing.
Or someone just attacked this woodcut with a medieval hole-punch.
Then you have the illustration below, a detail from a woodcut of a mass UFO sighting in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1561. The story was that on the morning of April 14, geometric shapes erupted from the sky to do battle with each other.
Although it's hard to take this illustration seriously when the sun has a face.
Science has been quick to dismiss these events as aurora borealis, but since the people witnessing them had no idea what the fuck NASA was, Hans Glaser's engraving of Nuremberg came to be known as a "star-battle" (which may explain why the lowest of the spaceships looks a lot like the Super Star Destroyer Executor).
The Rolling Stones Hide the Beatles on an Album
Quentin Tarantino's first film is about some professional crooks with color-based pseudonyms (Mr. White, Mr. Blue, Mr. Pink, etc.) who team up to pull off a diamond heist, only to discover that one of them is secretly an informant for the police. None of the crooks had ever met before, and no one can make assumptions based on anyone's reputation because of the pseudonyms. So a complex game of cat-and-mouse begins as the criminals try to discover the traitor in their midst, only to have the movie abruptly reveal that it's Mr. Orange about halfway through in a hail of Michael Madsen-slaying gunfire.
What kind of trustworthy person parts his hair down the middle anyway?
However, if you're paying really close attention, you can figure out Mr. Orange's duplicity way beforehand.
There are a few well-known visual hints that pop up before the big reveal that Mr. Orange is the rat, like when Nice Guy Eddie is talking on the phone about how the heist turned into a cop ambush and an orange balloon floats along behind his car:
Or when Mr. Pink and Mr. White are arguing about who the rat could be in a room full of orange, pink, and white bottles:
The pink bottles are all tip jars.
However, the single greatest (and most consistently overlooked) hint comes in the very first scene of the movie, during one of Tarantino's patented 10-minute conversations that sound cool but do not seem to advance the plot in any way. After breakfast, everyone throws in a dollar to tip the waitress except for Mr. Pink, who refuses because he thinks tipping is stupid. When the boss, Joe, comes back from the bathroom and demands to know who didn't throw in for the tip, Mr. Orange immediately tattles on Mr. Pink before anyone else even has a chance to speak:
Joe: Wait a minute ... who didn't throw in?
Orange: Mr. Pink
Joe: Mr. Pink? Why not?
Orange: He don't tip.
Joe: He don't tip? What do you mean you don't tip?
Orange: He don't believe in it.
Joe: Shut up.
Mr. Pink has no problem admitting it, and he goes on to defend his position to Joe, but the implication is clear -- Mr. Orange simply could not wait to drop the dime on his fellow teammate.
"I don't care about upholding the law, I just really like squealing."
In fact, that opening scene (including the subsequent debate about tipping) winds up defining everyone's personality (Mr. White is a soft-hearted pushover, Mr. Pink is a cold professional). Mr. Brown's tangential lecture about how "Like a Virgin" is about a guy with a huge dick, however, remains impossible to connect to the rest of the film in any meaningful way.
Everybody else left hours ago. He's still just sitting there, talking.
Crysis Warhead is a first-person shooter where you portray a battle-hardened soldier with a shitload of guns and armor fighting hostile alien forces. No game before or since has boasted such a unique plot. Or at least none that have also featured a gun that shoots a rapid-fire stream of flailing chickens, which is what you wind up with if your copy of Crysis Warhead is stolen.
The eager pirate boots up the game, grabs his dual-wielded machine pistols, pulls the trigger, and ... sprays a barrage of chickens through the air:
Something we've been begging the gaming industry for since day one.
Yep, Warhead's developers sat down and tried to think of ways to fuck up the game for anybody who illegally downloaded their copy and came up with "all guns become Chicken Gun." It doesn't matter which gun -- you're spraying chicken bullets like it's going out of style:
If only they'd included a physics engine that allowed the chickens to kill the enemy with their blunt force trauma.
No matter how many times you upgrade, the results are the same: Chicken Gun. You don't even get bigger chickens or anything like that. It is a thing of beauty:
In case you're wondering, chicken bullets do no damage whatsoever, meaning you can't kill anybody, and the game cannot be won. You can't die, either, because the bad guys use chickens, too. You could seriously "play" this game for all eternity and never get anywhere, you and your enemies endlessly bouncing streams of poultry off of one another in a sad metaphor for the futility of warfare.
However, shooting enough chickens at a building will actually demolish it (without harming the chickens), so if that's your idea of a good time, have at it.
OK, we actually do want to try that.
Sadly, the developers didn't include any clucking noises, which is a damn shame. Watching the most fruitless gunfight of all time while thousands of chickens tumble through the air squabbling their little heads off might have been a feature actually worth paying more for. Still, when it comes to sheer entertainment value, we guess the mindless complaining of hackers who don't understand that they're the reason chicken bullets exist will have to suffice:
"So ... is that a 'no' then?"