The Walking Dead returns October 11 which means Sundays are about to get post-apocalyptic once again. What better time then to remember some of the series most fun moments? Like the best television shows, TWD makes constant genre references and inside jokes. But the show isn’t afraid to have a little fun too. The proof is in the easter egg. Here are some of our favorites over the years:
1. Rick Grimes’ hometown of King County, Georgia is an homage to horror author Stephen King. Not only is King royalty in the horror genre, he’s a close friend and colleague of Walking Dead mastermind Frank Darabont, who’s adapted a number of King stories and novels into movies (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile).
2. Walking Dead producer and special effects supervisor Greg Nicotero has gotten into costume three times. He plays the zombie that bites Amy on the neck in Season One, a zombie eating a deer in the same season, and a walker in Woodberry in Season Four.
3. Anthrax member and horror fanatic Scott Ian was transformed into a zombie for a episode in 2011.
4. Also during Season One, a shot of Blue Sky appears in Daryl’s bag of drugs, a nod to another AMC show, Breaking Bad.
5. The work of Robert Kirkman, who created The Walking Dead comic book, is seen throughout the show:
6. Nicotero and the rest of the Walking Dead special effects crew certainly remember zombie history:
Horror’s most famous zombie, Bub, from Day of the Dead, showed up on TWD in Season Four. The tribute brought Nicotero full circle: He assisted horror makeup legend Tom Savini on director George Romero’s third Dead movie (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead).
Nicotero also referenced the first zombie seen in Day of the Dead, Dr. Tongue, with his own gruesome version in Episode Four of Season One.
Flyboy, who had his head chopped by a helicopter blade in Dawn of the Dead (1978) got his own update.
Red Flannel Zombie, also from Dawn of the Dead, came back to life as well.
7. And TWD doesn’t play favorites with George Romero movies. Here are some more references to other influential films:
A floating head in the Governor’s aquarium is a replica of Ben Gardner’s severed head in Jaws. Nicotero has mentioned the Steven Spielberg blockbuster as one of his favorite movies.
Here’s a walker with a strong resemblance to Jack from An American Werewolf in London:
And a filthy homage to Lucio Fulci’s Zombie:
8. TWD doesn’t just pay tribute to zombies themselves, but also to cinematic methods of dispatching them. Our favorite is this Season Five shot for shot redux of the machete head split from Dawn of the Dead:
9. Is the Governor really a pirate? Actor David Morrissey told The Huffington Post, “There was one shot of the Governor, I think when he came back, and he was in his disheveled state with his beard and his hair when he was lying on the couch and a the cushion behind him has a parrot, which was by his shoulder, so that was always quite funny.”
10. Father Gabriel’s church seems to portend good things for the walker population. The quote above the arched window reads “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.” Plus, the hymn notice plaques reference biblical verses that all seem very relevant. Here they are:
Romans 6:4 — “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father.”
Ezekiel 37:7 — “So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.”
Matthew 27:52 — “And the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.”
Revelation 9:6 — “During those days people will seek death but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them.”
Luke 24:5 — “In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”
Bonus: There’s a zombie in the pilot episode that looks strikingly similar to Jim Carrey, a tantalizing possibility thanks to Carrey’s connection to Darabont (The Majestic). But, alas, Kirkman refuted the rumor in an interview with EW. And a close investigation of their facial features (hairline, nose) backs him up. Still fun though…
See you October 11…
10 Gruesome, Hilarious 'Walking Dead' Easter Eggs