A rather enjoyable 1993 film written, directed, edited & produced with a budget of roughly £275 by a then-young british filmmaker Edgar Wright, whom is known for directing Last Night in Soho (2021), The Sparks Brothers (2021), Baby Driver (2017), Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), The World’s End (2013), Spaced (TV series), etc.
Dead Right is an early short film by Edgar Wright, later famous for the TV programme Spaced and the film Shaun of the Dead. It was filmed in 1992 and 1993 in his hometown of Wells, England when Wright was only 18. He wrote, edited, produced and directed the film as well as shooting and recording the sound. It is a Zucker Brothers-style comedy that parodies the action thriller genre, most notably the Dirty Harry series (Dead Right was the working title for the original Dirty Harry).
The film is shot on SVHS and contains an impressive cast of 70 actors (mostly amateur), mainly made up of Wright’s school friends and colleagues. Clips from the film were first broadcast on Take Over TV – the Channel 4 series consisting entirely of video clips sent in by viewers – that also launched the careers of comedy duo Adam and Joe with buddy Joe Cornish.
Director Edgar Wright had won a Super VHS camera from a competition on the Saturday morning kids TV show Going Live! and so was able to make his own amateur shorts. At the time of the film’s production he was a student at the Arts Institute of Bournemouth and would only be able to shoot the film whilst back home during term breaks.
The shooting script was only a first draft and not properly formatted. The budget for the film came solely out of Wright’s pocket and went mainly on tape stock, props (water pistols painted black), costumes and food colouring. The surprisingly large cast was made up of his friends but he has said he went “outside my social circle” when it came to filling all the roles the film had to offer.
Dead Right contains many early examples of filming techniques that would later become Wright’s trademarks such as transitions, whip-pans, wipes, tracking steady-cam shots and dolly zooms. However, there are very few sound effects unlike his later films for example Hot Fuzz where there is a heavy reliance on sound. – Wikipedia
Alex also had the pleasure speaking to Edgar Wright on the Indie Film Hustle Podcast. He discuss the making of the film and much more.
Both Dead Right and Hot Fuzz were attempts to film a British cop movie in the style of a US cop movie. Wright says
“There was a little wave of sub-standard British thrillers I used to think were quite pathetic trying to take on the Americans at their own game and failing miserably. That was the germ of the idea . . . to have our cake and eat it by both examining the gulf between British action films and American ones and trying to become more American.”