The Iconic Horror Movie Music That Helped Inspire Shaun Of The Dead

the iconic horror movie music that helped inspire shaun of the dead
Jamie Mccarthy/Getty Images

Following up his big screen directorial debut via “A Fistful of Fingers,” Edgar Wright launched his now-beloved Three Flavors Cornetto trilogy in 2004. “Shaun of the Dead” kicked the string of films off, featuring Simon Pegg as the title slacker character who finds himself in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. Instead of trying to secure food, water, supplies, and shelter, though, he and a group of his friends, family, and colleagues make their way to the Winchester: the local pub where Shaun believes they’ll be safe until the outbreak subsides.

In no time at all, “Shaun of the Dead” became a favorite among critics and moviegoers for its well-timed humor, goofy story, and strong social commentary. Not to mention, it made a whopping $30 million at the box office — more than making back its $6.1 million budget with plenty of cash left over as profit. Its success allowed the next two films in the trilogy, 2007’s “Hot Fuzz” and 2013’s “The World’s End,” to thrive as well. Of course, none of this would’ve been possible without a strong behind-the-scenes crew, talented cast, and iconic horror music.

As it turns out, some famous horror movie tracks went a long way in making “Shaun of the Dead” a reality.

John Carpenter movie scores and Goblin influenced Shaun of the Dead

the iconic horror movie music that helped inspire shaun of the dead
Rogue Pictures

In October of 2022, Edgar Wright spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about a variety of topics, including music. He’s proven quite capable at blending songs with visuals, as evidenced by his 2017 hit “Baby Driver,” which features a lead, Baby (Ansel Elgort), who has a deep fascination with music since it helps mitigate the effects of his tinnitus. There’s also 2010’s “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” where the music takes on a life of its own in the film’s stylized, comic book-esque world. Wright revealed that music played an important role in the creation of “Shaun of the Dead” as well.

“When me and Simon [Pegg] were writing ‘Shaun of the Dead,’ this was before the days of Spotify and everything being on your laptop. We made a compilation on a CD-R of John Carpenter scores and Goblin, and we just played that on a loop to be in the zone,” Wright told THR, explaining that music can conjure up a certain mood or state of mind that brings out one’s creativity. In the case of “Shaun of the Dead,” he and Pegg needed a horror feel to it all, so they looked to the scores of films by one of the great horror directors and one of the bands who’ve aided in several notable horror soundtracks.

Music is a powerful thing that can certainly get the creative juices flowing in the brain. As we now know thanks to Edgar Wright, “Shaun of the Dead” is a prime example of this phenomenon in action.

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