Review – You’ve Got Red On You: How Shaun Of Dead Was Brought To Life

Published by: 1984 Publishing
Author: Clark Collis
Release Date: 19th October 2021 (PRE-ORDER)

Set for release later this month by 1984 Publishing and author Clark Collis, You’ve Got Red On You delivers some previously untapped insight into the creation and global success of 2004’s pop culture fan favourite horror-comedy Shaun of the Dead.

The 400-page hardback tome features in-depth interviews with the likes of director Edgar Wright, producer Nira Park, and cast members Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield, Bill Nighy and Lucy Davis, along with behind-the-scenes insights, anecdotes and rare set photos.

It’s an extensive, deeply satisfying read for fans of the film, not to mention those with an active interest in the trials and tribulations of funding, creating and marketing a low-budget movie (the film itself cost a little over $6 million to make) and turning it into a global cult favourite.

Collis’ clear affection for the subject matter shines though in the execution and the level of detail provided throughout, and while he never really injects himself into the narrative, his love for the movie is clearly a driving force behind just how deep he goes in finding out all the never-before-heard details of its creation.

The book itself is broken down into eleven chapters, each focusing on a different facet of the film’s creation, from “Origins of the Dead” to “Deal of the Dead” to “Shoot of the Dead” (and its follow-up, “Return of the Shoot of the Dead”), each featuring interviews, trivia, insights and behind-the-scenes photographs for context. In addition to the cast and crew, the book also also features interviews and commentary from some of the film’s more famous fans, including the likes of Eli Roth, World War Z author Max Brooks, Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Quentin Tarantino, which is a nice touch and goes a long way to reinforcing its wide-reaching appeal.

The final chapters chronicle the impressive critical acclaim the film received on its release, and provide some brief insight into the creation of the second two chapters in the “Cornetto Trilogy”, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End.  We also get a breakdown of just how the trajectory of Pegg, Frost and Wright’s careers were changed by the movie, and some of their subsequent non-Cornetto projects.

While it’s an undeniably hefty tome, the cover price is impressively affordable, and the presentation is tight and efficient throughout.  Honestly, if you’re a fan of the movie and have exhausted the DVD/Blu-Ray extras and director’s commentary tracks as often as I have, this should be considered a pretty much essential purchase.

Insightful, entertaining and informative, You’ve Got Red On You serves as not only an extensive journal of its creation, but also a fond love letter to the pop culture phenomenon that is Shaun of the Dead. A slice of fried gold indeed.

The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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